FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
League Concerned About RDU’s Silence Regarding Plans for Nearby Land
RALEIGH, NC, August 24, 2018 - The League of Women Voters of Wake County (LWV-Wake) is concerned about the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority’s plans for the parcel of land known as the Odd Fellows lot, an environmentally sensitive tract that has served since 1958 as a popular recreation area used by the Scouts. Last September, the RDU Airport Authority issued a request for proposals to lease the Odd Fellows lot. In October, they rejected all of the submissions they had received, including a quarry proposal. Since then, the Airport Authority has made no public statements regarding the Board’s plans for that land, but the map that accompanies their Vision 2040 Master Plan continues to show a quarry in that space. This indication that the Airport Authority intends to lease the land to a quarry company, and their continuing lack of transparency, raises concerns.
According to Marian Lewin, LWV-Wake president, “the Airport Authority has never addressed the thousands of public comments that they have received concerning the Odd Fellows lot, even when they have been explicitly asked to do so. These public comments overwhelmingly oppose using the space as a quarry.” Since this land is a public resource, the League of Women Voters believes that the Airport Authority has an obligation to take the public’s views into account, and to issue a statement summarizing their assessment of and response to those views.
The League of Women Voters believes that the Airport Authority also has an obligation to perform and to make public an assessment of the environmental impact of any proposed use of this land. Such an assessment would be particularly important if the Airport Authority carries out its apparent intention to lease the land for use as a quarry. Jackie Giordano, LWV-Wake Environment Committee Co-Chair, notes that “quarry operations would affect air and water quality and stormwater runoff and would contribute to noise and traffic levels. Some of these impacts could extend beyond the life of the quarry. We wonder if it is even appropriate to refer to a quarry arrangement as a ‘lease,’ since a 20- to 25-year quarrying operation would change the land permanently, rendering it unfit either for its current use as a recreation area or for any other productive use that we can foresee.”
The League is concerned that quarry operations might commence without full consideration of public opinion, and before a thorough environmental impact analysis has been performed. The Airport Authority should perform such an analysis, one that addresses both the potential effects of a quarrying operation and the cost of reclaiming the land once the quarry company is done with it.
The League of Women Voters of Wake County is a grassroots nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizens’ participation in government and to the understanding of important issues through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters neither endorses nor opposes political parties or candidates. Learn more at www.lwvwake.org.
Jaqueline Giordano, LWV-Wake Environment Committee Co-Chair
Dianna Wynn, LWV-Wake Communications Coordinator