The downsizing of the Brunswick Naval Air Station and closing of the shipyard in Kittery and defense accounting office in Limestone will have a ripple effect on the state’s economy, with an estimated loss of 12,000 jobs and $465 million in lost earnings.

Maine was the second hardest hit state in the nation – after Alaska – in terms of lost jobs per capita in the base closure list announced last Friday.

Despite those gloomy statistics, Gov. John Baldacci said Tuesday he remains “confident” and “convinced” the closures are not a done deal when it comes to Maine.

Baldacci said the state had four months to put on a “full court press” to convince the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that the Pentagon used bad information when it recommended closing the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, removing the planes and half the staff from the Naval Air Station, and closing the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Limestone.

“We have to work together and make this the most important thing we do,” Baldacci said.

The governor said the base commission chairman, Anthony Principi, has “committed to coming to Maine personally.” The state hopes to prove that it makes no sense from a defense strategy to shut down its facilities, and it’s plain unfair.

“One of the strongest messages is it’s disproportionate the hits that Maine is taking,” Baldacci said. He said that 15 percent of the base closures have been overturned in the past.

According to numbers run by the State Planning Office, the closures mean a direct job loss of 5,797 from the facilities themselves, with another 6,192 jobs lost in the community, as a result of not having the base or as many people to serve. Those nearly 12,000 lost jobs equal $465 million in lost earnings.

Even before one job is lost, the closure announcements will have an impact, predicted Rep. Sarah Lewin, R-Eliot, which is home to shipyard employees.

“I think we’re going to see an effect of this immediately,” she said, predicting people would stop buying cars, major appliances or even expensive sneakers for their kids. “It’s 230 jobs and $15 million in payroll” for Eliot, she said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.