HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Communities in southeastern Connecticut that rely on the Navy submarine base as an economic engine may be breathing easier following a U.S. House subcommittee’s rejection Thursday of a new round of military base closings.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a member of the House Readiness Subcommittee, said its vote was the first official rejection of a new round of Base Realignment and Closure by this Congress. The language forbidding closings was added as the subcommittee gave its approval to the administration’s proposed defense budget.
Courtney said the Pentagon has failed to demonstrate how a new round of closings would make financial sense considering the up-front costs.
‘‘It was just very sketchy as far as how much savings they projected,’’ said Courtney, a Democrat who represents eastern Connecticut. He said he would prefer to see the Pentagon focus on closing military installations in Europe.
The base in Groton was nearly closed in 2005, and many fear it soon will be targeted again.
The Groton base pumps $4.5 billion a year into Connecticut’s economy and supports at least 15,000 jobs around the southeastern section of the state. Since escaping the last round of base closings, the state of Connecticut has committed $50 million for improvements to help increase the value of the base, which is the home port for more than a dozen nuclear-powered attack submarines.