Hatteras Island is arguably one of the most beautiful locations in the country. It is also of historical, cultural, and economic importance to the State of North Carolina. However, over the past 20 years this island has been held hostage by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) through their continued lawsuits over the construction of a replacement to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge which spans the Oregon Inlet.
This bridge is the only link that residents and visitors have to safely and efficiently travel to and from Hatteras Island. The Bonner Bridge has been intermittently closed over the past few years due to structural issues that made it unsafe for travel. While a trip driving over the bridge takes only a few minutes, the closures result in a minimum 3 hour ferry ride as the only other alternative for residents and visitors to access Hatteras Island. This is not only inconvenient, but also economically devastating to local businesses and extremely dangerous for those in need of medical treatment.
The SELC has repeatedly blocked efforts to start construction by suing the State of NC on an array of charges. The courts have repeatedly denied the SELC charges, most recently in September 2013 when Federal Judge Louise Flanagan issued a 42 page ruling that thoroughly dismissed all of the SELC's arguments. The SELC completely ignored the ruling and appealed the decision.
The replacement bridge has been studied for over 20 years, the old bridge is literally falling down. It is time to stop the lawsuits and let construction begin before anymore economic harm is done, or worse, any physical harm comes to someone traveling over the current dilapidated bridge.
The SELC lawsuits are threatening to effectively shut down the ability of millions of visitors per year to enjoy the beautiful beaches, scenery, and hospitality of Hatteras Island. The residents who live here and the visitors who vacation here love nature and recognize the need to protect the environment, but view the ongoing SELC lawsuit against the Bonner Bridge as excessive. The SELC has the money to continue their fight for over 20 years, we need to show them that the vast majority of the public do not support their argument.
By signing this petition you are telling the SELC to drop their lawsuit over the Bonner Bridge project so that a safe, efficient roadway can be maintained to America's 1st National Seashore.