NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of the Navy (Navy), working in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with a proposed military training airspace extension in northeastern Washington state.
The Proposed Action would establish new military training airspace by the FAA adjacent to and west of existing military training airspace and would redistribute where current training flights occur within the overall airspace. The Navy encourages your participation in the environmental review process, writes Mike Welding, Public Affairs Officer with Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
The Navy is proposing the establishment of new military training airspace by the FAA in northeastern Washington state adjacent to and west of existing military training airspace, to be identified as the Okanogan D Military Operations Area (MOA) and the overlying Mazama Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace (ATCAA). The Okanogan D MOA would have a lower altitude limit (floor) of 11,500 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) and an upper altitude limit (ceiling) of 18,000 feet MSL. The Mazama ATCAA would be directly above the Okanogan D MOA, extending from 18,000 feet up to 25,000 feet MSL. The total area of the airspace extension would be approximately 393 square nautical miles. The proposal does not include an increase in the number of flights, only an extension of the horizontal and vertical area and a minor redistribution of where training flights occur within the overall airspace.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to enhance the training and operational readiness of aircrews by maintaining skills, providing the ability to accommodate future training requirements and maximizing training opportunities. The proposed airspace extension would help alleviate substantial impacts from the loss of a portion of military training airspace the FAA removed in 2020 to address civilian air traffic safety requirements. This action is needed to further the Navy’s implementation of its congressionally mandated roles and responsibilities, says the press release.
The EA includes an analysis of potential environmental impacts associated with two action alternatives and a No Action Alternative. The environmental resource areas analyzed in the EA include air quality; biological resources; cultural resources; American Indian traditional resources; public health and safety; and socioeconomics, environmental justice, and children’s environmental health and safety risk. For more information about the Proposed Action, alternatives, and environmental impact analysis, visit https://pacific.navfac.navy.mil/NWNEPA.
The Draft EA, maps, and supporting documents are available at https://pacific.navfac.navy.mil/NWNEPA and at the following libraries:
- Okanogan Public Library, 228 Pine St., Okanogan, WA 98840
- Twisp Public Library, 201 Methow Valley Highway #1, Twisp, WA 98856
- Colville Public Library, 195 S. Oak St., Colville, WA 99114
- Oroville Public Library, 1276 Main St., Oroville, WA 98844
- Oak Harbor Public Library, 1000 SE Regatta Drive, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Virtual Public Meetings
The Navy is holding two virtual public meetings, consisting of a presentation by the Navy and a question-and-answer session, to inform the public about the Proposed Action and environmental impact analysis. Visit https://pacific.navfac.navy.mil/NWNEPA to learn more about the virtual public meetings. An audio-only option will also be available. The virtual public meetings will be held:
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Webinar ID: 161 128 4707
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Webinar ID: 161 663 8848
Substantive questions for discussion with Navy representatives at the virtual public meetings can be submitted in advance via email between Feb. 1 and Feb. 12, 2024, to
NASWIPAO@us.navy.mil. Public comments for the official record must be submitted by mail or email; they will not be accepted at the virtual public meetings.
Public Commenting Information
The Navy invites the public to review the Draft EA and welcomes your substantive comments on the accuracy and adequacy of the environmental impact analysis. Comments must be postmarked or received electronically by 11:59 p.m. PST on Feb. 23, 2024, for consideration in the Final EA. Comments may be submitted by email to navfac-nw-NEPA@us.navy.mil or via postal mail to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Northwest, Attention: Code EV23, 1101 Tautog Circle, Silverdale, WA 98315.
This public involvement effort will support consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and its implementing regulations at 36 Code of Federal Regulations part 800 – Protection of Historic Properties, as members of the public are invited to participate, provide comments, or raise concerns. If you are interested in becoming a consulting party, please provide your name, organization, and email address in your comment and request information about the NHPA Section 106 consultation process.
The Navy asks the public to help it inform the community about the availability of the Draft EA by sharing this information.