State officials confirmed Friday they have agreed to help the Army acquire permits needed to destroy missiles at Tooele Army Depot, but they say chances are slim the site will be used for that purpose.
"We're satisfied that we're only playing a backup role," said Ken Alkema, director of the state's environmental health division.Lt. Col. Bill Taylor, the Army's Pershing Missile deputy program manager, told the Deseret News he met with Utah officials in Salt Lake City earlier this week to see what state and local permits would be needed to use TAD as a destruction site.
The Army and state officials are to meet again next week, he said.
The missiles will be destroyed as part of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty.
The Army is using facilities in Longhorn, Texas, and Pueblo, Colo., for destruction of the missiles but needs one more site, Army officials said.
Alkema said the state agreed to cooperate after learning the Army will use a "static burn" process to destroy the missiles rather than exploding them. Burning will be safer for the environment, he said.
Gov. Norm Bangerter issued a statement Friday saying the Army assured him they would use TAD only under extenuating circumstances.