UPOLU, Hawaii: It appears Upolu Airport has been spared from being used for Marine helicopter training, according to the final Environmental Impact Statement published in the Federal Registar.
The Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps wants to conduct training in Hawaii with up to 2 Marine Medium Tiltrotor squadrons with a total of 24 MV-22 aircraft, and one Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadron composed of 15 AH-1 and 12 UH-1 helicopters.
Pohakuloa Training Area remains on the list in the final EIS. However Upolu Airport, which was on the list in the draft EIS, is not mentioned in the final document.
Many members of the North Kohala community voiced their disapproval of the training at Upolu during a public hearing in Waimea about the training plans.
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay – In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Department of the Navy, on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps, has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that evaluates environmental consequences that may result from the basing and statewide training of MV-22 tiltrotor Osprey and H-1 Cobra and Huey attack/utility helicopter squadrons in support of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force elements in Hawaii. The Department of the Army is a cooperating agency.
Publication of the Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register on June 8, 2012, initiated a 30-day waiting period. Council on Environmental Quality regulations provide for this waiting period after a Final EIS is published before the proponent may take final action. Agencies and other interested parties may submit comments on the FEIS during this period. The Final EIS is available on the internet at http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/mv22h1eis/index.html and at public libraries listed on the mentioned website.
Written comments on the Final EIS must be postmarked or received online by July 11, 2012, to ensure they become part of the official record. Mailed comments may be submitted to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific
258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100
Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134
Attn: EV21, MV-22/H-1 EIS Project Manager
Approximately 1,000 active duty personnel, 20 civilian personnel, and 1,100 dependents would be associated with the new squadrons. As a result of a systematic analysis to identify possible basing locations, only Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii Kaneohe Bay met all requirements, and the alternatives evaluated in the EIS are facility siting alternatives at that installation.
The facility siting alternatives include Alternative A, which proposes all facilities on the southeast side of the MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay runway, and Alternative B, which proposes MV-22 facilities on the northwest side of the runway at West Field. In Alternative B, a runway underpass would provide access to West Field.
New bachelor enlisted quarters would be developed in each alternative, with different options for demolition and new construction between alternatives.
Construction is proposed to improve existing facilities at three training areas: Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on the island of Oahu, Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii, and Molokai Training Support Facility.
Aviation training activities would be identical in Alternatives A and B.
The No Action Alternative provides a benchmark to evaluate environmental consequences of the proposed action alternatives. Under No Action, the squadrons would not be based in Hawaii and no facilities would be constructed to support them.
SOURCE: Public Affairs Office, Marine Corps Base Hawaii