Take Action: Military overflights threaten the Gila

Home  /  2017  /  Current Page
Wikimedia Commons

F-16 releases flares. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Holloman Air Force Base is considering expansion of its Special Use Airspace for training of F-16 fighter pilots over Silver City, the Gila National Forest and Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas.

Encompassing the nation’s first wilderness area and New Mexico’s last wild river, the Gila Region attracts retirees, outdoor recreation and tourism from throughout the U.S. and internationally. Holloman’s proposed action will impact the environment and wildlife and significantly degrade the rural character and quiet solitude of this unique area, impacting real estate values, outdoor recreation, tourism, and the local economy. The Gila Region, Alternative #2, should not be considered a viable option for Special Use Airspace.

Take action today and provide your comments to Holloman Air Force Base on its Special Use Airspace Optimization proposal.

GCC and the Gila Resources Information Project will submit your comments to Holloman at the November 14th Grant County Commission special meeting and ensure official receipt.

TakeActionToday-red-Holloman

Attend a public meeting sponsored by the Grant County Commission and show your support for peaceful skies. Find out more about the Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) proposal for expansion of its Special Use Airspace (SUA) for F-16 training over the Gila region. A representative from Holloman AFB will present its proposal and answer questions from the Commissioners. The public is invited to attend and will be able to make public comment after the Holloman presentation. You must sign up before the meeting and each commenter will be given 3 minutes.

Join the rally preceding the public meeting at 5pm and show your support for peaceful skies!

Holloman Meeting

Background

Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo is considering expanding its Special Use Airspace to train F-16 fighter pilots. One of the alternatives being considered, Alternative #2, is to create a new Military Operations Area outside of Silver City, including over the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness. The Air Force is proposing to fly 10,000 training sorties annually, including low-level flights at 500 ft above ground surface, as well as 1000 supersonic sorties. The F-16’s will also train with air defense systems that employ chaff and flares – as many as 30,000 annually.

The Air Force did not hold a public meeting in Silver City or notify local elected officials about its proposal. Thanks to the public outcry and the efforts of local elected officials and conservation groups, the Air Force has agreed to attend a public meeting hosted by the Grant County Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 14th at 6pm at the Grant Co. Commission chambers. They will brief commissioners about the Holloman proposal and accept written public comment.

The human, wildlife and environmental impacts of this proposal could be severe. The extreme noise from low elevation overflights can be frightening and disruptive to humans and wildlife. Additionally, Holloman’s proposal requests use of chaff and  flares (up to 30,000 annually) for aircraft defense. These radar-disrupting systems introduce aluminum, plastic fibers and magnesium into the environment, with potential impacts to water quality and wildlife and increased risk of wild fire.

19916091972_69b14be509

Find out more

Holloman Airspace EIS website

Federal Register Notice for Intent to Prepare an EIS

Town of Silver City Letter to Holloman

Podcast – Earth Matters Interview with Karen Sullivan, West Coast Action Alliance on Militarization of the Olympic Peninsula

Podcast – Earth Matters Interview with Carol Miller, Peaceful Skies Coalition on Militarization of Our Skies

Peaceful Skies Coalition

West Coast Action Alliance