Navy conducts first scoping meeting |

Navy conducts first scoping meeting

Steve Ranson
More than 100 people attend a scoping meeting on Monday to learn more of a Navy and DOD proposal to withdraw additional land for training.

The first scoping meeting of seven was conducted Monday at the Fallon Convention Center.

The first proposal in several decades plans to withdraw land in the Fallon Range Training Complex in Churchill County. The scoping meetings are for the Navy to accept comments from stakeholders who will be affected.

The scoping period covers 90 days from when the process was first announced in late August.

Upham said an Environment Impact Study is for the modernization of the range to include ranges B-16 southwest of Fallon; B-17, the Dixie Valley Training Area, north and south of U.S. Highway; and B-20, northeast of Fallon and north of B-17. No plans are proposed for B-19, which 30 miles south of Fallon and east of U.S. Highway 95.

Capt. David Halloran, commander of Naval Air Station Fallon, addressed an audience of more than 100 people to discuss the proposal to renew existing land and expand through additional land withdrawal and land acquisition, airspace modifications and public land withdrawal renewal.

Halloran said the public scoping meetings are showing what the Navy and Department of Defense are proposing. He said the Assistant Secretary of the Navy will make a decision in 2020, and if he approves the proposal, then it will go to Congress for final action.

According to Halloran, all carrier air wings train at Fallon before they go on deployment. He said all carrier tactical training is performed over the desert east of the air station.

While weapons have improved, Halloran said the ranges have not been modernized in 20-30 years. The proposed expansion combined with the existing training land will cover 670,000 acres.

Alex Stone, EIS program manager for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the proposal is complex. He said the comments collected at Monday’s meeting and online wil help the Navy construct a draft impact statement. For example, the EIS will cover air quality and climate, airborne noise, grazing, land use and recreation, minerals and mining, soils and water resources.

See Wednesday’s story in the LVN.