Navy releases final EIS on Fallon range modernization
The U.S. Navy has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the potential environmental impacts of the proposed modernization of the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC) in Northern Nevada.
Modernization would include the renewal of the Navy’s current public land withdrawal, land range expansion through the additional withdrawal of public lands and the acquisition of non-federal land, airspace expansion and modifications, and upgrades to range infrastructure.
The Navy will hold an informational meeting following the release of the final EIS. The meeting on Jan. 28 from 5-7 p.m. at the Fallon Convention Center will include poster stations staffed by Navy representatives, a presentation starting at 6 p.m., and an opportunity for the public to provide oral comments. This meeting is intended to update the public concerning the Navy’s proposal, the analysis in the Final EIS, and planned monitoring and mitigation measures.
“The release of the FRTC Final EIS is a critical milestone in Naval Air Station Fallon’s range modernization effort that will ensure our warfighters are provided a premier 21st century training environment,” said Lucian Niemeyer, acting Secretary of Energy, Installations, and Environment. “This represents an important step of a multi-year effort of continuous, collaborative discussion between all stakeholders. The Department of the Navy is grateful for the support of local communities and tribes in Nevada, the collaboration with the Department of Interior, and the contributions of the State of Nevada. We look forward to continued discussions with all stakeholders to address remaining concerns as we move forward to a Record of Decision.”
In response to technological and tactical advancements, the Navy conducted a comprehensive analysis referred to as the “Ninety Days to Combat” study, to determine the land and airspace needed to meet combat training requirements for modern aircraft and weapons systems. The analysis showed that the current size of the ranges severely restricts the extent to which the Navy can use its weapons systems to train. The proposed modernization would provide training capabilities that are more realistic and are needed to meet changing aviation and ground training requirements, while maintaining the safety of local communities.
“Expanding the FTRC for the first time in two generations is absolutely essential to our national security, enabling our country’s sailors and Marines to prepare for today’s threats,” Niemeyer said. “Our warfighters must be ready at a moment’s notice to effectively respond to more advanced aircraft and weaponry to defeat all potential adversaries. This range modernization will directly impact the ability our military to effectively respond to threats from any adversary, anytime, anywhere in the world.”
The Fallon Range Training Complex is the Navy’s premier aviation training range, supporting aviation and ground training, including live-fire training. The Navy trains 100 percent of deploying naval aviation and naval special warfare units at the Fallon Range Training Complex. The training conducted there is critical for defending and securing the United States and its interests abroad. However, the ranges have not changed substantially in size or configuration since the 1990s. Modern aircraft and weapons have outpaced the current capabilities of the FRTC.
The Navy is committed to keeping the public informed. The completion of the Final EIS follows years of research, analysis, and public involvement. The Navy held seven scoping meetings in 2016 and seven public meetings associated with the Draft EIS in 2018 to provide information and obtain public input. The Final EIS includes Navy responses to public comments received during the Draft EIS public review and comment period.
Regulations provide for a 30-day wait period after the Final EIS is published before the Navy can make any decision as to which if any of the action alternatives analyzed in the EIS would be selected. The Final EIS is now available to the public on the project website at http://www.FRTCModernization.com, and at the following public libraries: Austin, Carson City, Churchill County, Crescent Valley, Downtown Reno, Eureka, Fernley, Gabbs Community, Mineral County, Pershing County and Yerington.
Information is available at http://www.FRTCModernization.com.