RANGELEY — The federal Missile Defense Agency is holding four meetings in Franklin County to seek input on environmental issues and other concerns that people may have if a potential missile interceptor site is located in Redington Township, near Rangeley.

The U.S. Navy’s remote training school in the Rangeley Lakes area is one of four sites in the lower 48 states that the Missile Defense Agency is considering as a potential missile-interceptor site.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced in September 2013 that a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape site in northern Franklin County would be studied to determine its suitability for potential interceptor deployment.

The agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, will host public meetings to review the scope of the environmental impact statement from 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 12 and 9 a.m. to noon on Aug. 13 in the gym at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School at 43 Mendolia Road, Rangeley. Two more meetings will be held Thursday, Aug. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon and 6 to 9 p.m. at Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington at 111 South St. in Farmington.

“Public input is important to ensure significant environmental issues, other areas of concern, and alternatives are considered early in the environmental impact statement,” according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Department of Defense has not made a decision to deploy or construct an additional interceptor site in the U.S.

The Pentagon also will study Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio, Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan and Fort Drum in New York as potential sites. All of the sites are on federally owned land and are operated by the Defense Department, the National Guard or both.

Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Vermont was initially on the list to be studied but is no longer on it, according to an ad announcing the meetings.

The public meetings will be conducted in an open house format, which will provide those attending an opportunity to talk with and ask questions of representatives from the Defense Agency and representatives of the Redington Township operation.

In addition to the opportunity to attend the meeting and voice input or provide official written comments, people also can submit written comments until Sept. 15. The comments can be emailed to [email protected] or faxed to (913) 458-1091. Comments also can be mailed to Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., Attn: MDA CIS EIS, 6601 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS 66211-1504.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requires the defense agency to prepare an environmental statement to “evaluate possible additional locations in the U.S. best suited for a potential future deployment of an interceptor site capable of protecting the homeland against threats of nations, such as North Korea and Iran,” according to the Defense Agency.

The existing ground-based Midcourse Defense System provides homeland defense from a limited, long-range ballistic attack, it states.

The Defense Department initiated a study last year to evaluate the sites in the continental United States for the potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors, according to the Pentagon.

Two missile-defense sites with long-range interceptor missiles already are active at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. These sites provide protection for the United States against limited intercontinental ballistic missile attacks, according to the Pentagon.

An environmental impact study will take 18 to 24 months to complete once the site study is finished.

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