Wednesday, December 29, 2021

DCNR Submits Comments Calling For A Full EIS, Comment Extension On Proposed Low-Altitude Combat Training Flights Over The PA Wilds

On December 23, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
wrote to the Maryland Air National Guard asking for a full Environmental Impact Statement and an extension of the public comment period and a transparent public outreach process on their proposed low-level combat training flights over the PA Wilds in Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter and Tioga counties.

The Maryland National Guard seeks to control airspace by establishing the Duke Low Military Operating Area (MOA). This MOA proposal would permit training units to fly as low as 100 feet above ground level (AGL) for up to 170 days per year. Training is now limited to 8,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) -- or 6,000-7,000 AGL.

The ANG released the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) and has issued a DRAFT Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).  The FONSI states that the ANG finds that the increased, low-altitude flying of A10s, F-16s and other military aircraft will have no significant impact on the welfare of the region.

“Upon review of the Draft Environmental Assessment, the DCNR finds the analysis significantly lacking and inadequate,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.  “The DEA does not include the comprehensive analysis necessary to examine the full, cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on this region, nor does it fully consider the social and economic vitality that comes with the natural, historic, cultural, and rural character of the region, known as the Pennsylvania Wilds. 

“In fact, it seems to disregard the significant investments made through federal, state, local and private investments to reinforce the region’s tourism, agricultural, forest products, and outdoor recreation economies,” said Dunn.  “Furthermore, it fails to assess the impacts of the noise to the region, particularly in terms of frequency, suddenness, and intensity.”

DCNR’s 26-page comment letter raised dozens of questions about the proposal and asked specifically for the Maryland National Guard to--

-- Complete a full Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”), and finds the issuance of the draft Finding of No Significant Impact (“FONSI”) inadequate and premature; and

-- DCNR is aware of several organizations and entities that have requested public meetings and an extended comment deadline. DCNR echoes these requests as full transparency is imperative considering the nature of this proposal could have lasting impacts on the quality of life and livelihoods of those living in this region.

Click Here for a copy of DCNR’s comments.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Related Articles:

-- PA Wilds Center Seeks Public Meetings On Proposed Low-Level Combat Training Flights By Maryland National Guard; Asking Others To Sign-On To The Request

-- DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council Requests Public Meetings On Proposed Very Low-Level Combat Training Flights By Maryland National Guard In PA Wilds

-- Sen. Casey Seeks Transparent Public Process, Extension Of Comment Period On Proposed Low-Level Combat Training Flights In The PA Wilds

[Posted: December 29, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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