KITTERY (AP) – The governors of Maine and New Hampshire will join forces this week in support of sparing the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from the next round of base closures.

Maine’s Gov. John Baldacci already has approved spending $50,000 to help pay for a consultant to advocate for the shipyard in Washington as the Base Realignment and Closure process proceeds.

The Seacoast Shipyard Association, a nonprofit advocacy group working to ensure the survival of the yard in the 2005 round of closures, has asked each state for $50,000 toward the estimated $250,000 needed.

New Hampshire legislators have asked Gov. Craig Benson to do the same. Benson has yet to make a financial commitment, but his spokesman has said the governor wants to work to save the shipyard.

Benson and Baldacci plan to hold a joint news conference Tuesday about the shipyard, but have not released details of what they might announce.

Meanwhile, the Seacoast Shipyard Association says area residents and businesses are stepping forward to help fund the fight, but that much more money still is needed.

“We’ve had several businesses and individuals who have been very generous,” said Pat Dowaliby, the group’s treasurer. “I think we’re doing OK, but I’m optimistic that we’re going to do a lot better.”

So far the group has collected about $11,000, not counting the money from Maine. More than 300 residents have joined, as well as 65 businesses.

“If we could keep this up, it would be great,” Dowaliby said.

AP-ES-03-13-04 1204EST



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