The U.S. Navy has released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on Hawaii-southern California training and testing and is inviting input from the public.
This morning on Wake Up 2day, Cory Scott and Julie Rivers from the Navy’s Pacific Fleet Command joined us in studio to talk about the EIS.
Scott says the EIS is an analysis of potential impacts on the environment from a major federal action.
“The Navy has produced a Draft Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing EIS to analyze the potential impacts from training and testing activities proposed to be conducted in the waters in this area,” says Scott. “The National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, requires federal agencies to conduct an environmental analysis of their activities, or a proposed action, before deciding whether to proceed with that action.”
The Navy has been conducting testing and training offshore of Hawaii and Southern California for decades. The activities covered in this EIS allow Sailors and Marines to train to respond to maritime security concerns, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at a moment’s notice. It also covers the testing of new systems and platforms or improved technologies, similar to those currently in use and previously analyzed.
Rivers says the Navy takes environmental stewardship seriously and routinely implements procedural mitigations like safe ship speeds, safety zones and posting lookouts to search for marine species.
“For this EIS we’ve also added more protection for marine mammals by proposing to reduce activities in some areas,” says Rivers. “We are required to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure compliance with federal laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.”
The draft EIS is now available for public review and comment on actions that may affect their community or the environment. The Navy has a website where the public can download the EIS and provide comments on the EIS. They can also attend one of the four public information meetings on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island during the week of November 6. The EIS is also available at most public libraries throughout Hawaii.
For more information on the meetings and how to submit comments and other information, visit www.hstteis.com.