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Dugway eyeing possible expansion

Dugway Proving Ground, one of America's largest military bases, has been thinking about growing even larger.

It's unclear whether the project is the revival of a 1988 Dugway effort to obtain a swath of public land 23 miles wide by 3 miles long, where chemical and conventional weapons contamination occurred. But what is certain is that two other projects besides the expansion show the military wants stronger action to protect the public from leftover ordinance.

Officials of Dugway — the bigger-than-Rhode Island base sprawling across much of Utah's western desert — aren't saying how much they would like it to expand or even why.

"Dugway has requested permission to study the possibility of increasing the size of Dugway's training and testing ranges," says a base statement prepared in response to a Deseret Morning News question. Dugway officials made the request to their parent organization, the Army Developmental and Test Command, headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

"We have not received permission to do this yet," the statement adds.

According to one source, the latest round of discussions about Dugway expansion may have begun about a year ago.

Reaching to within 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Dugway is where the Army carries out research on ways to protect against biological or chemical attack. It also hosts conventional weapons training.

In addition, the Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) is located in two huge tracts, the southern one adjacent to Dugway.