Senator Burr Comments on Beach Access at Public Meeting in Manteo - May 21, 2010
N. C. Senator Richard Burr (R) visited the Outer Banks last week and spoke to about 50 people on Friday May 21, 2010 at the Dare County Government Complex in Manteo, NC. Representing the OBPA were President John Couch, Treasurer Larry Hardham, and Secretary Anne Bowers.
The Senator spent the hour speaking on local topics and taking questions about the beach closures, replacing the Bonner Bridge and outrageous rules that have strangled the local commercial fisherman.
Senator Burr preached “individual responsibility. I can’t paint you a pretty picture.” He elaborated by saying the revenue loss at local levels was putting a tremendous strain on local governments.
Commissioner Chairman Warren Judge responded with, “We could put our people back to work if we could just have access. We could do so much.”
Burr acknowledged that access was “pivotal to economic growth.”
OBPA President, John Couch, thanked Senator Burr for his help in the OBPA’s efforts to get a 30 day extension to the DEIS comment period. Laughingly, he added, “I am surprised they turned you down!”
Couch proceeded to tell Burr that the bird closures were stifling the local economy. As bad as it was, the Consent Decree had become the baseline for resource management and the policies described in the DEIS were much more restrictive. Everything at Cape Point was closed.
The OBPA president continued by asking for common sense solutions and emphasized that protecting the environment is important. But, giving 771 acres to a piping plover?
Burr agreed that the beach issue has always been a difficult thing and he was also surprised that the 30 day extension for the DEIS comment period was not granted. “This administration has gotten everything they ever wanted.”
The Senator moved on to address the problems with being in Judge Boyle’s courtroom. “It’s hit a nerve with him. It seems personal,” Burr continued. “We are working to create some leverage.” He also claimed to be desperately trying to move Senate bill S-1557 out of committee and onto the floor.
“We are not going to go away,” Couch responded, referring the people who are pro-access.
Burr continued on with other subjects. He stated that some people are rolling the roulette wheel about the Bonner Bridge. He also covered the subject of increasing the budget for dredging Oregon Inlet.
To the problems facing the local commercial fisherman, the Senator admitted that “we handled this wrong with the Bush Administration. The fisheries are trying to put an end to east coast fishing – putting it out of business. I am trying to defund this effort – it’s the only tool we have and we are going to do it.”
When the hour was up, Senator Burr finished by saying that Washington was feeling the frustration of the American people.
“We get it,” Burr concluded.