FARMINGTON — Building a missile defense site in western Maine aimed at protecting the East Coast would mean upgrading some roads, building housing and a backup power plant, and scattering missile silos to accommodate hilly terrain, a defense official said.
The 55-foot-long interceptors would be taken from Bangor International Airport to the site using public roads, and road upgrades could be necessary for transport of 75-foot silos, officials said.
The Missile Defense Agency provided details of the proposal to local residents during a series of public hearings last week in Rangeley and Farmington. The agency is considering four possible locations for an interceptor site aimed at protecting the East Coast in response to a perceived threat from Iran.
If it’s built in Maine, the missile interceptor base would encompass 600 to 800 acres of about 12,000 acres at the U.S. Navy’s training site in Redington Township.
Not everyone was thrilled by the idea. Critics raised concerns about construction damaging the natural beauty. Others were concerned about the toxicity of missile fuel, the Sun Journal reported.
“It is a no brainer; totally inappropriate for this location,” Bob Kimber of Temple said. “Why is that kind of money being spent on more defense when people are starving in the U.S.? Why are we continuing to start wars in this country?”
But Darryl Brown of Livermore Falls said the interceptor site is a great opportunity for the state to help in the nation’s defense and to create jobs at the same time.
The site would start with 20 missiles, and eventually have 60. There would be no test-firing; missiles would only be fired in defense of the country, officials said.
Other sites under consideration for an interceptor site are Fort Drum in northern New York; Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio; and Fort Custer CTC in Michigan.
The defense department is currently considering the environmental implications of the sites. Once the environmental study is put in draft form more than a year from now, there will be public review meetings for the 1,000- to 1,500-page document, said Eric Sorrells of the Missile Defense Agency.
The land-based interceptors would supplement Navy warships equipped with ballistic missile defense systems. Currently, the only land-based sites are at Alaska’s Fort Greely and California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.