Gov. Norm Bangerter is urging Salt Lake County commissioners to allow Hercules Inc. to go ahead with a $145 million expansion of a current facility to build Titan IV and Delta II rocket motors.

In a letter to County Commissioner Bart Barker, Bangerter said health and safety concerns expressed by residents and endorsed by two of the four members of the county Planning Commission were unfounded."The proposed expansion does not increase the risk to the health and safety of Utah citizens," Bangerter wrote. "While I fully understand the emotional issue with which the Planning Commission was faced, the facts indicate that Hercules is in full compliance with all the safety standards imposed by various federal, state and local regulatory agencies."

Hercules officials appealed to the County Commission after the Planning Commission rejected the proposal. Planners said they were concerned about the safety of residents in nearby Magna, especially in view of the explosion last month of a rocket fuel plant in Henderson, Nev.

Hercules maintains the project would not pose any dangers to Magna residents. Further, they point out that the project would add 750 construction jobs and employ 1,267 people once it is fully operational. Ultimately, the project is expected to pump $10 billion into the local economy.