Pentagon considers Vt. for missile defense system - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pentagon considers Vt. for missile defense system

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JERICHO, Vt. -

Don't like the F-35 coming to Vermont? Well, how about a missile defense site?

The Pentagon has identified the Camp Ethan Allen Training site in Jericho as a possible site for deploying a missile interceptor system. Fort Drum in New York and sites in Maine, Ohio and Michigan are also being studied for their suitability for a Ground-based Midcourse Interceptor East Coast location.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, revealed the information about the site study along with his reaction: "I've always felt that the multiple billions spent on missile defense are a monumental waste of money, on technologically challenged systems, and I am emphatically against putting one of these sites in Vermont."

Click here to read the letter from DOD's Missile Defense Agency to Sen. Patrick Leahy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, released this statement: "My first impression is that this is a very bad idea and, for a wide variety of reasons, I do not believe that it will ever happen."

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, said, "This is absurd. It's the wrong location for a bad idea and dead on arrival."

Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, issued the following statement: "Vermonters are well-served by our federal delegation's thoughtful involvement and deep experience in these issues, and I agree with Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch."

A very different reaction from Rep. Bill Owens, D-New York, to news that Fort Drum is also being considered as a potential host for the missile interceptor program.

"I am pleased the Missile Defense Agency has selected Fort Drum for a suitability study, and I will continue fighting for all community-supported programs that expand the mission at Fort Drum," Owens said. "This is a positive step in a process that will play out over the next several years."

No decision has been made to deploy the system, but the Pentagon is required to conduct a study of possible of East Coast locations. Part of that study will be to identify the possible locations that would be looked at more.

Vermont's delegation supports bringing another controversial weapons system to the state-- the F-35 fighter. Opponents of the F-35 have attacked the expense of the planes and question how Vermont political leaders can criticize the missiles while still supporting the jets.

Leahy says for him the difference is that he doesn't think the missiles will work, no matter where they are sited.

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