Va. leaders fight Navy carrier relocation

Jan. 15, 2009 at 2:44 PM

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Virginia civic leaders say they are concerned that the proposed relocation of an aircraft carrier by the U.S. Navy could cost the state thousands of jobs.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., an Armed Services Committee member and former Navy secretary, said while naval officials are moving forward with plans to relocate a carrier from Virginia's Hampton Roads maritime area to Florida, he intends to challenge the move, the (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press said Thursday.

"I intend to bring full scrutiny to this decision in the coming months as it makes its way through the appropriate congressional process," Webb said.

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said the Navy's decision to relocate one carrier to Florida's Naval Station Mayport comes after Vice Adm. Barry McCullough announced the Navy was facing money shortages.

The Hampton Roads area currently houses five naval carriers, including the USS George H.W. Bush.

The Republican representative said the related costs of upgrading the Mayport facility cannot be justified and the carrier should remain in Virginia.

The Daily Press said the Navy maintains the relocation of a carrier from the Virginia fleet would significantly limit the risk of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.

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