A new bombing range will not be coming to our area. Many Taylor County residents declare victory as they learn the United States Air Force will not pursue Taylor County as a site for missile testing.
Earle Greene, a Taylor County resident, said, "Our group that has fought this from the beginning is elated to hear this news. It's confirmed what we've believed from the beginning that this new bombing range has never been a strategic necessity for the military."
Due to lack of space, Eglin Air Force Base was considering using a 10-square-mile stretch of Taylor County's coastline for missile testing.
Vicki Hatton, a Taylor County resident, said, "Bombs do lose their course, they do get out of range, they do have accidents. We feel that the people who are here are very important people. We weren't interested in the pollution that it would bring, we weren't interested in any of the things."
Residents no longer have to worry about those thins. In a letter to Congressman Allen Boyd, the Air Force writes:
"The Air Force determined a new range is not required at this time to test long range/large footprint weapons. Therefore, we are looking at expanding the capabilities of existing ranges elsewhere."
Daryll T. Gunter, Chairman of the Taylor County Commission, said, "The military is exempt from some of our regulations, so if they wanted to come they can just still come. But they've decided this just does not fit into their long-term plans."
Some are skeptical, but say for now this battle is won. The Air Force indicates it will not pursue anywhere else in the Big Bend area for missile testing.