Maine considered for missile interceptor facility

FARMINGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- If a foreign country were to shoot a missile at the United States, another missile that would intercept and destroy it could be fired from Maine.

The Department of Defense is looking at land near Rangeley to build a missile interceptor system.

The 12,000 acre base would hold between 20 and 60 missiles, with each interceptor weighing between 22 and 27 tons.

Here's how the interceptor system works: satellite and radar systems can detect an incoming missile, and pinpoint the target and flight trajectory. The missile interceptor base would fire off a missile to strike the weapon before it reaches its destination.

There are already interceptors in Alaska and California, but Congress has directed the Missile Defense Agency to look in to adding a location in the Eastern U.S.

The four sites being considered are: Redington Township, Maine, Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio, Fort Drum in New York, and Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan.

As the MDA completes the environmental impact studies for each location, there are public meetings and presentations at each potential site.

On Thursday evening, presenters fielded questions at a meeting in Farmington.

"I was told here that if a nuclear warhead enters over Canada, and they intercept it, that that material wouldn't affect us here on the ground," said Wilton resident William Rice. "I have a real problem with some of these statements."

But team members working on the study say it would be safe for civilians.

"There's no warheads on [the interceptors], so the missiles are fired into outer space, and it is destroyed with kinetic energy, meaning hitting a bullet with a bullet," said Lt. Col. Chris Snipes.

But some peace advocates at the meeting said it doesn't matter where the missile site is built -- it's bad for the country.

Lisa Savage said she's worried about out-of-control military spending. "None of this makes us safer, none of this makes us more secure, nor do I think it's sustainable economically."

There is no time-table for the decision and construction, said Lt. Col. Snipes.

"Once this process is done, it could sit on the shelf for years," he said.


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