Risk of major US shipyard Bath Iron Works closure termed "substantial" by Maine Congressman

Monday, March 28, 2005 Maine Representative Tom Allen told the Kennebec Journal last week there was a "substantial risk" of three major military bases in Maine being closed by President Bush's Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Nine nominees by the commission will be required to submit recommendations for base closures in May of 2005. The three bases in Maine are Bath Iron Works, the Portland Naval Shipyard, and the Brunswick Naval Air Station. Between the three stations, they employ 16,000 workers.

Representative Allen's comments took place in an interview with the Kennebec Journal. His remarks were misinterpreted as suggesting there was a "good chance" some bases would close. The Portland Press Herald, which ran the story using Blethen Maine News Service as their source, later admitted that "he did not say they had a 'good chance' of being closed." Allen did not disagree with his characterization of "substantial risk" to the bases, but he insisted his comments were not meant to be predictive.

Bath Iron Works is the largest single-site employer in Maine, with 6400 employees. The shipbuilding yard is situated on the western shore of the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine, where the General Dynamics subsidiary has been building ships for 120 years. Bath Iron Works is one of two yards in the US that build surface vessels, such as the new DDX class of destroyers for the US military, according to WCSH 6 News in Portland. The second is Ingalls Shipyard in Mississippi.