Public Involvement

The Navy is committed to an open and transparent public process.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

NEPA is a U.S. law that requires federal agencies to identify and analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposed action before deciding whether to proceed with that action. The law encourages and facilitates public involvement to inform decision makers and the public on actions that may affect the community or the environment. 

NEPA Process

Section 106 Process

Concurrent with the National Environmental Policy Act public involvement process, the Navy engaged with consulting and interested parties in the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process regarding potential effects of proposed testing and training activities on historic properties. The Navy will continue government-to-government consultations with tribes to strengthen the long-term sovereign-to-sovereign relationship.

Historic properties include archaeological sites, historic structures, districts, objects, and traditional cultural properties that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act lays out the process for considering effects on historic properties:

  • Initiate the process.
  • Identify historic properties and define the area of potential effect.
  • Assess adverse effects.
  • Resolve potential adverse effects.

Public Involvement 
As part of the Section 106 process, the Navy sought public input on:

  • Identification of historic properties.
  • Ways to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate effects on historic properties resulting from federal actions.

Importance of Public Involvement

Public and agency input allows decision makers to consider community concerns and benefit from local knowledge. The public participates in the NEPA process during the following stages:

  • Scoping Period: Help to identify the scope of the analysis, including potential environmental issues and viable alternatives.
  • Draft EIS/OEIS Public Review and Comment Period: Evaluate and provide substantive comments on the draft analysis.
  • Final EIS/OEIS Wait Period: Review the Final EIS/OEIS and Navy responses to substantive comments received on the Draft EIS/OEIS.
  • Record of Decision: Review the Record of Decision for more information about how the Navy made its decision for implementing the Proposed Action.

Importance of Public Involvement

Substantive Scoping and Public Review Comments

Public participation is an important part of the National Environmental Policy Act process. Submitting substantive and concise comments is one of the most important aspects of that process.

Submitting substantive and concise public comments is one of the most important aspects of the NEPA process.

The most effective comments are those that provide useful information to the Navy. For instance, submit comments if you find:

  • New information that would change the analysis and conclusions
  • Any peer-reviewed scientific literature that should be considered in the analysis
  • Something that should be clarified
  • A substantially different alternative that meets the purpose and need statement and has not been considered
  • An error in analysis that may affect the outcome (applicable once the Draft EIS/OEIS is released)

General recommendations to keep in mind when making comments on any NEPA document:

  • Support statements with details. If, for example, you are concerned about biological resources, it is helpful to focus on a particular problem or issue, such as a species that you feel should be analyzed in the Draft EIS/OEIS, instead of making a broad statement such as “The Navy should adequately analyze impacts on biological resources.”
  • Back up your statements with explanations, facts, and references, as appropriate.
  • Be as specific as possible with your comments.
  • Keep your comments focused on the specifics of the proposed project under consideration.
  • Submit your comments within the timeframes announced to ensure that your concerns are considered and addressed in the Draft EIS/OEIS.
  • Request to be included on the EIS/OEIS mailing list to receive notification of public meetings and project information.
  • Become familiar with the scope of the analysis, including the purpose and need statement, potential environmental issues, viable alternatives, and the responsibilities of the lead agency (Naval Air Systems Command).
  • Review the agency website to become familiar with the proposed project, learn about the NEPA process, understand the responsibilities and authorities of the federal agency, keep up to date on public meetings and comment periods, get answers to frequently asked questions, and view agency notifications.
  • Comments on the scope of analysis are not counted as votes or as part of a referendum on Navy decisions. They are used during development of the document and analyses, and ensure that the impacts are adequately determined before the Navy makes a final decision on the proposed project. Therefore, avoid comments that state “I am in favor of this project,” or “I am opposed to this project.” Remember that the more clear, concise, and relevant your comments are, the more effective they will be and the more likely it is that they will be utilized to improve the draft and final documents and affect the agency decisions.

Resource Areas Analyzed

The Navy analyzed the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the following environmental resource areas:

  • Air quality 
  • Sediments and water quality
  • Marine habitats
  • Marine vegetation
  • Marine invertebrates
  • Marine fishes
  • Marine mammals
  • Sea turtles
  • Marine birds
  • Cultural resources
  • Socioeconomic resources
  • Recreation
  • Sea and air space
  • Public health and safety

The Navy complies with all applicable federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders, such as Executive Order 12114, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and Coastal Zone Management Act.