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Va. senators contend carrier bad for Fla.

Dec. 9, 2008 at 7:47 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Virginia's two U.S. senators argue that the Navy has not considered the environmental impact of moving a nuclear carrier to Florida.

The Navy's entire nuclear carrier fleet is based in Norfolk, Va., so moving one to Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, Fla., would mean one less in Virginia.

Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Jim Webb, D-Va., sent a letter to two environmental agencies, The Virginian-Pilot reported. They said that the impact of the move on endangered species like the right whale and manatee should be considered.

"Both species are particularly susceptible to ship strikes, which could increase should the Navy homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport," the senators said in a letter sent Friday.

With their enormous crews, the carriers are believed to create thousands of additional jobs around their bases.

The Navy has not said which carrier would be based in Florida, although one likely prospect is the soon-to-be-commissioned George H.W. Bush. Preparing Mayport for the move would take several years.

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