Press release: Cannon LATN environmental assessment released

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW FOR CANNON LOW ALTITUDE TRAINING PROPOSAL

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – A draft Environmental Assessment analyzing establishment of a low altitude training area in portions of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for the 27th Special Operations Wing is available for download on the Cannon Air Force Base website, www.cannon.af.mil/library/environment.asp. As always, the 27 SOW welcomes public feedback.

The U.S. Air Force is a conscientious steward of the natural environment and is committed to considering environmental impacts when planning future activities and minimizing them where practicable. The Air Force is also committed to meeting the requirements of Federal law and regulations which require incorporation of such analyses into decision-making processes. We have refined the area presented to the public for scoping prior to launching the formal environmental assessment in a diligent effort to balance vital training requirements with concern for the community and tribal interests that might be affected.

The draft environmental assessment with the updated training area will be available for review and comment throughout the 60-day public comment period, September 7 through November 5, 2011.

The draft environmental assessment analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the 27 SOW’s proposal to conduct low-level flights in MC-130J and CV-22 special operations aircraft.

The proposed training area will enable the Air Force to better manage its flying operations and the impact they may have on communities and culturally sensitive areas. The updated proposal eliminated many populated areas and was selected because of its varied topography and weather as well as its, proximity to Cannon AFB. The mountainous terrain in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico would provide realistic training to special operations aircrews preparing for worldwide deployment.

This notification is pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA, and the Air Force Environmental Impact Analysis Process implementing regulation. The EA analyzes the environmental impacts from the proposed action and a no action alternative. A final EA could be published by the middle of December; however, the Air Force is committed to making the best, informed decision, so it will take the time necessary to properly complete the planning process.