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Military to Post Hearings on Environmental Impact Statement Proposed for Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF–RICHARDSON, ALASKA – In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Alaskan Command (ALCOM), on behalf of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, announces the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Modernization and Enhancement of Ranges, Airspace, and Training Areas in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex in Alaska (JPARC Modernization and Enhancement Draft EIS). 

The Draft EIS describes and analyzes the potential environmental effects associated with the Air Force and Army proposals to modernize and enhance the JPARC in Alaska to best support the military exercises in and near Alaska.  At present, the JPARC consists of all land, air, and sea training areas used by the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps (the services) in Alaska. The military currently uses the JPARC to conduct testing, training, and to support various joint exercises and mission rehearsals.

The JPARC was originally developed to support older and in some cases now obsolete weapons and tactics. Its current configuration cannot fully meet the training requirement for military forces and exercises conducted in Alaska. The JPARC requires a more contemporary and versatile design and improved infrastructure to meet the present and future needs of the military. The proposed JPARC modernization and enhancements would enable realistic joint training and testing to support emerging technologies, respond to recent battlefield experiences, and train with new weapons systems and tactics to meet combat and national security needs.

The JPARC Modernization and Enhancement DEIS analyzes the following 12 proposals - 6 definitive and 6 programmatic - including several viable alternative actions, as well as “no-action” alternatives.

Definitive Actions Evaluated in this Environmental Impact Statement:

1)            Fox 3 Military Operations Area (MOA) Expansion and New Paxon MOA

2)            Realistic Live Ordnance Delivery

3)            Establish New Restricted Area Over the Battle Area Complex and Combined Arms

4)            Expansion of Restricted Area R-2205

5)            Night Joint Training

6)            Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Access Corridors

Programmatic Actions Evaluated in this Environmental Impact Statement:

1)            Enhanced Ground Maneuver Space

2)            Tanana Flats Training Area (TFTA) Roadway Access

3)            Joint Air–Ground Integration Complex (JAGIC)

4)            Intermediate Staging Bases (ISBs)

5)            Missile Live Fire for AIM-9 and AIM-120

6)            Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS) Drop Zones

Projects currently proposed to be addressed in the JPARC Modernization and Enhancement EIS can be viewed online at www.jparceis.com.  Decisions on definitive proposal alternatives will be announced in the 2013 Record of Decision. Final decisions on the programmatic proposals will not be made prior to required subsequent tiered or supplemental environmental impact analysis.

A copy of the Draft EIS will be available to download online at http://www.jparceis.com.  CDs of the DEIS will also be mailed to persons requesting a copy and will be available in hard copy format at the following libraries or locations:  Anchorage Z. J. Loussac; UAA Alaska Resources Library and Information Services; Fairbanks North Star Borough (Noel Wien); Fairbanks Elmer E. Rasmuson Library; Palmer Public Library; Copper Valley Community Library; Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Glennallen; Paxson Lodge; Delta Community Library; Tri-Valley School/Community Library; Talkeetna Public Library; Willow Public Library; and Wasilla Public Library.

Comments from the public will be considered before any final decision is made. ALCOM will host public hearings to solicit public and agency input. All members of the public are invited.  The schedule and locations of the public hearings are provided below:

Friday May 11, 2012                        University of Alaska, Anchorage, Lucy Cuddy Hall, 2921 Spirit Way, Anchorage, Alaska

Monday May 14, 2012                    Palmer Community Center (The Railroad Depot), 610 S. Valley Way, Palmer, Alaska

Tuesday May 15, 2012                    Lake Louise Lodge, Mile 16.1 Lake Louise Road, Glennallen, Alaska

Wednesday May 16, 2012            Caribou Hotel, Mile 186.5 Glenn Highway, Glennallen, Alaska

Thursday May 17, 2012                  Paxson Lodge, Mile 185.5 Richardson Highway, Paxson, Alaska

Friday May 18, 2012                        Alaskan Steakhouse and Motel, Mile 265 Richardson Highway, Delta Junction, Alaska

Saturday May 19, 2012                   University of Alaska Fairbanks, William R. Wood Center,  multi-level lounge, 505 S. Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska

Monday May 21, 2012                    Tri-Valley Community Center, 1 Healy Spur Rd, Healy, Alaska

Tuesday May 22, 2012                    Swiss Alaska Inn, 22056 South F Street Talkeetna, Alaska

Wednesday May 23, 2012            Menard Memorial Sports Center, 1001 S. Mack Drive Wasilla, Alaska

All hearings are scheduled to run from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. with a 5:45 p.m. presentation, with the exception of the Fairbanks hearing, which is scheduled to occur from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., with presentations at 10:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.

The first 45 minutes of the public hearing will be an opportunity for community members to learn more about the JPARC and EIS process and speak with Army and Air Force personnel one-on-one.  This is an open house question and answer session.  The Army and Air Force will begin a formal presentation after the open house.  Comments received during the presentation are not considered part of the EIS administrative record.  The presentation will provide information on the purpose and need and descriptions of the proposed actions and alternatives.  The Air Force and Army will then open up the hearing for formal public comment and testimony.  Comments may be submitted orally or in writing.  A court reporter will be available to record all oral comments. Comments provided during the formal testimony will become part of the EIS administrative record.  Substantive comments will be responded to in the Final EIS.

Federal, state, and local agencies, and interested groups and persons are encouraged to provide comments on the proposed action either at the public hearings or by mail, phone, or fax at the address and numbers provided below.  More information can be found at the project website at www.jparceis.com.  Written comments presented at public scoping or received no later than June 7, 2012, will be considered in the preparation of the final EIS.

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