SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – The U.S. Army announces the completion of the Final Environmental Impact Statement to construct and operate a modern Infantry Platoon Battle Course and associated infrastructure at Pōhakuloa Training Area, Hawaiʻi. The current battle course does not meet standard Army design criteria, and Congress provided $29 million in the Fiscal Year 2013 authorizations and appropriations bills to construct a new training facility.
The battle course would be used to train and test infantry platoons and other units on the skills necessary to conduct group tactical movement techniques. Soldiers would engage targets with small arms, machine guns, and other weapon systems as part of live-fire exercises. This includes air-ground integration where Soldiers maneuvering on the battle course can coordinate air support. The range would also be used for training with sub-caliber and/or laser training devices. This type of training is mission-essential and is required for Soldiers to be prepared to encounter threats during combat operations overseas.
The EIS presents two alternatives for siting and operating the battle course within the impact area at PTA: the Western Range Area, which is the preferred alternative; and Charlie’s Circle. The Draft Programmatic EIS analyzed a third alternative location for the battle course, southwest of Range 20; however, the U.S. Army has since determined that this location is not operationally feasible and eliminated the location from the Final EIS. The U.S. Army also considered not building the battle course, a No Action Alternative. For all alternatives, with the exception of No Action, the battle course would be used for 242 training days per year. The draft looked at other PTA projects and analysis of these projects has been deferred.
The U.S. Army identified and analyzed environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with the proposed battle course. The major potential environmental impacts are to air quality, cultural sites, and threatened and endangered species; encountering munitions and explosives of concern; and igniting wildfires. Significant impacts could occur to cultural resources. Avoidance and mitigation measures for cultural sites will be implemented to prevent or minimize impacts to identified cultural resources.
The Record of Decision will be published no sooner than 30 days from today’s publication of the notice of availability in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Record of Decision will include final mitigation measures the Army will adopt.
Comments on the EIS may be addressed to PTA EIS, P.O. Box 514, Honolulu, HI 96809 or emailed to USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil.
The EIS is available for download from the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii project website: www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta_peis. Printed copies are available upon request. Email USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil, call 1-855-846-3940, or write to P.O. Box 514, Honolulu, HI 96809, to request a copy.
Copies of the EIS are also available at the following libraries:
•Kailua-Kona Public Library, 75-138 Hualalai Road, Kailua-Kona, HI
•Hilo Public Library, 300 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI
•Thelma Parker Memorial Public and School Library, 67-1209 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI
•Hawai‘i State Library, 478 South King Street, Honolulu, HI
For questions about the EIS process, please visit the project website or contact the U.S. Army Environmental Command Public Affairs Office toll free at 1-855-846-3940.