Residents at Perry, FL Could Impact Area Military Missions

Some north Florida residents will voting next week on a proposal to build a new bombing range in their county.

The Air Force wants to establish a new weapons testing area in Taylor County, which is about 50 miles southeast from the state Capitol, but some residents in the Perry area are trying to scuttle the plan.

John Hedrick with the Panhandle Citizens Coalition says the Air Force should look somewhere else.

“People can and do get killed during the operation of bombing ranges. People can and do get exposed to toxic chemicals with the explosives and pleated uranium, but there will be serious impacts on area wildlife and endangered species. There is a high probability of polluting both the drinking water aquifer and the Gulf of Mexico."

Hedrick, a Tallahassee attorney, is the leader of a group which has been approved to the relocation of the Panama City Airport to West Bay. The same group has been fighting St. Joe Company’s development plans in Gulf and Franklin Counties.

Hedrick says the Air Force already has one of the largest weapons testing facilities in the world at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle and he says there’s no need for another drop zone in Taylor County.

The bombing range issue is on the ballot next week in Taylor County, but it’s only a straw poll. The vote alone cannot stop the bombing range.