July 23, 2008

No Objections Raised to WSMR Impact Study

By Steve Ramirez, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.

Jul. 23--For more information on WSMR, click here.

LAS CRUCES -- There were no public comments from Las Cruces residents Tuesday about an environmental impact study being conducted at White Sands Missile Range that will determine its suitability to expand missions and capabilities.

More than 30 people attended the meeting, at Court Youth Center, including WSMR officials and representatives of Potomac-Hudson Engineering (PHE) and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), two companies hired to conduct the study. The study is being done for the proposed development and implementation of the range-wide missions and major capabilities at WSMR.

The study will focus on the potential affects the addition of an engineering battalion and a heavy brigade combat team could have at WSMR. As many as 5,000 additional soldiers could be stationed at WSMR by 2013 and the added training and testing is anticipated to substantially expand WSMR's role in national defense.

"This environmental impact statement is very important to the future of White Sands Missile Range," said Dan Hicks, WSMR chief of staff.

Dorothy Peterson, PHE project manager, emphasized that although there were no public comments

at Tuesday's meeting, people have until Aug. 8 to submit written comments.

"We're here to define to be analyzed in the environmental impact statement," Peterson said. "We're at the very beginning of the 30-day public scoping process, and we will incorporate all comments and publish them in the draft environmental impact statement that will be made available for public review and additional comments."

The study will assess and consider numerous topics, including: aesthetics, air quality, geology and hydrological resources, soil erosion effects, water resources management, wetlands resources, biological resources, cultural resources, land use, traffic and transportation systems, socioeconomics, environmental justice, community services, facilities, energy, hazardous materials and waste, solid waste, human health and safety, noise, light and glare, airspace resources, wildlife, and cumulative effects.

"There are 17 land use categories and 16 activities supported by land use categories at White Sands Missile Range," said Susan Goodan, SAIC project manager "This study will affect six million or more. Land use is not one single activity, but a bundle of them."

Steve Ramirez can be reached at [email protected]

Environmental Impact Study

-- Two more public meetings to learn more about, or to comment on, an environmental impact statement will be at 6 p.m. today at the Macey Center, 801 Leroy Place, in Socorro, and at 6 p.m. Thursday at Otero County Administration Building, 1000 New York Ave., in Alamogordo.

-- Written comments can also be mailed, e-mailed or faxed until 5 p.m. Aug. 8 to: Ms. Catherine Giblin, White Sands Test Center, Operations Office, 124 Crozier St., Building 124, White Sands Missile Range, N.M. 88002. Comments can also be faxed to Giblin's attention at (575) 678-4082; or e-mailed to: [email protected]

-- A draft environmental impact statement should be available for public review in January, and more meetings will be scheduled after that.

-- For more information, call Monte Marlin, WSMR chief of public affairs, (575) 678-1134.


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