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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 468-99
October 06, 1999

NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE DRAFTENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT RELEASED

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's National Missile Defense (NMD) Joint Program Office announced today the public availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for potential ground-based system element sites in North Dakota and Alaska. No decision has been made to deploy a NMD system, nor has a decision been made regarding the selection of a basing location.

The President is scheduled to make a deployment decision next summer after a Deployment Readiness Review conducted by the Department of Defense. The President's decision will be based upon the technical success of the NMD testing program; analysis of the ballistic missile threat to the U.S.; system cost and the status of arms reduction negotiations with Russia. The potential environmental impacts of deploying and operating the NMD system will also be considered. The NMD decision will include the selection of deployment sites from among the alternatives considered in the Final EIS, which is scheduled for completion next Spring.

The Draft EIS is the result of more than a year of extensive analysis of potential environmental impacts which could occur due to the proposed action of locating up to 100 ground-based interceptor missiles in underground silos in North Dakota and/or Alaska. Also analyzed were the potential impacts resulting from construction of a new X-Band Radar, which would be used to perform tracking, discrimination and target hit assessments of incoming ballistic missile warheads. Under the proposed action, only one X-Band Radar would be constructed. The DEIS evaluates the potential impacts associated only with new construction activities, and does not include analysis of existing space-based early warning sensors and ground-based early warning radars. It also does not include site-specific analysis of new communications systems which could be built at a later date. The early warning elements and site-specific analysis of new communications systems will be covered by future environmental documentation.

The sites analyzed are:

Ground Based Interceptor and Battle Management, Command and Control

Clear Air Station, Alaska

Fort Greely, Alaska

Yukon Training Area/Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

Missile Site Radar, N.D.

X-Band Radar

Eareckson Air Station, Alaska (Aleutians)

Cavalier Air Station, N.D.

Missile Site Radar, N.D.

Remote Sprint Launch Sites 1, 2, 4, N.D.

Overall, the expected environmental impacts resulting from potential NMD deployment are minimal. Areas analyzed in the DEIS include: potential electromagnetic radiation effects to airspace, biological resources, and humans from operation of the X-Band Radar; construction and operation impacts on vegetation, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, wetlands and fisheries; health and safety issues to the public associated with transportation and operation of the Ground-Based Interceptor; potential impacts to geology and soils and water resources; noise related impacts from both construction and operation; increases in hazardous waste generation and air emissions; and socioeconomic impacts and benefits resulting from both construction and operation of the NMD system.

Public hearings are scheduled to take place in North Dakota, Alaska and Arlington, Va. in late October to mid November. The comment period on the Draft EIS will close on November 15, 1999. These hearings will permit state and local government agencies, interest groups and citizens to comment on the Draft EIS, and their comments will be reviewed, considered and included in the Final EIS.

News media inquiries should be directed to Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, BMDO External Affairs, at (703) 604-3186. All other inquiries, as well as requests for copies of the EIS, should be directed to Julia Hudson, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, at (256) 955-4822. The EIS can also be accessed on the Internet at www.acq.osd.mil/bmdo .