Navy Seeks Input on Ocean Training, Testing Activities

The Navy has published a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register to prepare an Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) to evaluate potential environmental effects associated with training and testing activities in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, the lower Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Navy is initiating the scoping process to identify community concerns and issues for analysis. As part of the public participation process, the Navy has planned meetings to obtain input on the scope of the EIS.

The AFTT region covers approximately 2.6 million square nautical miles and encompasses the at-sea portions of Navy range complexes and research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) ranges along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. With the exception of the lower Chesapeake Bay, inland waters and land-based portions of these range complexes and RDT&E ranges are not a part of the AFTT region and will not be analyzed. Piers and channels at existing Navy ports, Navy shipyards and contractor shipyards in the AFTT region where Navy ship and submarine sonar maintenance and testing occur are also included.

The public is encouraged to attend the Navy's open-house style scoping meetings for additional information. There will be no formal presentation; however, Navy experts will be on hand to answer questions about the proposed action and general inquiries about the NEPA process.

All written comments must be postmarked or received during the comment period to be considered in the Draft EIS/OEIS process. Written comments must be postmarked by Sept. 14 and mailed to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, ATTN: AFTT EIS/OEIS PM - Code EV22LL, 6506 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23508-1278.

Comments may also be submitted online at www.AFTTEIS.com or at the meetings being held from 4 to 8 p.m. on:

Aug. 23, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, Mass.;
Aug. 25, Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St., Virginia Beach, Va.;
Aug. 26, Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City, N.C.;
Aug. 31, The Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, 1000 Water St., Jacksonville, Fla.; and
Sept. 1, Gulf Coast Community College, 5230 West Highway 98, Panama City, Fla.

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