Cannon impact study released for public review

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

A draft of an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the effect of Cannon Air Force Base’s switch in October to the 16th Special Operations Wing is available for public review at public libraries in Clovis, Portales and Fort Sumner, according to base officials.

Residents are welcome to view the executive summary and copy of the draft available at the reference desk, said Vivian Grimes, Clovis-Carver Public Library reference librarian. Though the documents cannot be taken from the library, copies can be made.

A notice of availability, informing the public the document is available for review, will be published March 30 in the Federal Registry and public hearings will be held. The hearings are designed to help community members learn about the statement, receive community-specific input and give residents an opportunity to consider and comment on the document and proposal, an information flier from Air Force Special Operations Command public affairs said.

In a separate press release, AFSOC said the Air Force proposes to transfer aircraft and personnel from Hurlburt Field, Fla., or other existing operational locations to Cannon. Those potential asset transfers include aircraft, weapons systems, equipment and personnel.

Oral and written comments from residents are welcome during the hearings or by mail prior to the close of the public comment period.

Timeline of events

The following timeline of events following the release of the draft of an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the effect of Cannon Air Force Base’s switch in October to the 16th Special Operations Wing was
provided Thursday by Cannon officials:

—March 30 — Draft Environmental Impact Statement notice of availability published in Federal Registry. This notice announces that the AFSOC Draft EIS is available for public review. This also begins the 45-day public review and comment period. A copy of the Draft EIS can be reviewed at public libraries in Clovis, Portales, Fort Sumner and Clayton and in Santa Fe at the New Mexico State Library.

—April 17 — Public hearing, 6-8 p.m. Clovis Community College Auditorium, Room 154

—April 18 — Public Hearing, 6-8 p.m. Fort Sumner Community House

—April 19 — Public Hearing, 6-8 p.m. Clayton High School Auditorium

—May 14 — End of public comment period. The Air Force will review all public comments received and begin preparing the Final EIS.

—Summer — Notice of Availability announcing the release of the Final EIS will be issued. This announcement is followed by a 30-day waiting period. After the 30-day period, a Record of Decision, setting forth the Air Force’s final decision will be signed by the office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

—For information about the public hearings, call AFSOC public affairs (850) 884-5515 or Cannon public affairs 784-4131.

—Comments and input can be mailed to Carl Hoffman, HQ AFSOC/A7pp, Hurlburt Field, FL 32544-5434.