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Air Force to hold public hearings on proposed F-16 transfer from Fairbanks to Anchorage

F-16s at Eielson. An F-16 Fighting Falcon touches down April 8, 2011, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

F-16s at Eielson. An F-16 Fighting Falcon touches down April 8, 2011, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The U.S. Air Force is holding a series of public hearings in the Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, communities to invite public comment on the preliminary findings of an environmental study of the potential impacts of a proposed transfer of an F-16 aircraft squadron.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Air Force has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review and comment. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement analyzes the potential environmental effects associated with the proposed relocation of the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Within the proposal, the Air Force would plan to re-size the remaining wing overhead and base operating support functions at Eielson AFB. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement also considers a No Action Alternative to keep the squadron at Eielson AFB. No decision will be made on the proposed move until the completion of the environmental study.

The Air Force is proposing the move to meet both Air Force cost-saving and force-sizing requirements while maintaining current operational capabilities. These benefits are in line with an increased focus on the Asia-Pacific region by Department of Defense and emphasis on readiness.

The 18th Aggressor Squadron consists of 18 assigned F-16 aircraft, three back-up F-16s, and associated support and maintenance Airmen. This proposed relocation initially includes removing 623 military personnel from Eielson AFB, transferring approximately 542 positions to JBER, and eliminating 81 positions. Thereafter, the Air Force proposes an additional reduction of approximately 749 military authorizations and approximately 179 civilian authorizations at Eielson AFB appropriate to the command structure required for the remaining operations. Current planning estimates call for an end state of approximately 769 appropriated funds personnel at Eielson AFB (559 military and 210 civilian personnel).

Under the proposal, Eielson AFB will continue to host Red Flag and Distant Frontier training exercises with the 18th Aggressor Squadron operating out of JBER under one of two possible alternatives. Under Alternative A, the 18th Aggressor Squadron would deploy to Eielson AFB for the duration of the exercises. Under Alternative B, the F-16 aircraft would fly to and from exercises, from JBER, using aerial refueling. The participating F-16 aircraft would not routinely land at Eielson AFB for refueling. For either alternative, the aircraft would operate in the same air space as currently used for Red Flag and Distant Frontier exercises. Transient aircraft and
personnel from outside Alaska that are participating in these exercises would continue to deploy to, and operate out of, Eielson AFB.

The Air Force is soliciting comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement from interested members of the public as well as interested local, state and federal agencies. Public input is vital in supporting the Air Force in making informed decisions, and no action will be taken until after a Final Environmental Impact Statement is completed. The Air Force will hold public hearings to provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the proposal and to provide input.

The public hearings will begin at 6 p.m. with an open house. At 6:15 p.m., the Air Force will give a brief presentation, followed by a formal public comment period beginning at 6:45 p.m. All members of the public are invited. Dates for each hearing are provided below.

June 17, 2013
6 p.m.
Alaska State Fairgrounds
2075 Glenn Highway, Hoskins Building
Palmer, Alaska

June 18, 2013
6 p.m.
Clark Middle School
150 Bragaw Street
Anchorage, Alaska

June 19, 2013
6 p.m.
Westmark Hotel & Conference Center
Gold Ballroom, 813 Noble Street
Fairbanks, Alaska

June 20, 2013
6 p.m.
North Pole Elementary School,
250 Snowman Lane
North Pole, Alaska

Public comments are encouraged. During the open house, Air Force representatives will be available for one-on-one conversations prior to the Air Force presentation. During the presentation, the Air Force will describe the proposed action and alternatives, the purpose and reasoning behind the proposed F-16 relocation, the NEPA process, and summarize the Draft Environmental Impact Statement findings. The public comment period will then begin; verbal public comments will be transcribed by a court reporter.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for download from the following website: www.alaskaf-16eis.com and may be reviewed in hard copy format at the following libraries:

  • Fairbanks Area: Delta Junction Library, 2291 Deborah St, Delta Junction; Eielson AFB Library, 2555 Coman Ave., Eielson AFB; Fairbanks North Star Borough/Noel Wien Library, 1215 Cowles St., Fairbanks; North Pole Branch Library, 601 Snowman Ln, North Pole; University of Alaska, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, 310 Tanana Loop, Fairbanks
     
  • Anchorage Area: Alaska Resources Library & Information Services, Library Building, 3211 Providence Dr., Suite 111, Anchorage; Alaska State Court Law Library, 303 K St., Anchorage; Chugiak-Eagle River Branch Library, 12001 Business Blvd., Suite #176, Eagle River Town Center, Eagle River; Eagle Public Library, 2nd Amundsen, Eagle; JBER Library, Bldg. 7, Chilkoot Ave. & Fourth St., Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson; Muldoon Branch Library, Muldoon Town Center, Suite 158, 1251, Muldoon Rd., Anchorage; Mountain View Branch Library, 120 Bragaw St., Anchorage; Palmer Public Library, 655 S Valley Way, Palmer; Wasilla Public Library, 391 N Main St., Wasilla; ZJ Loussac Public Library, 3600 Denali St., Anchorage
     
  • Juneau: Alaska State Library & Historical Collections, 333 Willoughby Ave.

Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement can be submitted electronically at www.alaskaf-16eis.com, verbally or in writing at public hearings, or by providing written comments to the contact information listed below. The Air Force will accept comments at any time during the environmental process. However, to ensure the Air Force has sufficient time to consider public input in the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, please submit comments by July 30, 2013.

People wishing to obtain further information should send inquiries to:

Mr. Allen Richmond, AFCEC/CZN
2261 Hughes Ave, Ste. 155
JBSA-Lackland AFB, TX 78236-9853
Telephone: (210) 395-8555

 

SOURCE: Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

 

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