Navy plan up for review

LIHUE — Though the U.S. Navy recently announced it was moving forward with testing and training in the Hawaii-Southern California training area, the public still has a chance to weigh in on some other pending training.

There’s still a few days to send in comments on proposed special operations training, outlined in the Naval Special Operations Training State of Hawaii Draft Environmental Assessment — the deadline to submit comments is Jan. 7.

The proposal is to conduct small-unit land and maritime training activities for naval special operations personnel in the nearshore waters and land-based areas on Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

The comment period began Nov. 8 and had a deadline in December, but it’s been extended, according to the Navy’s press release about the draft EA

The release also states none of the training proposed 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,” the release states.

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 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,” the draft EA states.

The purpose of the training is to build skills, experience and confidence in service members before deployment.

On Dec. 27, the U.S. Navy announced it was moving forward with other testing and training activities, and that announcement was due to the periodic review of Navy training impacts on Hawaii waters. Public comment for that decision has already closed.

This is a different proposal — one specifically tailored to train personnel 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 Draft EA is available for public review online at bit.ly/2Gg5ghc

Written comments may be submitted by email to NFPAC-Receive@navy.mil or by mail to:

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

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