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From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Glenn Campbell, Las Vegas) Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 08:37:11 -0800 Subject: Salt Lake Tribune on "New Area 51" [news] [From the Salt Lake Tribune at http://archive.sltrib.com] Published: 05/23/97 Page: A1 Caption: Steve Baker/The Salt Lake Tribune: The New Secret ``Area 51''? Report: Utah Town, Air Force Headed for Close Encounter; Secret Base: Is It Headed For Utah? Byline: BY CHRISTOPHER SMITH THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Green River Mayor Judy Ann Scott admits she was a willing participant in keeping mum about a secretive plan to relocate America's alleged UFO base from Nevada to eastern Utah. ``A magazine reporter called me about six weeks ago to ask if I knew anything and, when I didn't, he pleaded with me not to tell anybody,'' smiles Scott. ``He didn't have to worry. The last thing I'm going to do is tell the City Council that spaceships are going to be landing here soon.'' In a cover story that military and congressional sources contend is bunk, Popular Mechanics says the Air Force plans to abandon its ``Area 51'' base at Nevada's Groom Dry Lake 90 miles north of Las Vegas. The secretive operations would be moved to the old Green River Missile Launch Complex just south of Green River, 180 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. The old Utah base, once a testing pad for Athena and Pershing missiles, was closed by the Army in 1975. The military supposedly wants to move its ``black budget'' aircraft testing from Groom Lake because of Area 51's fame and latent radioactive contamination from surface testing of atomic bombs in the 1950s. UFO enthusiasts long have maintained that Area 51 is a storage site for crash-recovered flying saucers or bodies of alien explorers. Nevada tourism officials recently designated Route 375 on the fringe of Area 51 ``Extraterrestrial Highway.'' The magazine strings together fact with speculation to declare that the Air Force plans to use the old Green River base as a launch site for the so-called X-33, a new generation space shuttlecraft being tested for military and spy applications. Last July, NASA announced that Michaels Army Air Field at Dugway Proving Ground in western Utah would be a backup landing strip for the X-33, which would take off from Edwards Air Force Base in California. But Popular Mechanics contends the military version of the X-33 -- allegedly able to launch vertically and fly 50 miles high at Mach 15 speed -- will depart from a refurbished Green River missile base beginning in 1999, landing at Dugway. The program would be administered from the Air Force's Space Warfare Center near Colorado Springs, Colo. The magazine claims to have documents showing an $8.2 million budget for refurbishing the decaying Green River base, easily visible from Interstate 70. It all sounds fine to Scott, although she's skeptical about the truthfulness of the story. ``There hasn't been anyone out there for a long time, although one of our city employees said he saw some big military helicopters land there on a Sunday morning a few months ago,'' says the mayor. ``But the base is pretty accessible and open. That was a problem the last time something like this was suggested.'' In 1992, the Army proposed launching nonlethal target missiles from Green River across Canyonlands National Park to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where they would be intercepted and destroyed by defensive weapons. Supported by Green River residents but opposed by American Indian tribes, the Bureau of Land Management and environmentalists, the Army dropped the idea in 1995. The latest alleged resurrection of the missile base came as a surprise to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), which led the fight against the 1992 proposal. ``We wouldn't have a position until we've seen something on paper,'' said SUWA's Scott Groene. ``But aliens have always been big supporters of wilderness, so who knows?'' While the Popular Mechanics story has yet to be addressed on the World Wide Web site operated by the Area 51 Research Center (www.ufomind.com), Jiles Hamilton of the UFO Research Center in Florida says most E.T. buffs figured a relocation was coming. ``With all the publicity and movies and vendors selling stuff right along the highway, nothing was a secret out there anymore,'' said Hamilton. ``Apparently they now want to slip off to this place in Utah. But I don't think it will be any more of a secret than Area 51.''
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