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SBX heads to Alaska, not Everett

After months of community protest, the Department of Defense decided Friday not to place the SBX platform in Everett, choosing instead to locate it in Adak, Alaska.

Residents and local governments have been critical of the SBX platform for months. Concerns ranged from health issues to possible negative impacts on the local economy.

“I think it’s definitely a good plan to take the SBX tower away from a populated area and put it in Adak,” Island County Commissioner Mike Shelton said.

The commissioners joined other governments such as the cities of Everett and Mukilteo in opposing placement of the huge radar platform in Everett.

In two letters, the commissioners criticized the public process used to notify residents of plans to locate a floating radar platform in Everett.

“This decision is great news for Everett and for Snohomish and Island counties. I think we’re all breathing a sigh of relief today,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, who advocated placing the platform elsewhere.

The SBX platform is a 25-story, floating radar station that will help develop a defense system to track intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Missile Defense Agency considered homeporting it in Everett. Other possible sites were in California, Hawaii and Alaska.

Rick Lehner, spokesperson for the Missile Defense Agency, said that the Adak site, located in the Aleutian Islands, provides the greatest flexibility for operations and that the radar station could be operated in and out of port.

The Adak site also has the infrastructure to support the platform as the island has a Navy base that closed in 1996, Lehner said.

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