Notice of Availability for the Supplement to the Gulf of Alaska Navy Training Activities Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement

CourtNavy Department
Citation87 FR 15414
Published date18 March 2022
Record Number2022-05655
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 53 (Friday, March 18, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 53 (Friday, March 18, 2022)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 15414-15415]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2022-05655]
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                DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
                Department of the Navy
                Notice of Availability for the Supplement to the Gulf of Alaska
                Navy Training Activities Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact
                Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement
                AGENCY: Department of the Navy (DoN), Department of Defense (DoD).
                ACTION: Notice.
                -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                SUMMARY: The Department of the Navy (DoN) has prepared and filed with
                the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a supplement to the
                December 2020 Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Navy Training Activities Draft
                Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Overseas
                Environmental Impact Statement (OEIS). This supplement to the Draft
                Supplemental EIS/OEIS will address a change in the Study Area and the
                addition of a new Continental Shelf and Slope Mitigation Area.
                DATES: The supplement to the Draft Supplemental EIS public review
                period will begin March 18, 2022, and end on May 2, 2022. Comments may
                be submitted by U.S. mail or electronically via the project website as
                detailed below.
                ADDRESSES: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest, Attention:
                GOA Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager, 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite
                203, Silverdale, Washington 98315-1101, [email protected].
                 Written comments can be submitted via the electronic comment form
                at http://www.GOAEIS.com or by mailing them to: Naval Facilities
                Engineering Systems Command Northwest, Attention: GOA Supplemental EIS/
                OEIS Project Manager, 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203, Silverdale, WA
                98315-1101. All comments must be received or postmarked by May 2, 2022,
                to ensure they become part of the official record.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With the filing of the supplement to the
                Draft
                [[Page 15415]]
                Supplemental EIS/OEIS, the DoN is initiating a 45-day public comment
                period. Federal, state, and local agencies and interested parties are
                encouraged to provide written comments on the supplement to the Draft
                Supplemental EIS anytime during the public comment period. This notice
                announces the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft
                Supplemental EIS, and provides supplementary information about the
                environmental planning effort.
                 All comments submitted during the public review period will become
                part of the public record and will be responded to in the Final
                Supplemental EIS/OEIS. All public comments received during the Draft
                Supplemental EIS/OEIS comment period (December 11, 2020, through
                February 16, 2021) are still valid and will be considered in the Final
                Supplemental EIS/OEIS for this action. Previously submitted comments
                need not be resubmitted.
                 Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the NEPA, regulations implemented
                by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and
                Presidential Executive Order 12114, the DoN announced its intent to
                prepare a supplement to the 2011 GOA Navy Training Activities EIS/OEIS
                and 2016 GOA Navy Training Activities Supplemental EIS/OEIS in the
                Federal Register (FR) on February 10, 2020 (85 FR 7538), and invited
                the public to comment on the scope of the Supplemental EIS/OEIS. A
                Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS was subsequently released on December 11,
                2020 (85 FR 80093), in which the potential environmental effects
                associated with military readiness training activities conducted within
                the GOA Study Area were evaluated.
                 Since the release of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS on December
                11, 2020, the DoN recognized that the size and shape of the Temporary
                Maritime Activities Area (TMAA) in the Gulf of Alaska no longer
                provides sufficient space for the realistic maneuvering of vessels and
                aircraft during training exercises. The DoN announced its intent to
                prepare a supplement to the December 2020 GOA Navy Training Activities
                Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS on February 1, 2022 (87 FR 5472). Proposed
                changes to the Study Area include additional airspace and sea space to
                the west and south of the TMAA. The area is referred to as the Western
                Maneuver Area and adds approximately 185,806 square nautical miles to
                the Study Area. This additional space would enable Navy personnel and
                units to practice more realistic, complex training scenarios in a
                safer, more efficient manner that would better prepare them to respond
                to real-world incidents. The TMAA (approximately 42,146 square nautical
                miles) would remain unchanged and any activities involving active sonar
                or explosives would, as in the past, occur in this area only. The DoN
                is not proposing new or increased number of training activities in the
                Western Maneuver Area, only an expansion of the area the Navy may use
                for vessel and aircraft maneuvering purposes during exercises. The
                number of vessels, aircraft, underway steaming hours, events, and
                flight times remains the same. Although the Study Area has expanded,
                the conclusions regarding potential impacts have not significantly
                changed from the 2020 Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
                 In direct response to agency, tribal, and public comments, the DoN
                also proposes implementing a new mitigation area within the continental
                shelf and slope area of the TMAA (approximately 14,600 square nautical
                miles). The DoN would expand its mitigation measures for explosives
                detonated at or near the surface and prohibit the use of explosives
                during training (up to 10,000 feet altitude) in areas of less than
                4,000 meter depth to protect marine species and biologically important
                habitat. The DoN anticipates the implementation of the proposed
                mitigation area would reduce impacts on marine mammals, fish, and
                marine birds.
                 Dated: March 14, 2022.
                J.M. Pike,
                Commander, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register
                Liaison Officer.
                [FR Doc. 2022-05655 Filed 3-17-22; 8:45 am]
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