The U.S. Department of the Navy has published its Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement for Navy Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing.
The goal of this EIS/OIS is to evaluate the potential environmental effects associated with continuing to conduct military readiness activities, which consist of training activities and research, development, testing, and evaluation activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area. The Study Area consists of sea space in and airspace over the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern coast of North America, portions of the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The AFTT Study Area begins seaward from the mean high water line and moves east to the 45 degree longitude line. The Study Area covers approximately 2.6 million square nautical miles of ocean area, including designated Navy operating areas, warning areas, select Navy pierside locations, and associated port transit channels.
In order to both achieve and maintain military readiness, the Navy proposes to:
- Conduct training and testing activities at levels required to support Navy military readiness requirements beginning in 2018 into the reasonably foreseeable future; and
- Accommodate evolving mission requirements associated with force structure changes, including those resulting from the development, testing, and ultimate introduction of new platforms (vessels, aircraft, and weapon systems) into the fleet; thereby ensuring critical Navy requirements are met.
As part of this process the Navy will seek to obtain authorization and permitting, as required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, respectively.
The Navy invites comments on the scope and content of the EIS/OEIS from all interested parties. Comments may be provided through the EIS/OEIS Web site at: http:// www.AFTTEIS.com no later than January 16, 2016.