Letters to the Editor

Loss of squadrons not end of the world

"The sky is falling!" That's the mantra of those promoting the F-35B training squadrons at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

A Nov. 6 story in the Gazette states: "The state was slammed by 1990s base closings ..." Let's look at the facts.

Since the base closings at Charleston and Myrtle Beach, these counties have flourished. Since 2000, Charleston County has grown 14.6 percent and Horry County 34.2 percent, while South Carolina grew 13.7 percent. Other counties that do have air bases grew much less.

A study by the Congressional Research Service on military base closures states: "... loss of related jobs, and efforts to replace them and to implement a viable base reuse plan can pose significant challenges for affected communities. However, while base closure and realignment often create socioeconomic distress in communities initially, research has shown that they generally have not had the dire effect that many communities expected."

Ask yourself why northern Beaufort County has not grown like southern Beaufort County. It's not our environment or community ambiance.

The final environmental impact statement on the F-35B deployment indicates 8,860 people would be subjected to 65 decibels or greater, an increase of 1,701 off-station residents. Due to flaws in the analysis, I believe the number to be much higher.

The Navy's Alternative 1, with its 71 percent increase in flight operations here, and a plane expected to be twice as loud, will assure continued retardation (jobs, tourism, property values) of northern Beaufort County for the next 20 years.

Rob PollardLady's Island

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