Tucson Forward, Inc. is a non-profit Arizona corporation dedicated to advancing the safety and welfare of Tucson citizens, residents, and visitors. Our focus on is the environmental, safety, and health dangers caused by the expansion and increases of frequency and decibel levels in -- and encroachment on -- our urban communities by low altitude flight training at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Air National Guard located at the Tucson International Airport.
Those of you who have been following the Davis-Monthan AFB (DMAFB) Operation Snowbird Environmental Assessment (OSB EA) process can now see the final result, released today (spoiler alert, it came up FONSI). This means the 30-day clock for public comment has started ticking -- comments /MUST/ be emailed (or postmarked if sending hardcopy) by close of business Thu 23-OCT-2014.
Note that OSB is now called Total Force Training -- new name, same great taste! -- and, predictably, the EA is a beefy tome, available from DMAFB's website --http://www.dm.af.mil/library/tftea.asp -- in segments to keep bandwidth- choke to a dull roar:
* Draft: EA and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) --http://www.dm.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140922-049.pdf -- [~5.5MB, 142 pages, PDF format], searchable plus maps and other graphics.
* Appendix A: Public Notice and Scoping Material --http://www.dm.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140922-050.pdf -- [~17MB, 416 pages, PDF format], includes some scans (mailed comment letters, newspaper clippings) so is mostly but not entirely searchable.
* Appendix B: Air Quality Calculations --http://www.dm.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140922-051.pdf -- [~147KB, 32 pages, PDF format], last three pages (emissions inventories for baseline plus two alternatives) are scans of docs, rest is searchable.
* Appendix C: Noise Analysis --http://www.dm.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140922-052.pdf -- [~12.5MB, 128 pages, PDF format], almost all searchable and worth a look.
* Appendix D: Interagency/ Intergovernemental Coordination and Consultations --http://www.dm.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140922-053.pdf -- [~534KB, four pages, PDF format], scans of correspondence between DMAFB and the State Historic Preservation Office regarding possible impacts to historic properties.
As DMAFB's press release (below) states, hard copy is also available for review (not for check-out) at some local libraries.
URGENT MESSAGE OCT 14, 2014
The main purpose of this email is to notify you of just how important it is for every individual and every Neighborhood Association or other pertinent organization, to send the Air Force separate letters requesting public hearings and at least a 60 day extension for the public comment period on the recently released Environmental Assessment regarding increasing military over flights in Tucson's urban area. Attached is a sample letter.
Your city council and board of supervisors are not informing you about everything but one of the most important issues concerning the current Air Force-sponsored environmental assessment to radically increase military flights in Tucson and a crucial period for public comment which expires in a few days. The Arizona Daily Star under reports this side of the local air force issues while featuring DM authored propaganda because their major advertisers benefit financially from DM. The citizens, however, are paying the price through decreased well being, safety, water and air quality, and property values.
Tucson Forward, Inc., a local non-profit organization, recently conducted a survey of randomly selected 4000 households in areas affected by military training flights in Tucson. Preliminary results show that the people directly impacted by the Air Force decisions are nearly 80% opposed to any increases in frequency, hours, or noise levels of military flight training. Tucson Forward is still working on the analysis of this recently completed survey and will have the results out soon.
But for now, the top priority is that public hearings be held concerning this recent Environmental Assessment which has a FONSI (finding of no significant impact) if flights and noise levels are increased in Tucson as proposed. We also request at least a 60 day extension of the current 30 day comments period which is set to expire ON OCTOBER 23, 2014.
Due to selection of still a different baseline, a different scope, not to mention consistent violations of NEPA in the past, the current DEA raises additional serious concerns. Air Force/Community Liaison Scott Hines keeps pointing out that it is entirely different from the most recent DEA, and urging us not to compare them side by side. At the MCRC Operations Subcommittee, Tucson Forward Chairperson Mary Schlitz questioned whether, under the circumstances, there shouldn’t have been a whole new scoping process, with community input.
Here are some of the reasons for needing an extension, which you can cite in your letters (but be sure to use your own words if you have time, please).
* The EA is very long and complex.
* It is highly technical.
* it requires large amounts of time to read and understand its procedures and conclusions.
