Public Hearings for the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement
Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and regulations implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500 to 1508), and Presidential Executive Order 12114, the Department of the Navy (Navy) has prepared and filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) on February 8, 2008, which evaluates the potential environmental effects associated with the use of mid- and high- frequency active sonar technology and the improved extended echo ranging (IEER) system during Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training (AFAST) activities within and adjacent to existing Navy Operating Areas (OPAREAs) located along the East Coast of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico. Navy OPAREAs include designated ocean areas near fleet concentration areas (i.e., homeports). OPAREAs are where the majority of routine Navy training and research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) activities occur. However, Navy training exercises are not confined to the OPAREAs. Some training exercises or portions of exercises are conducted seaward of the OPAREAs and a limited amount of active sonar use is conducted in water areas shoreward of the OPAREAs. A Notice of Intent for this Draft EIS/OEIS was published in the Federal Register on 29 September 2006 (71 FR 57489). The Navy will conduct six public hearings to receive oral and written comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS. Federal agencies, state agencies, and local agencies and interested individuals are invited to be present or represented at the public hearings. This notice announces the dates and locations of the public hearings for this Draft EIS/OEIS.