Amid rumors that the Long Beach Naval Shipyard will be recommended for closure, a group of Los Angeles-area House members Friday made a final plea to the No. 2 official at the Defense Department to spare the 42-year-old facility.
Deputy Defense Secretary John Deutch listened to arguments from members of Congress and a state assemblyman that shutting down the shipyard would be a military and economic mistake.
The shipyard supporters offered a 10-point sales pitch to keep the base open, emphasizing its efficiency and nearness to San Diego, where the Navy is concentrating 70% of its Pacific Fleet.
But according to Pentagon sources this week, the Navy recommended that the yard be included on Defense Secretary William Perry's closure list to be announced Tuesday in Washington. Perry makes the final decisions and could overrule the recommendations of the various services.
Pentagon officials have made it clear that this final round of base closings will be the most painful because the easier decisions have already been made.
If the Long Beach shipyard winds up on the list, the House members will attack the decision on procedural grounds and try to make their case before the commission, which will hold a series of hearings before making its final recommendations to the President in the summer.