NTTR Military Land Withdrawal Legislative EIS Website - Frequently Asked Questions
The following frequently asked questions are related to the NTTR Military Land Withdrawal Legislative EIS.
Environmental Analysis
Q1. Why is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (or Legislative EIS) required and what are you proposing to do?
A1. NEPA is a law that requires the federal government to consider the environmental consequences of their actions before making a decision. An EIS is prepared when the project has the potential to have significant effects on the environment. The EIS process ensures the public has opportunities to comment and provide input on the decision-making process. The Air Force will consider public input before deciding which, if any, of the proposed or alternative actions to implement.

Decisions regarding military land withdrawals are at the discretion of Congress; therefore, a Legislative EIS (LEIS) is being prepared. The current NTTR land withdrawal expires in November 2021. In accordance with the Military Lands Withdrawal Act of 1999, the Air Force has notified Congress of a continuing military need for the NTTR withdrawal. Military land withdrawal applications have been prepared and submitted to Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The segregation of lands proposed for military withdrawal are addressed in a separate BLM Federal Register notice.

The Air Force LEIS supports Congressional decision-making for the proposed military land withdrawal and will be programmatic in nature, adding value by setting out a broad view of environmental impacts and alternatives for Congress to consider. Following Congressional action on the NTTR land withdrawal proposals, site specific proposals based on particular Department of Defense or Air Force defined needs for the range would be evaluated with the appropriate level of tiered or supplemental NEPA.

Q2. What is the EIS schedule?
A2. The Air Force issued a NOI to prepare a LEIS on August 25, 2016. The public scoping period started on August 25, 2016 and ends on December 10, 2016. After public scoping, the LEIS will be prepared and made available for public review in early 2018. Following the public review period, the LEIS will be revised considering public input and released as a Final LEIS in the summer of 2018. Congress is expected to make a decision on the action in late fall of 2021.
Q3a. How can I become involved?
A3a. You may participate in public scoping meetings, review and comment on the Draft LEIS, participate in the public hearings to be held from October 12-20, 2016 at locations surrounding the NTTR, and/or visit our website (http://www.nttrleis.com) to learn about the proposed and alternative actions and to review LEIS documents as they become available.
Q3b. When and where will public scoping meetings be held? How will scoping meetings be structured?
A3b. The Air Force plans to hold five public scoping meetings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., on the dates and at the locations listed below.
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016: Beatty Community Center, 100 A Avenue South, Beatty, NV 89003
  • Thursday, October 13, 2016: Tonopah Convention Center, 301 Brougher Avenue, Tonopah, NV 89049
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2016: Caliente Elementary School, 289 Lincoln Street, Caliente, NV 89008
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016: Pahranagat Valley High School, 151 S. Main Street, Alamo, NV 89001
  • Thursday, October 20, 2016: Aliante Hotel, 7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, NV 89084

The agenda for each scoping meeting is as follows:

  • 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Open House and comment submission
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Air Force Presentation
  • 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Open House and comment submission resumes
Q4. How can I make sure my comment is heard?
A4. Scoping comments may be submitted to the Air Force at the planned public scoping meetings and/or in writing. Comment cards will be located at the comment table at the public scoping meetings and hearings. You can also submit comments via the project website (http://www.nttrleis.com). Make sure you are specific when commenting. General comments such as "I am/am not in favor of this proposal" do not provide information for the Air Force to understand your concern. Tell us exactly what you are concerned about and why and if you have any suggested recommendations that you feel would improve the proposal or alternatives being considered.
Proposed Action
Q1a. What does the Air Force want to do?
A1a. The Air Force is looking for a solution to the military land withdrawal of the NTTR to improve the range capacity and capability to support military test and training requirements now and into the future. The LEIS will assess the potential environmental consequences of the proposal to extend the existing NTTR military land withdrawal beyond the current withdrawal expiration date. As part of the withdrawal extension, the Air Force proposes to continue military operations on the NTTR’s existing 2,949,603 acres of land. In addition to extending the existing land withdrawal, the Air Force is also proposing to withdraw up to an additional 301,507 acres to improve the range’s capacity to support military testing and training.

The alternatives being evaluated in the LEIS include: 1) extending the existing land withdrawal and management of the NTTR (Status Quo); 2) extending the existing land withdrawal and providing the Air Force with increased access for military activities in the South Range of the NTTR; 3) Alternative 1 or 2 and expanding the existing withdrawal by including up to 301,507 additional acres, via three sub-alternatives; 4) establishing the time period of the withdrawal as either 20 years, 50 years, or as an indefinite military withdrawal; and 5) the No Action alternative, which includes returning NTTR lands to the public domain, through the Department of the Interior. In addition to extending the existing land withdrawal, the Air Force is also proposing to withdraw up to an additional 301,507 acres to improve the range’s capacity to support military testing and training (see map).

Q1b. Why does the Air Force need to take action?
A1b. The current NTTR land withdrawal expires in November, 2021. NTTR is a unique national asset because the size and remoteness of the area enables military test and training activity that cannot be completed in other military training areas. It is one of the few locations in the US with large amounts of airspace for dedicated military operations. Maintaining and improving the capacity and capability of the range is critical to the nation’s defense. The range must be improved and modernized to support rapidly advancing technological capabilities. Proper pilot training also requires the Air Force to improve the range with more technologically advanced threat systems and air defenses to replicate highly sophisticated electronic countermeasures that are possessed by many modern militaries. Currently, 5th generation aircraft, like the F-35, represent 5% of the Air Force fighter fleet. These aircraft require an increased battlespace to properly employ advanced electronics. In the coming decade, the Air Force anticipates that 50% of its fighter fleet will be comprised of 5th generation aircraft. These aircraft require more sophisticated range infrastructure and greater numbers of advanced threats to replicate a realistic contemporary operating environment.
Q2. Who else is the Air Force talking to about this action?
A2. The Air Force has been discussing this topic with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM); the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW); the U.S. Department of Energy – including the Nevada National Security Site and the National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE); the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office; the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; as well as 16 federally and one non-federally recognized tribes for some time. BLM, USFWS, NDOW and DOE are cooperating agencies and are highly involved. Meetings, conference calls, and written communication occur with these agencies weekly, monthly, or as needed. The Air Force recognizes that there may be impacts to other stakeholders and will have dialogue with the appropriate Nevada state agencies as well as local counties and cities that may be impacted by the land withdrawal. The Air Force will also conduct government-to-government consultation with each of the federally recognized tribes potentially affected by the NTTR military land withdrawal.
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