WRAL News Documentary Examines Threats to the Future of the Outer Banks

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WRAL News Documentary Examines Threats to the Future of the Outer Banks
FOCAL POINT: “Line in the Sand” Airs Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00pm

Focal PointCould major sections of North Carolina’s Outer Banks be underwater within our lifetime? That’s the question being explored in the latest WRAL Focal Point documentary, “Line in the Sand”.

The documentary examines the impact of erosion and rising sea level on the Outer Banks, home to some of our state’s most important landmarks and recreational attractions. WRAL News anchor Bill Leslie hosts the program, which airs Wednesday September 28, 2005, at 7:00pm.

“The Outer Banks are an important asset to our state in so many ways,” said Jim Hefner, General Manager of WRAL-TV. “If scientists are concerned about their future, then maybe we all should be, especially our leaders whose job it is to develop long term policies to protect those barrier islands.”

  • Tourists spend hundreds of millions of dollars visiting the Outer Banks every year, but scientists say the foundation of that economy is on shaky ground.
  • They say erosion combined with rising sea level and increased storm activity could cause major sections of the Outer Banks to go underwater within the next few decades.
  • They say Highway 12, which provides access to the Outer Banks and connects its communities, is a symptom of the problem. The state has spent about $50 million rebuilding, relocating and trying to protect the highway over the last 20 years only to have sections of it continually washed away by the sea.
  • Critics say it’s an exercise in futility and a waste of state and federal tax dollars.
  • They also fear that the Bonner Bridge, which carries Highway 12 across Oregon Inlet and connects the northern and southern Outer Banks, may not last much longer.

Focal Point: “Line in the Sand” looks at the future of the Outer Banks and its critical connector Highway 12. It examines the dire predictions by scientists and the political battle that continues to delay the search for long-term solutions to protect one of our state’s most valuable natural, recreational and economic resources.

About Focal Point
“Line in the Sand” is the ninth episode in the WRAL News series called Focal Point. These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina. From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected. Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change. WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series. Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year.

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s John Harris for this capcom story.

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