By Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Maryland congressman says he will not support the Pentagon’s request to reinstate the military exercise suspended when a radar-carrying blimp broke away from its mooring and floated over Pennsylvania.

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat, serves on the House Appropriations Committee. He said in a statement Friday that he will not support a $27 million request to resume the program.

The program, called JLENS, included two blimps tethered at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. They were being tested to defend the Washington area from low-flying military threats.

In October, one blimp broke free. It came down in rural Pennsylvania, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Ruppersberger says the JLENS failure jeopardized the safety of his constituents and he won’t support its continuation in such a highly populated area.

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