by Diana Haecker ~ February 18th, 2011
Today’s deadline for the public to comment on the proposed expansion of the military training range has been extended again. The Alaska Command will now accept public comments for two more weeks until March 4.Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski supported the extension, as did the state legislature. On Thursday, the Alaska legislature passed a resolution, urging the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force to extend the comment period on the environmental impact statement for the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex modernization and enhancement proposal.
Legislators say that any significant expansion of Military Operations Areas may have a far-reaching impact across multiple segments of the state’s communities and the economy. In particular they are worried about the impact on the aviation industry and on Alaskans who rely heavily on aviation for the transport of people and goods.
The Mat-Su Borough assembly in last Tuesday’s meeting passed a resolution that raised concerns about potential noise, conflicts with civilian air traffic and economic impacts on businesses that depend on natural resources. The resolution is requesting that the Air Force and US Army involve the communities of Talkeetna, Trapper Creek, Willow, Houston and other lower valley towns in the development of the proposal.
Mayor Larry DeVilbiss said he feels the language is too strongly worded against the military’s proposal and contemplates vetoeing the resolution.