The Air Force released on Saturday a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that assesses the potential environmental effects of optimizing the F-16 pilot training airspace for Holloman AFB (HAFB), New Mexico. The Final EIS addresses comments received during the Draft EIS comment period and identifies Alternative 1: the expansion of the Talon military operations area (MOA) near HAFB as the Preferred Alternative. Other than a “no change” alternative, this was the preferred alternative advocated for conservation and business interests.
This news regarding the expansion of military pilot training airspace issued by the Air Force is a victory for the greater Gila region and public lands in the Rio Grande Valley from Socorro to Las Cruces.
“Hundreds of local citizens turned out, telling the Air Force how special the wild Gila is and why it should be protected,” said Todd Schulke, co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is one of the rare cases during the Trump era where the process worked and the Air Force actually listened to the concerns of communities in the Gila area.”
“Thank you to our elected officials who listened to our community’s concerns over the potential for serious impacts to our environment, our public lands, and local economy from the Holloman proposal,” said Allyson Siwik, Executive Director of the Gila Conservation Coalition. “We are grateful for the Grant County Commission, and town councils from Silver City, Bayard, Hurley and Santa Clara, as well as Senator Martin Heinrich, Senator Tom Udall and Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales for stepping up to oppose this harmful idea.”
Silver City Daily Press – 2/1/21 – Air Force opts not to fly F-16s over Gila