Churchill Commissioners respond to Navy land withdrawal proposal | NevadaAppeal.com

Churchill Commissioners respond to Navy land withdrawal proposal

Aly Lawson
alawson@lahontanvalleynews.com
Naval Air Station Fallon’s training range proposal was presented at the last Board of Churchill County Commissioners meeting, where Chair Pete Olsen emphasized the public attend the workshop next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers to learn more and how to best provide important comments using the project’s website, www.FRTCModernization.com.
Aly Lawson / LVN |

The Board of Churchill County Commissioners met last week to discuss a proposal to withdraw more land to expand Naval Air Station Fallon’s Range Training Complex.

Commission chairman Pete Olsen stressed the importance of the public attending the Fallon Range Training Complex workshop on Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers on Taylor Street. Contractor Resource Concepts Inc. will give a presentation, provide materials and answer questions.

“It’s very important the public knows the information and how to give substantive comments,” Olsen said about the upcoming workshop that will go over the proposal’s foundational scoping process. “That is how the county is moving forward, and I wanted to make that clear.”

Capt. David Halloran, commander of NAS Fallon, addressed the commissioners by reviewing the proposal made public Aug. 26, which includes land withdrawal, acquisition of non-federal lands and modified air space to modernize training capabilities. He said the proposal is not easily or affordably replicated anywhere else in the world and would be a critical contribution to the U.S. Department of Defense.

“When you’re going to attack,” Halloran said of being as capable as possible going into combat, “the best way to do it is high and as far away as possible.” He said survivability factors go up, almost to a zero loss of life, explaining how the project would allow for this type of training for every deploying Navy group.

Alex Stone with U.S. Pacific Fleet Environmental Readiness, which is preparing the environmental impact study, and Rob Rule, NAS Fallon’s community plans and liaison officer, commented that right now is the time to submit quality, detailed comments so any needs and concerns may be addressed.

Halloran said their job at the base is to propose what’s needed, and it’s the community’s job to respond. Parties can then work together to mitigate problems.

Commissioner Carl Erquiaga said after asking constituents, he can tell everyone loves the Navy and supports it, but the project is a “bitter pill” to swallow.

With objections, “there’s a perception you come across as anti-Navy and that isn’t my position at all,” Erquiaga said. He added that objection “doesn’t weigh for protecting the country, but it does weigh with the individual.”

Commission concerns covered grazing permits, compensation, transportation and recreation areas. Former Navy service member Jim Falk shared his concern about losing “potentially productive Nevada real estate” and “putting more land under central government control.”

Interested individuals who wish to comment by Nov. 25 may go to http://www.FRTCModernization.com.

The commission also heard other agenda items:

The liquor board convened and granted a two-day special event liquor license.

A conservation easement appraisal service was approved for a property owned by Clint and Denise Felton, Mark and Mary Kolwyck, and Flying W Land & Livestock. There was also a public music license renewal for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The Fallon Golf Course lease agreement with Duncan Golf will terminate at year’s end, giving time to prepare for a new operator.

A nuisance complaint hearing was set for Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. (location to be determined) for a complaint filed by Clifford and Christine Newmyer against Enel Green Power North America.