Public Comment Open on Army Plan, Impact to Continue Training
The U.S. Army prepared a draft environmental impact statement regarding its proposed retention of up to approximately 23,000 acres of state-owned land to support continued military training at Pōhakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawai‘i.
Native Hawaiian organizations, federal, state, and local agencies and officials, and other interested organizations and individuals are encouraged to provide comments on the draft EIS during the 60-day public comment period April 8 through June 7.
The draft EIS is available for public review from the project website here.
It is also at four state libraries: Hawai‘i State Library; Hilo Public Library; Kailua-Kona Public Library; Thelma Parker Memorial Public and School Library.
To provide information on the document and to enhance the opportunity for public input, two in-person public meetings are currently scheduled to take place from 6-8 p.m. in two locations:
• April 25 at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center; 600 ʻImiloa Place, Hilo, HI 96720
• April 26 at Waimea District Park; Ala Ohia Road, Waimea, HI 96743
The Army will broadcast the meetings live on the U.S. Army Garrison Hawai‘i’s YouTube channel. More information regarding how to participate in Draft EIS public meetings and how to submit comments is available on the EIS website.
Written comments can be submitted throughout the 60-day comment period until 11:59 p.m. Hawaiʻi Standard Time on June 7 to be considered in the final EIS.
U.S. Mail: ATLR PTA EIS Comments
P.O. Box 3444, Honolulu, HI
The draft EIS evaluates the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of a range of reasonable alternatives.
These alternatives are: 1) full retention (of approximately 23,000 acres); 2) modified retention (of approximately 19,700 acres); 3) minimum retention and access (of approximately 10,100 acres and 11 miles of roads and training trails); and 4) no-action alternative (under which the lease lapses and the Army loses access to the land).
The draft EIS was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Hawai‘i Environmental Policy Act. A notice of availability, or NOA, has been published in the Federal Register to announce the start of the public comment period and the dates of public meetings, and to provide information on how the public can review and comment on the draft EIS. The NOA will also appear in the State Environmental Review Program’s publication, The Environmental Notice.
Pōhakuloa Training Area is located between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Hualālai on the island of Hawai‘i, PTA is the largest contiguous live-fire range and maneuver training area in Hawai‘i. Of the approximately 132,000 total acres at PTA, the Army leases around 23,000 acres from the state. The Army’s 65-year lease for the state-owned land is set to expire in August 2029.
The Army distributed the draft EIS to Native Hawaiian organizations, federal, state, and local agencies and officials, other key stakeholders, and local libraries. After the public comment period ends, written comments regarding the draft EIS will be reviewed and considered in preparing a final EIS.
For more information or accessibility requests, contact Mr. Michael Donnelly, public affairs officer, at [email protected] or at 808-656-3160.