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Salt Lake Tribune on "New Area 51" [news]

From: campbell@ufomind.com (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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