COLUMBUS (AP) -- A training center in northeastern Ohio is one of four military installations in the country being considered for a potential missile defense site.
The Department of Defense says it will prepare an environmental impact study of Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center near Newton Falls and three other military sites.
The department's Missile Defense Agency has evaluated the four installations. But officials say no decision has been made yet on whether to construct a new missile defense site.
The other installations under consideration are Fort Custer, Mich., Fort Drum, N.Y., and the Portsmouth Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Training Area near Rangeley, Maine.
The environmental impact studies will take about two years to complete. They will assess potential impacts on land use, water resources and air quality among other areas.
"It is encouraging that Camp Ravenna is currently being considered for future Department of Defense missions," U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a statement.
"Designating Camp Ravenna as a missile defense site would create local jobs and strengthen the regional economy."
Last fall, Camp Ravenna and four other sites were named as areas that would house an undetermined number of U.S. missiles designed to intercept incoming enemy missiles.
Camp Ethan Allan Training Site in Vermont was dropped from consideration, pleasing U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
"The ground-based interceptors being contemplated for an East Coast missile defense site cost huge sums of money, without delivering reliable capability," he said in a statement.
"I welcome the news that Vermont's Camp Ethan Allen will not be considered as a site, and I continue to pursue redirecting those funds toward projects that have more proven and cost-effective success in keeping Americans safe."
The Pentagon said there has been no decision to proceed with the construction of a new missile defense site, but to clear the first hurdle was good news for Ohio officials.
"We are pleased and proud to be among the finalists for the potential opportunity to serve the citizens of Ohio and the nation," said Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst, Ohio adjutant general. "Since Camp Ravenna was announced as a candidate several months ago, we have all realized the potential economic benefits to the state's northeast corridor."
According to the Akron Beacon Journal (bit.ly/1djb7qQ), the former Ravenna Arsenal was used by the Army during World War II to manufacture bombs and projectiles, employing 18,000 people at its peak. The property became a National Guard training site in 1971.
Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com