March 20, 2014
The Pentagon has put the brakes on an environmental assessment of the effects of eliminating potentially dozens of intercontinental ballistic missile silos as defense officials sort out two conflicting provisions in the fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill.
Last month, Pentagon officials asked the Air Force to proceed with the study, which could be the first step toward decommissioning silos at sites in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. But in an interview Thursday, a defense official said the department has put that assessment on hold as officials review whether they can proceed with the study.
“At the moment, we have gone back to look at the whole issue from the legal perspective, although we still believe the department has the authority” to do the environmental assessment, the official said.
The department’s decision comes after senators from the ICBM caucus, as well as other defense hawks on Capitol Hill, blasted the Pentagon for not complying with a provision in the omnibus (PL 113-76) prohibiting the department from using any funds to conduct the environmental study.
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