Kauai public meeting slated Nov. 8 on Navy plans

LIHUE — The U.S. Navy has scheduled a public meeting on Kauai regarding its proposal for training and testing that includes the use of sonar and explosives.

The meeting is scheduled 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Kauai Veterans Center.

According to a press release, the Navy has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement to re-evaluate potential environmental impacts associated with ongoing military readiness activities, which include training and research, development, testing, and evaluation activities conducted within the Hawaii-Southern California training and testing areas.

The Navy previously completed an EIS/OEIS in December 2013 for training and testing activities occurring within the study areas from 2013 to 2018.

“This updated analysis will support future activities beginning in 2018,” the release said.

In this Draft EIS/OEIS, the Navy evaluates new, relevant information, such as more recent marine mammal density data and new scientific information and updates environmental analyses as appropriate.

The proposed action is to conduct Navy training and testing activities within the study area.

“These activities include the use of active sonar and explosives while employing marine species protective mitigation measures,” the release said.

Proposed training and testing activities are similar to the types of activities that have occurred in the study areas for decades, the release said.

The purpose of the proposed action is to maintain a ready force, which is needed to ensure the Navy can accomplish its mission “to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas.”

The Navy proposes to:

w Conduct training and testing activities at levels required to support Navy military readiness requirements beginning in 2018; and

w Accommodate evolving mission requirements, including those resulting from the development, testing, and introduction of new vessels, aircraft, and weapons systems into the fleet.

The study area consists of the at-sea areas off the coasts of Hawaii and Southern California.

The Navy is holding five public meetings, four on Hawaii and one in Southern California, to provide information and an opportunity for the public to comment on the Draft EIS/OEIS. Written and oral comments will be accepted.

The 60-day public comment period began Oct. 13 and ends Dec. 12. Comments may be submitted at www.HSTTEIS.com, at the public meetings, or by mail to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific, Attention: HSTT EIS/OEIS Project Manager, 258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100, Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134

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