Lawmakers introduce bill to protect Parris Island from closure

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Recruits of Platoon 1022, Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, stand in formation during their initial drill evaluation Feb. 10, 2014, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

Recruits of Platoon 1022, Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, stand in formation during their initial drill evaluation Feb. 10, 2014, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

Members of the South Carolina congressional delegation introduced a bill Friday that seeks to protect Parris Island from closing.

The Parris Island Protection Act would prohibit the use of federal funds to close or plan the closure of the Marine Corps Training Depot.

Those promoting the legislation include Rep. Joe Cunningham, a Democrat who represents District 1 where Parris Island is located; Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican who represents District 2 and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee; and Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican who represents District 5.

Sen. Lindsey Graham intends to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate, according to news releases sent by Cunningham and Norman.

While South Carolina’s federal delegates have vowed to save Parris Island at all costs, the president and defense secretaries have “considerable existing authority” to close bases, according to the Congressional Research Service.

In late September, Military.com reported that the Marine Corps was weighing a plan that would close its two boot camps — on Parris Island and in San Diego — and direct all future recruits to a new co-educational base.

The loss of Parris Island would be “catastrophic” for Beaufort County’s economy, Robb Wells, president and CEO of the Greater Beaufort-Port Royal Convention and Visitors Bureau, previously told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette.

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