Mountain Home Air Force Base gathers information for proposed urban close air support training spaces for environmental assessment
By Senior Airman Citiyah Burton, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 23, 2018
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Civil Engineer Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base is in the process of gathering information to conduct an environmental assessment for air and ground training spaces in urban areas located throughout Idaho.
Training in urban areas allows MHAFB aircrew to experience conditions similar to those faced in combat.
“Proposals of this nature require the base to conduct thorough research and review through a multi-step process that begins with drafting the Description of the Proposed Action and Alternatives and eventually will lead to an environmental assessment,” said Sheri Robertson, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental chief.
The assessment is done in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The NEPA is an environmental law that requires all federal agencies to assess possible environmental impacts that may result from a proposed action.
To ensure all federal requirements outlined in the NEPA are met, the Air Force created the Environmental Impact Analysis Process as a guideline for bases to follow.
Air Force Policy Directive 32-70, Environmental Quality, mandates that the Air Force complies with applicable federal, state and local environmental regulations and standards for environmental stewardship.
Due to the nature of the proposed urban close air support training, the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron saw fit to begin the EIAP. Public involvement is a part of the process.
“Notification, review, and input from relevant agencies inside and outside the Air Force, as well as from other stakeholders, federally recognized tribes and members of the community are essential in the NEPA-decision making process,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Ogden, 366th Fighter Wing assistant judge advocate. “This collaboration ensures that all possible issues have been considered and addressed as necessary.”
To help inform and educate the public of the proposed action and NEPA process, MHAFB decided to conduct community scoping meetings in Mountain Home, Eagle, Meridian, Boise and other urban areas.
In order to allow more time to re-evaluate the drafted Description of the Proposed Action and Alternatives, some of the original meetings were postponed. The rescheduled scoping meetings will take place starting April 12.
Though this is not a federal requirement, the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron wants patrons to have the opportunity to voice their opinions.
“The scoping meeting is really to get a pulse or an understanding of what additional concerns there could be,” said Robertson. “Public commenting allows the Air Force to make better, informed decisions.”
Submitted comments received during the meetings will be compiled for review.
For more information in the environmental assessment process, visit https://www.epa.gov/nepa/national-environmental-policy-act-review-process.