Navy releases draft impact statement on Oregon airspace plan

Public comments due Nov.6

September 13, 2012

The Navy has published a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on its planned modification of special-use airspace in the vicinity of Oregon’s Boardman Airport. Members are encouraged to review the document and submit comments on the proposal by Nov. 6.

Two public meetings have been scheduled on Sept. 25 and 26 in Hermiston and Boardman, Ore.

Under two action alternatives discussed in the DEIS, the Navy would establish two military operations areas (MOAs) to the northeast of the existing Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman MOA. Boardman Northeast A MOA would extend from 500 feet agl to 3,999 feet msl, and Boardman Northeast B MOA would extend from 4,000 feet msl to 17,999 feet msl. Under the no-action alternative operations, airspace would remain unchanged.

In previous suggestions to the Navy, AOPA has requested the return of unused airspace to the National Airspace System under any reconfiguration plan involving new special-use airspace, and intends to reiterate that position in formal comments on the DEIS. The Navy has indicated previously that existing special-use airspace on the east side of the existing Boardman Military Operations Area no longer serves training purposes.

The public meetings will take place Sept. 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Hermiston Conference Center Great Room, 415 South Highway 395, Hermiston, Ore., 97838, and Sept. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Port of Morrow Conference Center Riverfront Room, 2 Marine Drive, Boardman, Ore., 97818.

Following the comment period, the Navy will issue a final environmental impact statement, potentially incorporating responses to public input. After a 30-day waiting period, the Navy will issue a record of decision, the availability of which would be made public through a notice in the Federal Register. The FAA would then conduct an aeronautical study which the public would have an additional opportunity to address the proposal.

Comments may be submitted on the DEIS by Nov. 6 at the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman website, or by mail to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest Attention: Mrs. Amy Burt--NWSTF Boardman EIS Project Manager, 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203 Silverdale, WA 98315-1101.

Please share your comments with AOPA.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.