Federal Register: October 6, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 195)
DOCID: FR Doc 00-25655
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
ACTION: Environmental statements; notice of intent:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Establishment of New and/or Modification of Existing Military Operations Areas Near Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC
DATES: All written scoping comments should be postmarked by November 20, 2000. Public scoping open houses will be held to receive oral and/ or written comments on environmental concerns that should be addressed in the EIS on October 23, 2000, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, in the Cape Hatteras High School, Highway 12, Buxton, North Carolina; October 24, 2000, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, in the Northside High School, 7860 Free Union Church Road, Pinetown, North Carolina; October 25, 2000, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, in the East Carteret High School, 3263 Highway 70, Beaufort, North Carolina; and October 26, 2000, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, in the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, 203 South Front Street, New Bern, North Carolina.
Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as implemented by the Council on
Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR Parts 15001508), the
Department of the Navy announces its intent to prepare an Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental
consequences of the establishment of new and/or modification of
existing Military Operations Areas (MOAs) near Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) will serve as a cooperating agency on this EIS.
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC,
Establishment of new and/or modification of existing MOAs is required to provide military aviators with more realistic training opportunities. The purpose of this action is to eliminate required administrative airspeed reductions so that aircraft can maintain tactical flight profiles, and create additional SUA in order to optimize existing aviation training. Military aviators using existing SUA in the MCAS Cherry Point area are required to reduce airspeed to 250 knots or less prior to entering nonSUA below 10,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) and when transiting from one noncontiguous SUA to another. This airspeed reduction requires aircrews to initiate speed reduction prior to departing existing SUA, thereby terminating their tactical profile. This greatly diminishes training value due to decreased realism in tactical flight profiles and restricted tactical approach options, which require the repetition of nontactical maneuvers during training. Second, expansion of SUA over land is desired to accommodate critical aircrew training requirements that do not require the use of restricted airspace such as air combat maneuvers, formation flight, air intercepts, staging and packaging of multiple aircraft strikes, and a larger acquisition area for simulated weapon systems delivery. These objectives cannot be met through nonSUA actions due to the space requirements to accommodate such operations and restrictive procedures inherent in Airspace for Special Use development and utilization.
Seven MOA alternatives have been identified so far, four individual MOA alternatives and three combination MOA alternatives, for consideration in the EIS. The individual MOA alternatives include: (1) Establishment of the Core MOA at a proposed location east of MCAS Cherry Point and extending from Cape Lookout north to Portsmouth Island and overlying the Cape Lookout National Seashore; (2) establishment of the Mattamuskeet MOA at a proposed location located northeast of MCAS Cherry Point and overlying portions of Pamlico, Beaufort, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington counties and the Lake Mattamuskeet and Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuges; (3) establishment of the Cherry MOA at a proposed location northwest of MCAS Cherry Point and overlying portions of Craven, Pamlico, Beaufort and Hyde counties; and (4) modification of the Pamlico B MOA located northeast of MCAS Cherry Point and overlying the Pamlico Sound and portions of Carteret, Hyde and Dare counties. Unlike the first three proposed MOAs, Pamlico B is an existing MOA the use of which would be modified by lowering its base altitude from 8,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) to 3,000 feet MSL. All other existing dimensions would remain unchanged. The proposed floor for any MOA alternative under consideration is 3,000 feet above ground level. In addition to these four individual MOA alternatives, three combination MOA alternatives have been identified. They include: (1) Core and Mattamuskeet MOAs, (2) Core and Cherry MOAs, and (3) Core and Pamlico B MOAs. The No Action Alternative, which would neither establish new nor modify existing MOAS, will also be analyzed in this EIS.
Environmental issues to be addressed in the EIS include, but are not limited to, the effects on wildlife and threatened and endangered species, public lands and waters, civilian aviation, public health and safety, recreation, and community noise.
The Marine Corps will initiate a scoping process for the purpose of determining the extent of issues to be addressed, and identifying significant issues related to this action. Public scoping meetings will be held as noted in the Dates section of this notice. These meetings will be advertised in area newspapers.
Marine Corps representatives will be available at these meetings to
receive comments from the public regarding issues of concern to the
public. Federal, state and local agencies, and interested individuals
are encouraged to take this opportunity to identify environmental
concerns that should be addressed during the preparation of the EIS.
Agencies and the public are also invited and encouraged to provide
written comment on scoping issues in addition to, or in lieu of, oral
comments at the public meeting. To be most helpful, scoping comments
should clearly describe specific issues or topics that the commentor
believes the EIS should address. Written statements and/or questions
regarding the scoping process should be mailed by November 20, 2000 to:
Commander, Atlantic Division (Attn: Code BD33KK), Naval Facilities
Engineering Command, 1510 Gilbert Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23511. [[Page 59830]]
Dated: September 25, 2000.
Elsie L. Munsell,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, (Environment and Safety). [FR Doc. 0025655 Filed 10500; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810FFP
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Ms. Kelly Knight, telephone (757) 322- 4886, fax (757) 3224894.