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OGDEN — Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop are demanding answers over apparent conflicting statements from federal officials related to Ogden Hinckley Airport's control tower.
The tower was one of the smaller airport towers flagged for closure under the Federal Aviation Administration's initial plan to deal with automatic spending cuts.
Lee and Bishop sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration administrator Michael Huerta asking for clarification of why the FAA said it had received no feedback from the Department of Defense related to potential safety concerns at the Ogden Airport if it lost its tower.
DOD, according to the letter, later confirmed to Sen. Lee's office that it had in fact provided a detailed report to the Department of Transportation — overseer of the FAA — which grouped Ogden-Hinckley as part of 38 contract towers whose closures would have a "severe" impact on DOD operations.
"We want to know exactly what happened, who received the information," said Lee's communications director Brian Phillips. "There clearly is a very strong impact on defense operations, at least according to the DOD, and we feel that they should revisit that decision — first of all they should explain it, and then revisit that decision."
Air Force and defense officials were surveying Ogden-Hinckley on-site Monday, airport manager Royal Eccles confirmed.
Towers at Ogden's Airport — and Provo's — were initially slated to close along with 147 others across the country.
Last week, reports surfaced that the small towers would perhaps not close after all, though nothing definitive has been made public since. It was unclear Monday when the FAA might respond to the request from Sen. Lee and Rep. Bishop. "We're going to try and get an answer as soon as possible," Phillips said.