Digest>Archives> December 2002

U.S. Congressman’s Actions Could Destroy National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act

By Timothy Harrison

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United States Congressmen Walter B. Jones (R-NC) is attempting to circumvent the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act to steal Currituck Beach Lighthouse away from the Outer Banks Conservationists who have spent years and millions of dollars to restore it. He has introduced and buried deep in legislation of HR. 5569 - Section 1670 a bill that would transfer ownership of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse to the local county government.

This is morally wrong and bypasses the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in a “darkness of night attempt to steal a lighthouse” away from a non profit that has worked years to save and restore it.

Even worse—the bill has no provisions that the lighthouse be kept open to the public or maintained in an historic manner under historic guidelines.

Both the county and the legitimate nonprofit Outer Banks Conservationists have applied for ownership of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The county is now worried that its application will not be approved through due process by the Department of Interior. Currituck County is using its Congressmen to circumvent the law. This must not happen, due process under the law should proceed too allow the best application to win, fair and square.

The only thing that will stop this bill from passing is an urgent telegram, email or phone call from everyone and anyone you know to their representative in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.

Contacting Congressmen Walter Jones of North Carolina or a Congressmen from a state that you do not live in generally will do no good. Most Congressmen will reply that they only listen to or reply to constituents from their own state, even through they technically represent all of the people of the United States.

Currituck Lighthouse was saved in the last few weeks, when at the last minute the House of Representatives did not vote on this, because of the controversy surrounding this issue. However, now that it could be voted on again, we need your help to again notify your Congressman via e-mails, phone calls and faxes to show that there is a nationwide united stand by every lighthouse group in the nation and all preservation groups. Ask them to stop Section 1670 of HR.5569.

If Section 1670 of HR.5569 is allowed to pass it will destroy the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

If you do not know who your Congressman is go to www.house.gov/

Then go to Member Offices to find out who your Congressmen is. However, the best way to get your voice heard is by contacting the Congressmen’s local office in your state and communicate with one of his or her aids.

A copy of the entire wording of Section 1670 of House Resolution 5569 is below which is part of the Comprehensive Natural Resources Protection Act of 2002.

SEC. 1670. CONVEYANCE OF

HISTORIC LIGHTHOUSE.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the historic light station known as the Currituck Beach Lighthouse shall be conveyed, by quitclaim deed and without consideration, to Currituck County, North Carolina. The conveyance shall be completed as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this subtitle

We urge our readers to contact the media in your area. If we can get this on the national news or in the big newspapers like USA Today, NY Times, or get AP to pick up the story, it could help save the Currituck Lighthouse.

Only you can make a difference.

This story appeared in the December 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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