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Environmental assessment underway for New Start Treaty silo eliminations

  • Published
An environmental assessment is underway at two Air Force Global Strike Command bases for the elimination of 100 empty missile silos and associated alert facilities, in accordance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., will each eliminate 50 silos and 5 alert facilities, according to John Bowers, the Chief of the Treaty, International Affairs and Counterproliferation Branch at Air Force Global Strike Command.

"The (Air Force) is very experienced at this; we successfully eliminated hundreds of missile silos under the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,"  Bowers said.

The first step is a public scoping period during which residents from the surrounding communities will receive information on the various elimination processes being considered, said Dana McIntyre, the command's compliance and conservation program manager.

"This is also an opportunity for residents to ask questions and express any concerns they may have regarding the silo elimination effort," said McIntyre, who noted the silos will either be imploded or filled with gravel. "This will help us to further define the significant issues to be evaluated in depth in the (environmental assessment)."

The draft environmental assessment will be placed in community libraries for a public review and comment period during mid-March to mid-April. Locations and dates will be publicized in local newspapers.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as "New START," entered into force on Feb. 5 and requires that the elimination of 100 deactivated missile silos and 10 associated alert facilities be completed by Feb. 4, 2018.

The elimination will include 50 empty Minuteman III silos, once belonging to the 564th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, which deactivated in 2008, and 50 former Peacekeeper missile silos, once belonging to the 400th Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB, which deactivated in 2005.

Under the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the Air Force eliminated nearly 450 silos, with the last elimination at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., in August 2001. 150 Minuteman II silos and 14 associated alert facilities were eliminated at Whiteman AFB, Mo.; 149 Minuteman III silos at Grand Forks AFB, N.D.; and 149 Minuteman II silos at Ellsworth AFB, S.D.

The dates and locations for public scoping meetings scheduled from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. are as follows:

Dec. 5 - Stage Stop Inn, 1005 Main Ave. North, Choteau, Mont.
Dec. 6 - Norley Hall, 400 N. Virginia St., Conrad, Mont.
Dec. 7 - Great Falls Civic Center, Gibson Room, 2 Park Dr. S. Great Falls, Mont.
Dec. 8 - Shelby City Hall, 112 1st St. Shelby, Mont.
Jan. 10 - Public library, 2200 Pioneer Ave., Cheyenne, Wyo.
Jan. 11 - At Torrington Town Hall, 436 E. 22nd Ave., Room 165, Torrington, Wyo.
Jan. 12 - At Chugwater Community Center, 311 2nd St., Chugwater, Wyo.

(Courtesy of Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs.)