* Most people work, and have family obligations, leaving them limited time per day to devote to studying the EA and its appendices. After all, the EA took teams of experts over two years to create.
* Most people are not experts in assessment of risk, noise, air quality, economics, and legalities.
The Air Force must receive the requests as soon as possible, so it's a good idea to email the requests. Here's the email address:
Below is the USPS paper mail address. However, if you choose this way, you need to send it immediately so it will have time to get there and be processed:
ATTN: TFT EA COMMENT SUBMITTAL
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
3405 S. Fifth Street
Davis Monthan AFB AZ 85707
Thanks again everyone!
Kathleen Williamson and
- Tucson Forward, Inc. Board of Directors
Tucson Air National Guard Base and Davis Monthan Air Force Base are both within the City of Tucson. The Tucson International Airport, which is the home of Tucson ANG, is at the south end of the Central Tucson urban area. Davis Monthan AFB is slightly east of TIA. Both are surrounded by urban density. The military flight training involves repetitive take-offs, landings, and circling training of domestic and international military pilots over many high use residential and business areas, schools, churches, parks, and other recreational and shopping areas. The brunt of this training is also at very low altitude levels. Aside from the high decibel levels and the far reaching rumble and thrust of these jets, the fumes, fuels, and risk are not compatible with the desert valley's acoustics and dense population. Flights have become steadily louder and more frequent over the last several decades and include many types of more powerful and/or foreign aircraft that have not been reviewed or approved along the guidelines of federal environmental assessments. The current goal of the Air Force and ANG are to increase flight frequencies, including night flights, bring in much louder aircraft including the F35, bring in drone operations, and loosen restrictions on where military aircraft may fly outside previously approved flight paths. Many parts of Tucson, over the University of Arizona campus and south of there, experience military flights only several hundred feet overhead as they circle around and land at DMAFB. Proponents of these flights claim that the base brings jobs and economic benefits, however, closer analysis shows that the economic income to Tucson is not as great as other areas of commerce, for example tourism. Furthermore, the jobs and economy argument does not take into consideration the diminished quiet enjoyment of our city, the extreme loss of groundwater sucked up by the military bases, the very large blighted and under priced real estate south of Broadway that suffers under the lower altitude flight patterns. That blight significantly reduces the potential property values and, therefore, the property tax bases and attraction value of large areas of Tucson.
Tucson International Airport hosts Tucson Air National Guard Base, a 92-acre (37 ha) complex on the northwest corner of the airport that is home to the 162d Fighter Wing (162 FW), an Air Education and Training Command (AETC)-gained unit of the Arizona Air National Guard. The largest Air National Guard fighter unit in the United States, the 162 FW operates over 70 F-16C/D/E/F aircraft in three operational fighter squadrons. The wing provides training on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, augmenting the active Air Force's 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW) at Luke AFB, Arizona as a Formal Training Unit (FTU) for training Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard and NATO/Allied/Coalition F-16 pilots.
The wing also hosts the Air National Guard / Air Force Reserve Command (ANG AFRC) Command Test Center (AATC) as a tenant unit, which conducts operational testing on behalf of the Air Reserve Component. The 162 FW also hosts "Snowbird" operations during the winter months for Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard F-16 and A-10 units from northern tier bases in the continental United States, as well as Canadian Forces and Royal Air Force flying units.
During its history at TUS, the 162nd has operated the F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger, A-7 Corsair II and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. Not counting students or transient flight crews, the installation employs over 1,700 personnel, over 1,100 of whom are full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel, and the remainder traditional part-time Air National Guardsmen. Although an AETC organization, the 162nd also maintains an F-16 Alert Detachment for USNORTHCOM / NORAD and AFNORTH at nearby Davis-Monthan AFB in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base (DM AFB) (IATA: DMA, ICAO: KDMA, FAA LID: DMA) is a United States Air Force base located within the city limits approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southeast of downtown Tucson, Arizona. It was established in 1925 as Davis-Monthan Landing Field. The host unit headquartered at Davis–Monthan is the 355th Fighter Wing assigned to Twelfth Air Force, part of Air Combat Command (ACC). The base is best known as the location of the Air Force Materiel Command's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), the aircraft boneyard for all excess military and government aircraft.