NORFOLK, Va. , –
A notice of intent will be published in the Federal Register Jan. 28 announcing the Navy's intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will evaluate the potential environmental effects associated with basing the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft on the West Coast of the United States.
Under this proposal, a total of seven active-duty F/A-18C Hornet squadrons and one fleet replacement squadron (FRS), a total of 100 aircraft, will progressively transition from the F/A-18C Hornet aircraft to the more advanced F-35C JSF beginning in 2015.
This transition will occur as a one-for-one replacement.
During the initial planning process to identify suitable home base locations for the F-35C, the Navy evaluated 134 Department of Defense installations against the operational and facilities requirements necessary to support the homebasing of the F-35C. The preliminary screening process identified two potentially suitable West Coast home basing locations: Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, located in Kings County, Calif., and Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, located in Imperial County, Calif.
In order to maximize efficiency of support facilities, simulation devices and on-site support personnel, the Navy intends to base all its West Coast F-35C aircraft at one location. Accordingly, initial alternatives to be considered in the U.S. Navy F-35C West Coast EIS are basing seven F-35C fleet squadrons and one F-35C FRS at either NAS Lemoore or NAF El Centro. Additionally, a no action alternative will be evaluated at each of the potential homebase locations to provide a baseline for comparison and analysis of the environmental consequences associated with the basing alternatives.
The Navy is initiating the scoping process to identify community concerns and local issues that will be addressed in the EIS. As part of the EIS public participation process, the Navy plans to hold scoping meetings in February 2011 to obtain public input on the scope of the EIS.
Scoping meetings will be held on the following days, at the following locations:
1. Feb. 15 at the Southwest High School, 2001 Ocotillo Drive, El Centro, Calif., 92243 (located in Imperial County, Calif.)
2. Feb. 17 at Lemoore Senior Center - Gene Stebbins Building, 789 S Lemoore Avenue (S 18th Avenue), Lemoore, Calif. (located in Kings County, Calif.)
Each meeting will occur from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The meetings will be conducted using an open house format with informational displays and materials available for public review. The primary purpose of scoping is to provide the public an opportunity to submit comments on environmental concerns that should be addressed in the U.S. Navy F-35C West Coast homebasing EIS. Although many details regarding this basing effort can only be determined after thorough analysis, Navy staff will be present at these open houses to answer general questions on the homebasing action and the EIS process.
Comments may be submitted electronically at the project website, www.navyf35cwestcoasteis.com, or through the mail by sending them to:
U.S. Navy F-35C West Coast Homebasing EIS Project Manager; Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Attn: Code EV21.AK, 1220 Pacific Highway, Bldg. 1, San Diego, Calif., 92132.