A bipartisan group of lawmakers have pledged to reintroduce the Military Operations Protection Act – a common-sense effort to protect the training and low-level flight routes around the state’s military installations – during next year’s long session.
North Carolina has the fourth largest military population in the nation and defense jobs are the state’s second-leading industry – benefitting 80 of 100 counties, supporting 578,000 jobs and contributing $34 billion in personal income and $66 billion in gross state product.
The bill, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support but was unable to clear the House before the end of session, would ensure flight routes are not compromised by tall structures – including wind turbines – which could endanger paratroopers and pilots during training and interfere with aircraft radar systems, training routes and patterns. North Carolina’s military installations are heavily dependent on air missions, and failing to act could harm their viability and standing as they are considered in future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission discussions.
Make no mistake – if we fail to fully protect our military installations, decision-makers in Washington could award them to states that will, and our local communities will be left picking up the pieces. Three taxpayer subsidized wind projects that create few jobs for North Carolinians should not take priority over the hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars that we could jeopardize if we fail to stand up for our military.