Dole, Easley Spar Over OLF

Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole responded today to criticism from Democratic Governor Mike Easley about the location of a proposed outlying landing field.

Dole says she consulted local residents about the Navy's proposal to build a practice landing field for jets in eastern North Carolina.

Dole said she wouldn't back a location without local support as she disputed Easley's remarks that she only represented interests of the state and Navy. Both Dole and Easley have said they opposed any site if it didn't bring an economic benefit to the area.

The 8,000-foot runway would allow F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots to practice night landings on aircraft carriers. Navy officials said the strip is needed to reduce use of an existing strip in Virginia now surrounded by residential areas

The decision on the $230 million project could be years away.

Dole discussed the issue during a conference call with reporters Thursday, the day after a back-and-forth exchange with the governor.