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Data shows Fort Drum pours over $2 billion annually into local economy

Fort Drum. (Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs Photo)

The state’s largest single-site employer, Fort Drum’s regional economic impact on the north country remains strong, according to data from Advocate Drum and the Development Authority of the North Country.

In total, the organizations say the military base’s total gross output was a little over $2.2 billion with $1.6 million of that coming directly from spending.

The military base is also responsible for 24,808 total jobs in the region, between the jobs that are directly supported by the installation and jobs that are off of the military base that only exist because of Fort Drum.

Jefferson County is by far affected the most, with Fort Drum’s total economic gross output to the county totalling over $1.9 billion. The impact to Lewis County is $77.1 million and St. Lawrence County comes in at $52.7 million. Fort Drum’s total gross output to the rest of the state is $120.6 million.

There are 18,920 military and civilian personnel that work on Fort Drum, and there are in total, 24,579 Fort Drum related jobs in the tri-county region.

Fort Drum’s indirect and induced job impact saw the health and social services industry having the most jobs with 1,351, construction is second with 1,151, and educational services is third with 1,038.

2021’s total economic impact by Fort Drum was $1.96 billion, meaning the 2022 fiscal year saw a $26 million increase.

Fort Drum says they are looking to the future.

“As this year’s Fort Drum Economic Impact Statement once again illustrates, warfighter readiness, fiscal growth in the community, and sustainability are inextricably linked,” a news release from Fort Drum reads.

The north country’s military base also has an electrical “microgrid” as described in the news release, and they are also funded for a new groundwater well-field, which establishes momentum toward meeting the goals of the climate strategy Garrison Commander James J. Zacchino wants to accelerate.

The microgrid gives post the necessary infrastructure for energy independence.

“We are especially looking forward to the recommendations of Army Corps of Engineers’ study on our most viable options for energy independence, which we expect in the next couple of months,” said Colonel James J. Zacchino, Fort Drum garrison commander. “The Army is committed to 100% carbon-pollution free electricity, meeting the needs of installations by 2030. Considering we already have the microgrid infrastructure in place, our aim is to be among the first across the finish line.”

Energy independence on Fort Drum has been a hot topic of discussion in recent months due to the ReEnergy Black River biomass power facility, which was responsible for supplying Fort Drum’s electricity, announced in January that they would close in March and has since closed.

Col. Zacchino also said in the news release that “what is good for Fort Drum is good for the north country, and vice versa.”

“As we work on our resiliency, we see our neighbors doing the same, and it’s awesome. As Major General Anderson says, success doesn’t just happen. Our future sustainability depends on our continued efforts,” he said.


(c) 2023 Watertown Daily Times

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