Lt Katie Cousins Chief, Public Affairs Altus Air Force Base
November 5, 2013
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is holding public hearings to invite public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the KC-46A Formal Training Unit (FTU) and First Main Operating Base (MOB 1) Beddown. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the USAF has prepared the environmental study in the form of a Draft EIS, which is currently available for public review and comment. The hearing venues will open at 5:00 P.M. The hearings will start with a USAF presentation and an opportunity for public testimony before a hearing officer and a court reporter. Written comments will also be accepted.
The Preferred Alternative for the FTU is Altus Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma. The Preferred Alternative for the MOB 1 is McConnell AFB in Kansas. McConnell AFB was also evaluated as an alternative for the FTU scenario and Altus, Fairchild, and Grand Forks AFBs were evaluated as alternatives for the MOB 1 scenario. No base would be selected to host both the FTU and MOB 1 scenarios. Along with the No Action Alternative, these alternatives were fully evaluated in the Draft EIS. The FTU squadron will consist of up to eight KC-46A aircraft with a mission to train personnel to safely and effectively fly and operate the KC-46A aircraft. The MOB 1 will consist of 36 KC-46A aircraft with a mission to provide worldwide refueling, cargo, or aeromedical evacuation support. The KC-46A mission could be an additive or replacement mission depending on where the aircraft is located. In addition, the USAF would use auxiliary airfields in the vicinity of the bases proposed for the FTU scenario.
The KC-46A aircraft will replace a portion of the aging KC-135 fleet which have been the USAF’s primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency, and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.
Pursuant to NEPA, the USAF Draft EIS analyzes the potential environmental consequences associated with basing the KC-46A at each FTU and MOB 1 alternative base. A no-action alternative, which would not beddown KC-46A aircraft at any base, is also examined. More information can be obtained from the project web site at www.KC-46A-beddown.com.
The USAF is soliciting comments on the Draft EIS from interested members of the public as well as interested federal, state, and local agencies and others. Public input is vital in supporting the USAF in making informed decisions, and no action will be taken until after a Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) are completed. The USAF will hold public hearings to provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the proposal and to provide input.
The public hearing venues will open at 5 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., the hearing will start with a USAF presentation, followed by formal public testimony beginning at approximately 6:15 p.m. All members of the public are invited. Public comments are encouraged. Public input supports the USAF in making more informed decisions. The hearing at Altus AFB is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Southwest Technology Center, 711 W. Tamarack Road in Altus.
During the presentation, the USAF will describe the proposed action and alternatives, the purpose and reasoning behind the proposed KC-46A FTU and MOB 1 beddown, the NEPA process, and summarize the Draft Environmental Impact Statement findings. The public comment period will then begin; oral public comments will be transcribed by a court reporter. The Draft EIS is available for download from the following website: www.KC-46A-beddown.com and may be reviewed in hard copy format at the following libraries:
Altus Public Library, 421 N. Hudson Street; Lawton Public Library, 110 SW 4th Street; Altus AFB Library, 109 E Avenue, Bldg. 65, Altus AFB; Amarillo Public Library, 413 SE 4th Ave, Amarillo, Texas; Western Plains Library System, Clinton; Mahon Public Library, 1306 9th St. Lubbock, Texas; Summerglen Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas; and the FTU Mission Auxiliary Airfield Location Library.
Comments on the Draft EIS can be submitted electronically at www.KC-46A-beddown.com, orally or in writing at public hearings, or by providing written comments to the contact information listed below. As a convenience for those sending comments by mail, a comment form is available on the website to help expedite your submission. Although comments will be accepted throughout the Draft EIS review period, to ensure consideration in the Final EIS, public input must be received by Dec. 9. People wishing to mail comments or obtain further information should send them to:
Ms. Jean Reynolds United States Air Force, AFCEC/CZN 2261 Hughes Avenue, Suite 155, JBSA Lackland, TX 78236-9853