U.S. Navy Extending Public Comment Period for Supplement to Northwest Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Navy is extending the public scoping comment period for the Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) through Oct. 6, 2017, to allow the public more time to submit substantive comments. Scoping, which is conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, is a process where the public is encouraged to participate in the development of an environmental impact statement by identifying the scope of the analysis, including potential environmental issues and viable alternatives.

The Navy is preparing a supplement to the 2015 NWTT Final EIS/OEIS to assess the potential environmental effects associated with military readiness activities conducted within the NWTT EIS/OEIS Study Area (hereafter referred to as the “Study Area”). Military readiness activities include training and research, development, testing, and evaluation (hereafter referred to as “training and testing”).

Scoping Comment Period Extension for the Supplemental EIS/OEIS:

The Navy is accepting comments throughout the extended public comment period, which began Aug. 22. 2017, and now runs until Oct. 6, 2017. All comments must be postmarked or received online by Oct. 6, 2017, for consideration in the development of the Supplemental EIS/OEIS. Comments may be submitted online at www.NWTTEIS.com, or by mail to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention: NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager
3730 North Charles Porter Ave., Building 385
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-3500

Public meetings are planned to occur following the release of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS in early 2019. For additional project information, please visit the project website at www.NWTTEIS.com.

Background:

The Navy completed an EIS/OEIS in 2015 for training and testing activities occurring within the same Study Area, for which a Record of Decision was signed in October 2016. The supplement to the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS is being prepared to support future activities conducted at sea and in associated airspace within the same Study Area beyond 2020. As part of this process, the Navy will seek the issuance of federal regulatory permits and authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. Proposed training and testing activities are generally consistent with those analyzed in the previous EIS/OEIS and approved in the 2016 Record of Decision, and are representative of activities the Navy has been conducting in the Study Area for decades.

Proposed Action:

The Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities at sea and in associated airspace within the Study Area. At-sea activities include the use of active sound navigation and ranging (sonar) and explosives while employing marine species protective measures.

The purpose of the Proposed Action is to maintain a ready force, which is needed to ensure the Navy can accomplish its mission to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas, 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 training and testing activities at sea and in associated airspace 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 from the 2015 Final EIS/OEIS. The Study Area is comprised of established maritime operating areas and warning areas in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, including areas within the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and the Western Behm Canal in southeastern Alaska. The Study Area includes air and water space within and outside Washington state waters, air and water space outside state waters of Oregon and Northern California, and Navy pierside locations.

Visit the project website at www.NWTTEIS.com to view a map of the Study Area, learn more about the project, and submit substantive comments online.

Should you have trouble accessing the project website, please email [email protected] for assistance. For other information about your Navy in the Northwest Region, please visit the Navy Region Northwest website at www.cnic.navy.mil/cnrnw.

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