Pingree: Maine shipyard should not be on base-closure list

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard should remain open, a Navy official said Wednesday, even as the Pentagon considers two more rounds of base closures.
AP file
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard should remain open, a Navy official said Wednesday, even as the Pentagon considers two more rounds of base closures.
By Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.
Posted April 06, 2012, at 5:57 a.m.

KITTERY, Maine — A top Navy official has cited a need for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to remain open on the heels of a Pentagon proposal for two more rounds of Base Realignment and Closure.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, welcomed comments Wednesday from the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, which seemed to back up her assessment of the value of PNSY.

“Portsmouth fills a critical need for overhaul of our submarines and provides other things as well. I don’t see that need diminishing at all in the future,” Greenert said while visiting Bath Iron Works on Wednesday.

The Pentagon sent Congress a proposal for two new rounds of base closures this week, but Pingree said she’s skeptical that the proposed BRAC would actually save much money.

“We haven’t seen any savings from the last round of BRAC closures so it’s premature to start another round now. And before we even consider closing more bases here in the U.S. we need to take a good, hard look at our overseas facilities,” Pingree said.

Pingree, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said even if more base closures are planned, she would fight to keep the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard off the list.

“The yard in Kittery is doing high quality work and delivering jobs ahead of schedule and below cost. And the submarines they service are a key part of our defense strategy,” Pingree said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to even consider closing the yard.”

“The Pentagon knows how valuable Portsmouth is and I’m glad to hear Admiral Greenert acknowledge that,” Pingree said.

Pingree recently met with officials of the Seacoast Shipyard Association in Kittery, Maine to discuss the possibility of future BRAC rounds and any potential impact on PNSY.

The Pentagon proposal sent to Congress calls for two new BRAC rounds in 2013 and 2015.

© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/06/politics/pingree-maine-shipyard-should-not-be-on-base-closure-list/ printed on September 17, 2014