Suppose an employer offered Beaufort 4,000 temporary construction jobs, 200 permanent high-paying jobs and an enhanced position in the technical arena, but the cost would be to double the level of pollution in local waters? We'd reject this offer in a heartbeat. Why then should we accept the Navy's offer to double the noise pollution in our skies by basing two F-35B training squadrons here, in addition to three operational squadrons? Local officials see only short-term dollar signs by favoring the Navy's proposed basing option. Doubling, or perhaps more than doubling, the area's jet noise will severely impact tourism when Beaufort's reputation goes from being one of the most charming small towns in America to its noisiest. Homes won't sell because the prospect and the Realtor won't be able to hear themselves talking. Many new homes will never be built. The excellent relationship between Beaufort and the military will fray when residents become angry because their quality of life is significantly degraded by jet noise. I would reluctantly accept the increased noise that would come from basing five operational F-35B squadrons here as the cost of being a good citizen. But it is a terrible mistake to base the training squadrons here. Please inform yourself on this issue by going to www.best4beaufort.com and submitting comments as soon as possible to the Navy and to elected officials as shown there. Please get involved right now, as the time for comments is ending soon. Richard Shaw Beaufort
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