The meetings will take place near the four federal sites under consideration: Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio; Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan; Fort Drum in New York; and the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE East) training facility in Maine.
The agency said the "scoping" meetings will help identify "significant environmental issues" that it must factor into a study of the sites. The study, which is expected to take two years to complete, will look at a how a missile defense installation could affect a host of environmental matters, ranging from air quality to hazardous materials management to wetlands.
"The public meetings will be in an open house format, which provides attendees with the opportunity to talk with and ask questions of representatives from the MDA and local installation," the agency said. "Additionally, you will have the opportunity to provide verbal and written official comments on the proposed project."
Meeting dates and locations are:
- Aug. 5: Ravenna High School, Ravenna, Ohio, 6-9 p.m.
- Aug. 12: Rangeley Lakes Regional School, Rangeley, Maine, 6-9 p.m.
- Aug. 13: Rangeley Lakes Regional School, Rangeley, Maine, 9 a.m.–noon
- Aug. 14: University of Maine, Farmington, Maine, 9 a.m.–noon and 6-9 p.m.
- Aug. 19: Carthage High School, Carthage, N.Y., 6-9 p.m.
- Aug. 26: McCamly Plaza Hotel, Battle Creek, Mich., 6-9 p.m.
- Aug. 28: Sherman Lake YMCA, Augusta, Mich., 6-9 p.m.
The missile defense installation would start with 20 ground-based, long-range interceptor missiles and possibly grow to 60. The site would fire interceptors only to defend the United States and not as part of a test.
The United States already has two ground-based interceptor sites in Alaska and California to defend against a limited number of long-range ballistic missiles, such as those that could be fired from North Korea or Iran. Congress has directed the Department of Defense to evaluate eastern U.S. locations for a potential third site to improve protection against Iranian missiles. A decision to proceed with building a third site has not yet been made.