Luke Forward F-35 Mission Update


F-35A Training Draft EIS Available Winter 2012

F-35 Mission Update: The United States Air Force issued the following revised schedule for the release of F-35 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). As indicated in the news release, the draft EIS has been deferred to December 2011/January 2012. The public comment period will follow the release of the draft EIS by 30-45 days. It is expected that the Record of Decision will likely come in Summer 2012.

Thank you for your continued support of the F-35 Mission and Luke AFB.

The U.S. Air Force is currently preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed establishment of an F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft Pilot Training Center at one or more of the following bases: Boise Air Terminal Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), Idaho; Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico; Luke AFB, Arizona (AZ); or Tucson International Airport AGS, AZ. The beddown is needed to train pilots and personnel to safely and effectively operate F-35A aircraft. All F-35A training is proposed to occur within existing military airspace and ranges in the vicinity of the proposed installations.

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Draft EIS analyzes potential impacts on the natural, cultural and human environment associated with changes in personnel, construction of facilities, and training activities in existing military airspace and ranges to support the proposed F-35A beddown. No location will be selected until after the EIS is complete.

The Air Force conducted public scoping meetings in early 2010 to identify community concerns and environmental issues to address in the EIS. Potential noise from the training was identified as a primary community and environmental concern. As a result of those concerns as well as ongoing testing and development of the F-35A, the Air Force conducted additional noise studies. The results of these noise studies are being incorporated into the Draft EIS. Therefore, the Draft EIS, originally thought to be available in 2010, will become available in the winter of 2012.

Following release of the Draft EIS, the Air Force will host public hearings to provide details on the Draft EIS analysis and ensure the public has a fair and equal opportunity to consider and comment on the document and the proposals. The public will have 45 days to comment on the analysis presented in the Draft EIS.

Once available, the Draft EIS date of availability, the dates and locations of public hearings, and the location of public libraries will be posted. The public will be able to download the document from this website or view it at a public library. Individuals who attended the scoping meetings held in early 2010 and requested a copy of the Draft EIS will be provided with a copy once it is available. All interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to attend the public hearings and to comment on the Draft EIS and analysis.

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