The United States Navy will be holding a open house public meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Homebasing of the F-35. NAF El Centro is one of two air bases being considered.
There will be a meeting on Thursday at Southwest High School in the multipurpose room from 5:00pm – 8:00pm.
The Navy urges public comments to help arrive at the best possible informed decision about the proposal. Comments may be submitted during the 60-day public comment period between February 15 and April 22, 2013.
The U.S. Navy has released to the public a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a Draft General Air Conformity Determination to evaluate the potential environmental effects that may result from home basing the Navy F-35C (Joint Strike Fighter) at either Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, Calif., or Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California
The Navy’s fleet of aging FA-18C Hornet aircraft is approaching the end of its operational service life and must be progressively replaced in an efficient, economical and orderly manner consistent with national security needs. The F-35C has been developed as the Navy’s next strike-fighter aircraft as a replacement to FA-18C Hornet.
Beginning in 2016, seven Navy Pacific Fleet FA-18 squadrons (70 total aircraft) currently based at NAS Lemoore would progressively transition to the new F-
35C aircraft, with the transition to be complete by 2028. In the 2017 timeframe, the west coast F-35C training squadron (also known as Fleet Replacement Squadron or FRS), consisting of approximately 30 aircraft, will be established to meet the requirements for training Navy pilots. Many locations were considered for home basing, but after an initial screening of geographic location, airfield characteristics and compatibility of the Navy F-35C with existing missions, the Navy chose two potential West Coast basing alternatives, basing seven Navy F-
35C squadrons plus the training squadron
(100 total aircraft) at either NAS Lemoore or NAF El Centro. Although both alternatives are considered viable the Navy has identified NAS Lemoore as the preferred alternative in this DEIS.
No basing decisions have yet been made. Following public comment on the DEIS and the publication of the Final EIS, the Secretary of the Navy or his designee will publish a Record of Decision outlining the basing decision.
The DEIS evaluates consequences of the proposed action including associated construction and local training range usage, and analyzes potential effects to air quality, noise environment, land use, socioeconomics, infrastructure and community services, natural resources, biological resources, cultural and historic resources, safety and environmental hazards.
The DEIS and Draft General Air Conformity Determination have been made available for review and comment for 60 days. Anyone who requests a copy of the EIS will receive a CD copy in the mail. Electronic copies of these documents can be accessed on the project website (www.navyf35cwestcoasteis.com).