Thursday, February 11, 2010

Proposed Coast Guard cuts put Camden on the defensive

Camden County leaders are battling a proposed U.S. Coast Guard budget cut that would take a maritime Homeland Security team away from Kings Bay.

Giving up the 85-member Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) would be painful to the county, already suffering from high unemployment that's persisted since the closing of its major employer, Durango-Georgia Paper Co., and scores of residential and commercial-building foreclosures and business closings. Local leaders estimate the loss of the Coast Guard team at an annual economic impact of $8.5 million.

"We are all shocked by it; we did not see it coming," said Sheila McNeill, who is president of the military and community advocacy group, The Camden Partnership, and a past president of the Navy League of the United States. She has been key in lobbying for new and expanded military missions for Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.

"I always make a statement when we go to Washington that we never complain about the loss of missions when it is for national security," she said. "But this is budget driven and our overall philosophy is to try to save all of the MSSTs."

For more on this click on the link at the top of page.

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