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Begich Welcomes Military Expansion of Public Comment for JPARC

Alaskans get more time to weigh in on training site plans

After several meetings and discussions with military personnel and Alaskans from across the state concerned about the issue, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today welcomed news that the military is expanding the public comment period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) associated with the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and modernization and enhancement proposal known as JPARC.

Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins told Sen. Begich in a letter today that the comment period has been expanded to March 4, 2011.

“I wholly support Alaska Command and its effort to make JPARC one of the premier training ranges in the country,” Begich said. “But I also recognize Alaskans have a number of questions about the plans and the process and they now have even more time to get those comments noted and on the record.”

“I want to ensure you the comments and concerns of elected officials and Alaskan residents are very important to use as we move through the EIS process,” Lt. Gen. Atkins says in his letter to Sen. Begich. “The Alaska SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 6 (TRA) is one of many requests we have received to lengthen the public comment period. As such, I asked my staff to re-evaluate the impacts of a possible extension, allowing all Alaskans more time to comment.”

Begich noted that the public scoping period of the EIS is just the beginning of what will be a multi-year process for JPARC. After the comment period ends, the military will then analyze the comments and release a draft EIS that will go out for further public comment.

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