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US Navy seeks public input on training and testing

ASAN, Guam (Press Release) — The U.S. Navy is preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement or EIS/OEIS to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with ongoing at-sea military readiness activities conducted within the Mariana Islands Training and Testing EIS/OEIS Study Area.

Military readiness activities include training and research, development, testing, and evaluation. The Navy is requesting public comments on the scope of the analysis, including potential environmental issues and viable alternatives to be considered during the development of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS.

The Navy previously completed an EIS/OEIS in May 2015 for at-sea training and testing activities occurring within the Study Area. The supplement to the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS is being prepared to support ongoing and future activities conducted at sea and on Farallon de Medinilla within the Study Area beyond 2020. Proposed training and testing activities are generally consistent with those analyzed in the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS and represent activities the military has conducted in the Study Area for decades.

The Supplemental EIS/OEIS will include an analysis of training and testing activities using new information available after the release of the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS. New information includes an updated acoustic effects model, updated marine mammal density data, and evolving and emergent best available science. As part of this process, the Navy will seek the issuance of federal regulatory permits and authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Proposed action

The proposed action is to conduct at-sea training and testing activities within the Study Area.

At-sea training and testing activities include the use of active sonar and explosives while employing marine species protective mitigation measures.

The purpose of the proposed action is to maintain a ready force, which is needed to ensure the military can accomplish its mission to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready forces, consistent with congressional direction in Section 5062 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

To achieve and maintain military readiness, the Navy proposes to:

• Conduct at-sea training and testing activities at levels required to support military readiness requirements beyond 2020; and

• Accommodate evolving mission requirements, including those resulting from the development, testing, and introduction of new vessels, aircraft, and weapons systems into the fleet.

The Study Area remains unchanged since the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS and includes the existing Mariana Islands Range Complex or MIRC; areas on the high seas to the north and west of the MIRC; a transit corridor between the MIRC and the Hawaii Range Complex, starting at the International Date Line; and Apra Harbor and select Navy pierside and harbor locations. In the supplement to the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS, the Navy will only analyze those training and testing activities conducted at sea and on FDM within the Study Area. Other activities and land components associated with the MIRC are not included in the supplement.

Scoping comment period

The 45-day scoping comment period is July 28-Sept. 11. Comments must be postmarked or received online by Sept. 11, 2017, Chamorro Standard Time, for consideration in the development of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS. All comments submitted during the 45-day public comment period will become part of the public record. Comments may be submitted online at: www.MITT-EIS.com or by mail to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific

Attention: MITT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager

258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100

Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134

For additional project information, please visit the project website at www.MITT-EIS.com

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/community-bulletin-sp-595/97312-us-navy-seeks-public-input-on-training-and-testing

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