Sicily says to revoke permission for U.S. satellite system station

PALERMO, Sicily Tue Feb 5, 2013 4:48pm EST

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PALERMO, Sicily (Reuters) - The Sicilian regional government in Italy said on Tuesday it would revoke permission for the United States to build a ground station for a satellite defense system, citing health concerns.

It said there were insufficient studies about the effect the ground station's electromagnetic waves could have on the health of residents around the city of Niscemi.

Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said during a visit to Italy last month that he understood the concerns of residents but that U.S. studies had concluded there would be no health risks.

The Sicilian statement said the regional government had decided to ask the island's top environment official to begin procedures to revoke the authorization.

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite network is aimed at significantly boosting communications capacity for the U.S. military and its allies.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Pravin Char)

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