Budget cuts, mandated by last year's deficit-cutting economic summit, have eliminated any possibility of building a proposed electronic combat range in Utah until into the next decade, an Army spokesman says.
Col. Wayne Scholle of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Sacramento, Calif., district office, briefed members of Congress in Washington on Corps projects in Utah.Scholle said the Little Dell water proj-ect in Salt Lake County is in good shape, but the range is not.
He told Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, that $25 million in range-design money sought for fiscal 1989 had been cut to less than $5 million which is not enough to do the work. The result of the cut, Scholle was quoted as saying, was that the range remains on the shelf at the Defense Department.
The Air Force, which would run the range, has been vague about plans but told the Deseret News last week that a staff group has been meeting to see if an environmental impact statement can be started this year.
Owens said after meeting with Scholle that he is concerned that the imminent arrival of Soviet Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty monitors may have "chilled" the atmosphere in Utah for a top-secret technical facility like the range.
The treaty, signed by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in December, will eliminate intermediate-range nuclear weapons inEurope and prohibit building of more such missiles. But the pact, yet to be ratified by the Senate, would also allow Soviets to monitor compliance with the treaty's missile building provisions at Hercules Inc.'s Bacchus Works in Utah. An American team would be stationed in the Soviet Union for the same purpose.
The proximity of Soviets to a modern electronic battlefield may have raised some concern, as has the potential for spying on the many other military and defense industry facilities in Utah.
Scholle said work on Little Dell will go ahead this spring, with the first dirt-moving contract to be let.
The Reagan administration asked Congress for $7.8 million for Little Dell work next year. According to Scholle, increased costs will boost the expense of Little Dell this year.