The United States (U.S.) Department of the Navy (Navy) is proposing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to address current mission objectives, routine pier-side maintenance activities and proposed electrical shoreside power infrastructure, which may result in three aircraft carriers being in port at the same time at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island for more intermittent, nonconsecutive days per year than analyzed in previous National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents. The Navy previously studied the impacts associated with three aircraft carriers at NAS North Island in 1999 and 2008. The 1999 Environmental Impact Statement anticipated a need for three aircraft carriers to be in port simultaneously for 13 days per year. By the time of the 2008 SEIS, the anticipated need had changed to 29 days per year. That estimate has again changed due to current mission requirements and a SEIS is required to address this change.
Because of the number of variables involved with predicting aircraft carrier berthing requirements, the Navy plans to analyze the impacts of an anticipated need for three aircraft carriers to be in port simultaneously for an average of 180 intermittent, nonconsecutive days per year. Although it is considered unlikely that this 180-day scenario would ever occur, the Navy has chosen a conservative average number of intermittent, nonconsecutive days per year in order to ensure a “hard look” at the potential impacts of this ongoing project.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to meet the Navy’s mission requirement to support its West Coast fleet and to maintain military readiness of naval forces for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea to meet the needs of war, now and into the future, consistent with Title 10, Section 8062, of the United States Code.
The Proposed Action is needed because (1) aircraft carrier capable berths at NAS North Island do not currently have the capability to support the Navy’s next generation aircraft carriers (FORD-Class), and (2) current mission objectives, which include operational, deployment, and maintenance schedules, may result in three aircraft carriers being in port at NAS North Island at the same time for more intermittent, nonconsecutive days per year than previously analyzed. The presence of three aircraft carriers may include all three NAS North Island-homeported aircraft carriers or two NAS North Island-homeported aircraft carriers and one transient aircraft carrier. Transient FORD-Class aircraft carriers may berth at NAS North Island once deployed on the West Coast.
Preliminary Environmental Resources to be Studied
The Navy has identified the following key resources for analysis due to anticipated changes since the 2008 study:
- Air Quality
- Environmental Justice
The Navy also plans to review impacts to the following resource areas:
- Biological Resources
- Cultural Resources
- Geology and Soils
- Hazardous Materials and Waste
- Land Use
- Public Health and Safety
- Visual Resources
- Water Resources
The Navy will present the findings of the environmental study in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, anticipated to be available for public review in summer 2024.