Friday, December 17, 2021

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

On December 16,
U.S. Senator Bob Casey wrote to the Maryland Air National Guard asking for 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.

Sen. Casey said in his letter-- “The low airspace would fly over the Pennsylvania Wilds, an area incorporating numerous state parks and forests, two National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the largest elk herd in the Northeast and the Allegheny National Forest. 

“The outdoor recreation and tourism economy of this region generates $1.8 billion and supports the livelihood of many families and small businesses. 

“The U.S. military needs realistic training environments for all its mission sets, and Central Pennsylvania continues to support these training needs. 

“Nonetheless, more than 180,000 Pennsylvanians live in the region affected by the Duke Low MOA. It is critical members of these communities are informed of the proposal and have sufficient time to review and provide public feedback. 

“As the Maryland Air National Guard proceeds with the environmental review process, I strongly urge the Guard to engage in an active and transparent process with members of the affected communities, including hosting public meetings to provide invested parties the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

“Further, I encourage the Maryland Air National Guard to extend the public comment period for the draft environmental assessment beyond December 31st and to consider whether an Environmental Impact Statement is necessary to fully assess cumulative effects of the Duke Low MOA proposal and assuage public concerns.

Click Here for a copy of Sen. Casey’s letter.

The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, DCNR’s Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have made similar requests.

Related Articles:

-- Maryland National Guard Seeking Permission To Fly Combat Training Missions Within 100 Feet Of Ground Level In Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter & Tioga Counties - The PA Wilds

-- 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

Related Articles This Week:
[Posted: December 17, 2021] 
PA Environment Digest

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