Ore. Air National Guard to discuss airspace plans

Last of five public meetings June 21 in Prineville

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 11:15 AM PDT June 11, 2013    UPDATED: 3:54 PM PDT June 11, 2013 

The Air National Guard plans a series of scoping meetings around Oregon June 17-21 to receive public comment as the first step in the development of a draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Oregon Air National Guard's proposed Airspace Initiative.

The goal of the Oregon Air National Guard Airspace Initiative is to provide properly configured and located military airspace which will provide efficient, realistic mission-oriented training with adequate size, and within reasonably close proximity, to support advanced 21st century air-to-air tactical fighters and evolving training requirements of the Oregon Air National Guard, officials said

It is important to note that this proposed action would result in airspace changes only and does not include any project components that would touch or otherwise directly affect the ground or water surface, they said.

"We are looking for ways to train more efficiently.  If approved, these changes will eliminate over $7M spent each year traveling to more distant training airspace and will allow us to decrease the amount of time the training airspace in south-central Oregon is in use," said Oregon Air National Guard Commander, Brig. Gen. Steven D. Gregg.

Scoping meetings will provide the opportunity for the public to engage with the units on the proposed action.  The meetings are open to the public, and will be held from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

June 17 - Tillamook Air Museum, 6030 Hangar Rd, Tillamook, OR 97141
June 18 - Port of Astoria, 10 Pier One, Suite 209, Astoria, OR 97103
June 19 - Condon High School, 210 East Bayard St, Condon, OR 97823
June 20 - Harney County Center, 484 North Broadway Ave, Burns, OR 97720
June 21 - City of Prineville Council Chambers, 387 NE Third St, Prineville, OR 97754

Public involvement is of primary importance in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires full and honest disclosure of potential environmental impacts to the public. The scoping meetings are part of a process which adheres to NEPA, and includes other forms of outreach and feedback such as public notification, soliciting comments, and response to questions or comments which may arise.

A Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on May 17, 2013, a public notice was also placed in The Oregonian on June 2, 2013, and outreach to federally recognized Native American tribes has been initiated.

Details of the Proposed Action

The proposed action includes modification and addition to military training airspace located over northwestern, north-central and south-central Oregon and the Pacific Ocean. In addition, minor portions of the Proposed Action would be located above a small area of northwestern Nevada and the southwestern-most corner of Washington. It is important to note that this Proposed Action would involve airspace only and does not include any project components that would touch or otherwise directly affect the ground or water surface.

In support of the Oregon ANG's 142nd and 173rd Fighter Wings, the Air Force and the NGB are proposing (Alternative A) to expand, modify, and establish air-to-air training airspace areas in four locations around the state:

1) Proposed expansion of Warning Area 570 (W-570) to the west over the Pacific Ocean (1,000 feet above mean sea level [MSL] to 50,000 MSL);

2) Proposed establishment of the Eel Military Operations Area (MOA) directly underneath the existing Eel Air Traffic Control Assigned Area which is aligned north/south along the Oregon coast from approximately Astoria to Lincoln City and adjacent to W-570 (11,000 MSL to 18,000 MSL);

3) Proposed expansion of the existing Juniper/Hart MOA Complex to the east approximately 20 miles which would extend from approximately Burns to Frenchglen in Oregon and to Big Mountain in northwestern Nevada (11,000 MSL to 18,000 MSL, with the Juniper East Low MOA from 500 feet above ground level to 10,999 MSL); and

4) Proposed establishment of the Redhawk MOA in north central Oregon roughly bounded by Highway 97/197 on the west, the towns of Wasco and Lexington on the north, US Highway 395 on the east, and US Highway 26 on the south (11,000 MSL to 18,000 MSL).

Further information on the Airspace Initiative is posted to both the 142nd Fighter Wing and 173rd Fighter Wing websites, located at

http://www.142fw.ang.af.mil/oregonairspaceinitiative.asp, and at

http://www.173fw.ang.af.mil/resources/oregonairspaceinitiative.asp, respectively.

Both links include information about how interested members of the public can provide comments and questions.