May 24, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA has requested a 60-day extension of the comment period on proposed changes to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) to address the multiple concerns the proposed actions are raising for communities and the state’s aviation industry.
Without an extension, comments would no longer be accepted after June 7.
“AOPA attended several of the public meetings in Alaska about this proposal, where it became clear that serious concerns came not just from the aviation community but also from the general public and local communities,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA vice president of air traffic services and modernization. “The original 70-day comment period did not provide adequate time for a comprehensive review and public comment on the potential consequences of the proposed actions.”
A draft environmental impact statement released March 30 details changes proposed for swaths of airspace within the complex that is described as accommodating “all land, air, and sea training areas used by the Army, Navy, and Air Force in Alaska to support joint exercises and mission rehearsals.”
AOPA strongly urged members to comment on the proposal in light of its potential to have a serious impact on general aviation operations, and is urging members to submit requests to extend the comment period by 60 days.
“The sheer volume and complexity of the JPARC initiative would typically necessitate a minimum of 90 days for public comment, and while recognizing the military's desire to move ahead and remain on schedule, attempting to aggressively move forward without ample public review opportunity seems to negate the true spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),” Williams wrote in a May 23 letter that presented AOPA’s extension request.
The Defense Department is seeking comments on 12 individual actions, six of which will be decided in 2013. A series of public hearings on the proposals recently concluded.
Members can submit comments by email, or by mail to ALCOM Public Affairs, 9480 Pease Avenue, Suite 120 JBER, AK 99506.
Please also share your comments with AOPA.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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