Friday, October 16, 2009
Proposed Port and the City of Southport
I have not stated my position regarding the proposed port in most of my campaign literature because I wanted to focus on more immediate concerns. However, I've received numerous questions about my position so I felt compelled to state it here.
I've been a member of the No Port Southport NC, Inc. Steering Committee since its inception. My focus has been research, primarily on the environmental effects of large container port terminals. I've also immersed myself in the research and analysis of the economic aspects of the port project (called NCIT for North Carolina International Terminal) and whether or not it is a good business decision for our state and the US government to invest what is now estimated to be $4 billion in such a risky venture. I've given a number of educational presentations around Brunswick County and to various environmental groups. I feel if the citizens know the facts they can decide for themselves whether or not they'd like to have the port in our area. I've also been involved in educating legislators (both municipal, state and federal) about the project and the potential issues surrounding its construction and operation.
As a private citizen I am adamantly against the NCIT as both an environmental disaster and a ridiculously bad business decision. I am the webmaster of www.noportsouthport.org (and looking for someone to help or take my place, in case you're interested) so I've digested a massive amount of information on the various issues involved. The bottom line is that the NC State Ports Authority cannot make a good (or even a decent) business case for the port without grossly distorting the projections for shipping traffic, jobs and economic prosperity for our region. A deep water container terminal here cannot compete with those in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. All of those ports have expansion projects underway and the port here could never catch up and secure enough market share to be a viable business. The downside is the loss of at least $4 billion in our tax dollars with nothing to show for it.
If elected, I will vote to withdraw our unconditional support for the port. This should get the attention of the NCSPA. If we continue to be ignored or our concerns are not addressed, I will vote to pass a resolution against the port and do everything I can as your Alderman to stop the project. We will work with surrounding municipalities, businesses related to tourism, environmental groups, state & federal agencies, No Port Southport, our legislators, attorneys, and whomever else we can get on board.
Any project that can potentially bring jobs and economic prosperity to our region should be examined thoroughly. But we don't want to wait until it's too late to do anything about it if the project looks to be a financial boondoggle or an environmental disaster for us. That is why the City of Southport must be engaged in the process immediately.
If you'd like more information or clarification from me, please leave a comment here or send me an e-mail to email@example.com