Eglin Releases Final EIS on BRAC 2005 Actions

The Air Force has released the final Environmental Impact Statement addressing the BRAC 2005 actions that include the beddown of the F-35 joint training facility and relocation of the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to the Eglin AFB, Fla., area. The news that Eglin would host the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training facility prompted some concern that the noise generated would outstrip that of the base’s previous F-15 flying mission. In an Oct. 17 release, Kathleen Ferguson, the service’s deputy assistant secretary for installations, noted that USAF continues to pursue “methods to mitigate the impact.” She said, “The Air Force is committed to being a good neighbor to the communities which surround Eglin Air Force Base and the future installations selected for F-35 basing.” (The service reportedly has narrowed its original list to just five potential operating locations in addition to Eglin.) We reported earlier that at least one Eglin neighbor, Valparaiso, wanted more information and planned to file a legal suit to get it. That may now be history with the release of the EIS and the information, reported by Northwest Daily News, that a separate collection of the records the city requested would cost $1.5 million. According to the newspaper, Eglin officials told the Valparaiso Mayor and city attorneys that the EIS would contain much of the information they seek. According to a Daily Report reader, the mayors of all five cities around Eglin, including Valparaiso, and the various Chambers of Commerce have signed resolutions of support for the F-35 mission. Valparaiso has reportedly filed its data-seeking lawsuit but not formally served it. (EIS executive summary; link to Eglin Web site with remainder of EIS)