Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Provision in Senate budget proposes that state try to acquire Oregon Inlet

Via NC Links 

A provision in the proposed state Senate budget that would consider options to acquire Oregon Inlet was a surprise to officials at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the owner of the waterway’s submerged land and much of the adjacent property.

“We have not had conversations with anybody at all about acquiring Oregon Inlet,” said Darrell Echols, deputy superintendent of the National Park Service Outer Banks Group. “This is news to us.”

Released on Monday, the $20.58 billion spending plan was passed tentatively by the state Senate on Wednesday, according to a prepared statement from Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.

“I’m proud of the Senate’s commitment to delivering budgets,” Berger said, “that reasonably and responsibly direct available resources toward real needs.”

The bill provides for the creation of a 13-member Oregon Inlet Land Acquisition Task Force to determine, review, and consider ways to have the inlet and its adjacent real estate transferred from the federal government to the state.

“Acquiring the property  . . . will allow the state to preserve Oregon Inlet and to develop long-term management solutions for preserving and enhancing the navigability of Oregon Inlet,” the bill said, “which is both a critical transportation corridor and a critical source of commerce for the state’s Outer Banks.”

The task force would be charged with consulting with the state property office, relevant federal agencies, and the North Carolina congressional delegation “to establish the monetary value” of the inlet and the surrounding property. It would also be responsible for determining whether the federal government would be willing to sell or exchange the inlet for state-owned property.

Finally, the task force would explore any options for the acquisition, including “condemnation of the coastal lands conveyed to the federal government in a deed dated August 7, 1958” that are listed by longitude and latitude at the end of the section. 

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