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Air Force welcomes public input on proposed environmental action

Release Number: 080923

The Air Force is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the potential environmental consequences associated with the proposed beddown and flight operations of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

The proposal would restructure airspace in the vicinity of Grand Forks to allow for the safe training and operations of UASs.

These modifications would include establishing a restricted area above the base, converting a portion of the existing Tiger and Devils Lake Military Operations Areas to restricted airspace, expanding the Camp Grafton restricted area for the use of non-eye safe lasers, and creating restricted corridors to link the training areas with the base. The use of non-eye safe lasers at Camp Grafton would be contained within the existing boundaries of Camp Grafton using all appropriate safety measures designed. The airspace changes would allow UAS pilots to receive the training necessary to remain proficient in the operations of these aircraft.

Open communication is a critical element of the EIS process, and the Air Force will host four scoping meetings in communities underlying and/or adjacent to the proposed action to receive public and agency input on the proposed action and alternatives, as well as to gain a better understanding of the potential issues and concerns related to this proposal.

During the meetings, Air Force representatives will describe the proposed action and alternatives, explain the National Environmental Policy Act process, and, to the extent possible, answer questions about the proposal. Comments will be accepted throughout the environmental analysis process and will be used to help shape and refine the proposal and assist the Air Force in making informed decisions.

The schedule and locations of the open house scoping meetings are provided below. All meetings will begin at 4 p.m. and end at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend anytime within these hours and provide community-specific input at the scoping meetings. The Air Force will provide a presentation at 4:30 p.m.

- Oct. 6: Red River High School, Rider Room, 2211 17th Ave Grand Forks, N.D.
- Oct. 7: Lake Region State College, Chautauqua Gallery, 1801 College Dr. Devils Lake, N.D.
- Oct. 8: North Dakota State University, Langdon Research Extension Center, 9280 107th Ave NE, Langdon, N.D.
- Oct. 9: Carrington High School Common Area, 100 3rd Ave S, Carrington, N.D.

Additional information can be found on the project Web site at http://www.grandforksuaseis.com. All public input should be received by Nov. 21 to ensure inclusion in the draft EIS. People wishing to mail comments or provide further input should send them to: Mr. Doug Allbright, HQ AMC/A7PI, 507 Symington Drive, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, 62225.

Media Note: Interview opportunities with Air Force subject matter experts will be available to the news media 45-minutes prior to each scoping meeting. Interested media should bring valid photo identification and credentials. Air Force officials will be unable to provide interviews to media who do not arrive for the designated interview period or do not bring credentials. For general information, contact the Grand Forks AFB Public Affairs Office at 701-747-5015. For questions about UASs, contact Air combat Command (ACC) Public Affairs at (757)-764-5007.