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N.C. County Files Landmark Lawsuit

December 1, 1998

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ The longstanding battle over how to save the Cape Hatteras lighthouse has hit another bump, with Dare County suing to stop the National Park Service from moving the cracked landmark.

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, contends moving the 128-year-old lighthouse could cause it to collapse. It also seeks an order barring the Park Service from doing any relocation work until the case is settled.

No hearing was immediately scheduled.

``If it is to be moved, we want to be certain it is moved safely,″ said Geneva Perry, chairwoman of the county’s Board of Commissioners. ``We’re very nervous about the move.″

The spiral-striped beacon is, at 191 feet, the tallest lighthouse in the country and one of the most famous points on the Outer Banks, North Carolina’s barrier islands. It has been the subject of dispute for more than a decade over how to protect it.

Proponents of moving the lighthouse say it’s impossible to stop erosion from eating away the beach on which the building stands. Opponents say the lighthouse can’t withstand the stress of being severed from its foundation, lifted and moved on rollers.

Congress appropriated $9.8 million this year to pay to move the lighthouse 2,900 feet from the shoreline. The move was scheduled to begin in early 1999 and end by summer.

The lawsuit said the ``more reasoned option″ is to leave the lighthouse where it is while building a protective wall and adding sand to the beach.

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