Proposed testing and training activities are similar to those that have occurred in the Study Area for decades.
The EIS/OEIS supports the Navy’s request for federal regulatory permits and authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.
The Navy’s Proposed Action is needed to allow for continued testing and training in support of military readiness and DoD mission requirements and to provide combat-ready forces.
The Navy’s Proposed Action is to continue military readiness activities and increase testing and training activities that are the same as or similar to those currently occurring. Similar testing and training activities were previously analyzed in the March 2002 Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Point Mugu Sea Range Final EIS/OEIS and environmental assessments completed for the Point Mugu Sea Range since 2002. The Proposed Action includes ongoing military readiness activities, including missile launch operations and directed-energy activities originating from Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu and San Nicolas Island. Testing and training activities would be conducted at sea and in designated airspace within the Study Area.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to:
The Navy is updating previously analyzed testing and training activities because analytical methods used in the 2002 analysis are not consistent with the current modeling and analyses in more recent Navy environmental documents for the same type of activities. Potential impacts are being reexamined based on new science, data, and analytical methods.
As part of the Proposed Action, the Navy proposes to continue implementing standard operating procedures designed to provide for safety and mission success. Additionally, the Navy is proposing to implement mitigation measures to avoid or minimize potential impacts from the alternatives being considered. The final suite of mitigation measures to be implemented will be determined during the consultation processes with regulatory agencies.
Alternative 1 is the Navy preferred alternative because it includes the highest potential annual level of planned activities needed to ensure the Navy is ready to respond to a national emergency and to meet long-term requirements.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives to achieve the purpose of and need for the Proposed Action. In the Draft EIS/OEIS, the Navy analyzed the potential environmental impacts of three alternatives, including a No Action Alternative.
Alternative 1 (Preferred Alternative)
No Action Alternative
The Point Mugu Sea Range is located adjacent to Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties along the Pacific Coast of Southern California and includes 36,000 square miles of controlled sea and airspace designated for testing and training activities.
Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Point Mugu meets its mission to conduct state-of-the-art weapons systems testing and evaluation and to maintain operational readiness by providing a safe, realistic, and instrumented testing environment. Vessels, aircraft, and weapons systems must be able to perform in realistic marine environments and operate as intended, thus improving system accuracy and personnel safety.
The Navy is committed to being a good steward of the environment. At the same time, the Navy must test and train with new technologies to defend the United States and its interests. The offshore areas of Southern California are critical testing and training areas for the Navy. All systems and equipment must be tested prior to deployment and operational use. Simulators alone are not adequate substitutes for live testing and training in a real-world environment. To ensure accuracy and safety, systems are tested in varying marine environments.
The Point Mugu Sea Range provides test and evaluation information to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and supports weapons system development programs and DoD research. It is the DoD’s largest and most extensively instrumented over-water test range and offers realistic littoral (nearshore or shallow water) and open-ocean operating environments. The range is also equipped with airspace that can be temporarily expanded as needed through coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. The airspace is critical to meeting a range of testing and training requirements.
The Navy has conducted testing and training activities in the Study Area for decades, with some activities dating back to 1946 when the range was established. Technology advancements and evolving international threats result in the development of weapons with longer ranges and greater precision. The Point Mugu Sea Range is the only instrumented sea range in the United States that can safely accommodate testing and training of these expanded weapons systems.
Testing and training activities in the Study Area support three primary mission areas, which require unique skills, sensors, weapons, and technologies to accomplish the overall mission:
The Navy welcomes substantive comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS
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