Navy Training Public Comment Period Extended

December 31, 2018, 1:14 PM HST (Updated January 2, 2019, 6:02 AM)
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The public can comment on the Naval Special Operations Training State of Hawai‘i Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA). The Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) welcomes public comments, which must be postmarked or received online by Jan. 7, 2019, for consideration in the final EA.

The Draft EA is available for public review online and at the following public libraries: Hawai‘i State, Waimea, Kailua-Kona, Kahului and Moloka‘i.

The proposed training is essentially the same types of low-impact near-shore training Sailors have been conducting for decades around the Hawaiian Islands.

Key Elements of the Proposed Training

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NO shooting or explosions. None of the training proposed in the Draft EA involves shooting weapons or detonating explosives. Loaded weapons would be carried by service members only at federal locations en route to approved weapons ranges on military property.

Quiet equipment:

  • No amphibious assault craft or hovercraft would be used during the proposed training.
  • Unmanned aircraft systems (drones) would be flown only over federal property, and in accordance with a valid FAA Certificate of Authorization.
  • Submersibles as described in the Draft EA are small electric powered underwater craft similar in size to an automobile or small truck. These submersibles would not rest on coral reefs at any time, and sonars used in the submersibles are similar to commercially available fish finders.
  • Limited land and air use – In the areas near Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Maui, only water-based training is proposed; however, land-, air-, and water-based training is proposed on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i. Air-based training is limited to drop zones and landing zones located on federal property. The proposed training is designed to be non-invasive in nature with the intent to leave no trace during or after a training event.
  • Small footprint – The proposed training is designed to be non-invasive in nature with the intent to leave no trace during or after a training event. The number of service members involved in a training event is typically no more than a few dozen and may occasionally include three or four service members from other organizations.
  • Dispersed and infrequent events – Large coastal training areas on multiple islands were proposed in the Draft EA to provide diverse training environments and to analyze potential impacts to the environment. However, only very discreet sites within the proposed training areas would be used. Many of these discreet training sites would be used only one to two times per year, or may not be used at all, depending on specific training requirements.

The purpose of the proposed training is to build skills, experience, and confidence in our service members before deploying them around the globe. The proposed training challenges service members in a variety of warm weather locations with dynamic ocean condition, and teaches skills to avoid detection, with a goal of leaving no trace of their presence.

The comment period was originally scheduled to end Dec. 10, 2018, but was extended to allow additional time for public input. NSWC prepared the Draft EA to analyze for potential impacts of proposed training on the environment throughout the State of Hawai‘i.

Written comments may be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific
Attention: Project Manager, EV21.JZ
258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100
Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134

Only comments postmarked or received online by Jan. 7, 2019, will be considered in the final EA.

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