The state House agreed to strip from its budget funding for a study to add a $3 billion state port in Southport.
The House voted 104-11 in favor of Rep. Pricey Harrison's amendment to the budget. Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, said the study was envisioned as a public-private partnership, but the N.C. Ports Authority had not found any partners after four years. She said the project would raise a host of environmental problems.
"I'd describe it as a Global TransPark on steroids," Harrison said.
The project would entail dredging in water that is home to endangered species. It would displace 66 million cubic yards of sand and be located near two nuclear reactors. Her amendment would allow the N.C. Ports Authority to pay for the study out of its money.
"I think the ports ought to pay for this project," Harrison said.
State Rep. Bill Owens, an Elizabeth City Democrat, said the issue was sure to get more discussion when the House's $18.9 billion budget bill goes to conference with the Senate.
"We need to know more about the port, everything it's going to do before we start spending money on it," Owens said, adding that the project does not appear to be supported by the community.
Rep. Frank Iler, an Oak Island Republican said the money for the study was slipped into the budget.
"It's literally a way to sneak it into the budget," Iler said.
The study could cost as much as $10 million.