DEIS Virtual Public Hearing for Moody AFB Airspace modifications 2020-10-29

Monday we got a paper letter about a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a DEIS for a Moody Air Force Base Comprehensive Airspace Initiative. There was a Public Scoping Period that ended in January; I don’t recall WWALS being invited to that.

[Georgia and Florida airspace and floors]
Georgia and Florida airspace and floors

However, public comments will be accepted through November 24, 2020; see below for how. Plus there is a Virtual Public Hearing on October 29.

The gist of the DEIS seems to be “optimizing the airspace would result in the redistribution of aircraft operations from existing low-altitude Special Use Airspace to new low-altitude MOAs.” In addition to adding some areas, Moody AFB also wants a 1,000-foot floor and 4,000-foot ceiling.

They already have a floor of 100 feet southeast of Moody to the state line and 500 feet northeast, including over Banks Lake. For years they have flown over my house barely 100 feet up.

I’m not complaining. As everyone knows, Moody AFB is by far the largest employer in the Suwannee River Basin. Yet there are some things we would like to know.

[Proposed Airspace]
Proposed Airspace

The maps would have us believe Moody stops flying precisely at the GA-FL line. However, the cover letter and the DEIS itself say: “The Moody Airspace Complex, located above 28 counties in south Georgia and north Florida…”.

Also, on page A-37 of the DEIS, the Air Force responded to an inquiry from the Cherokee Nation: “Please find attached a brochure as well as a figure which shows the lateral extent of the proposed air space over Georgia and parts of Florida. The brochure briefly explains the proposed action. It should be noted that the lateral extent is unchanged from what is currently approved. The proposal would create new air space, usable for military training, below the existing airspace.”

I suppose the DEIS is only changing the floors in the Georgia airspace.

But I have a question already: will the DEIS tell us whether Moody ever found those bombs it dropped near Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River last summer? Remember, the ones that were covered by WCTV and People Magazine, yet Moody never seems to have said whether those dummy bombs with their pyrotechnics are still out there?

[BDU-33, 22.5 inches long, blue, 25 pounds, do not handle]
Photo: Moody AFB: “The BDU-33 is a 25-pound training munition used to simulate the M1a-82 500-pound bomb. It is approximately 22 and a half inches long and is blue in color. Although the training munition is inert, it is equipped with a small pyrotechnic charge and should not be handled.”

What about the other items we have credible reports that Moody AFB dropped on lands in the Suwannee River Basin? Could we find out about those things?

Here’s a more realistic map, which was produced by the Air Force back in 2000, but does not seem to be included in the DEIS:

[Affected Airspace]

Figure 3.1-1, Affected Airspace, page 3-6, Chapter 3.0 Affected Environment, in Final Environmental Assessment Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS)/T-6A Beddown Moody AFB, Georgia, March 2000.

Virtual Public Hearing

When: 5:30 – 8:00 PM, Thursday, October 29, 2020

Where: Pre-register and join online: https://bit.ly/2AhNacI
Telephone: 844-992-4726
Meeting Number: 126 002 0391 (press # if prompted at dial-in)
Event Password: moodyafb (when accessing online or via the Webex App)
Technical Support: 866-779-3239
more information

[5:30-8 PM, Thursday, October 29, 2020]
5:30-8 PM, Thursday, October 29, 2020
PDF

Moody AFB has more posted on its website under https://moodyafbairspaceeis.com/ including the entire DEIS with associated materials.

[Anticipated Timeline]
Anticipated Timeline

Public Comments

To comment, you do not have to attend the Virtual Public Hearing. You can comment through November 24, 2020, using Moody’s a comment form. Or you can send in comments via email to 23wg.pa@us.af.mil or on paper to:

AFCEC/CZN
Attn: Moody AFB Comprehensive Airspace Initiative
2261 Hughes Avenue, Suite 155
JBSA Lackland, TX 78236-9853

The DEIS has been noted in the Federal Register, page 60458, Vol. 85, No. 187 / Friday, September 25, 2020 / Notices, tucked in among others for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, two more Air Force Bases, Rulemaking for Alaska Roadless Areas, a canal, and Plutonium Pit Production at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[ER–FRL–9053–1]

Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability

Responsible Agency: Office of Federal Activities, General Information 202–564–5632 or https://www.epa.gov/nepa.

Weekly receipt of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)

Filed September 14, 2020 10 a.m. EST Through September 21, 2020 10 a.m. EST

Pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.9.
Notice: Section 309(a) of the Clean Air Act requires that EPA make public its comments on EISs issued by other Federal agencies. EPA’s comment letters on EISs are available at: https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

[…]

EIS No. 20200189, Draft, USAF, GA, Moody Air Force Base Comprehensive Airspace Initiative, Comment Period Ends: 11/24/2020, Contact: Lorence Busker 229–257–2396.

Maybe you’d like to attend the Virtual Hearing, or send in a comment.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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