Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization

Public Meetings Scheduled For Fallon Naval Range Expansion Proposal

Clan Alpine

^Clan Alpine Range.

November 14, 2018 - Central Nevada - The US Navy proposes to transfer over 700,000 acres of public land to the military range at Fallon and they will bomb sage grouse habitat, pronghorn habitat, bighorn sheep, and Wilderness Study Areas. The bombs will leave toxic residue. Potentially over 60,000 acres of private property will need to be taken too. Comment here: https://frtcmodernization.com

The Department of the Navy has prepared and filed with the United States Environmental Protection Agency a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of modernization of the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC), Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, to include renewing the current public land withdrawal, expanding land ranges, expanding and modifying airspace, and upgrading range infrastructure.

Parts of Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge would be taken.

^Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Please attend these public meetings and let the Navy know these public lands should not be withdrawn.

1. December 10, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Hawthorne Convention Center, 932 E Street, Hawthorne, NV
89415-2281.
2. December 10, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Gabbs School Gymnasium, 511 E Avenue, Gabbs, NV 89409-0147.
3. December 11, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Austin Town Hall, 135 Court Street, Austin, NV 89310-9302.
4. December 11, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eureka Opera House, Grand Hall, 31 South Main Street, Eureka, NV 89316-1500.
5. December 12, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Fallon Convention Center, 100 Campus Way, Fallon, NV 89406-2661.
6. December 13, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., C Punch Inn and Casino, Kumiva Room, 1420 Cornell Avenue, Lovelock, NV 89419-0056.
7. December 13, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., West 2nd Events Center, 600 West 2nd Street, Reno, NV 89503-5312.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2018-24909.pdf

The photos on this page are provided by a Basin and range watch supporter. All these scenes are within the proposed military expansion area, and public access would be cut off.

^Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.

^Sand Spring Mountains.

^Sand Springs Mountains.

^Sand Springs Mountains.

^Monte Cristo Mountains.

^Monte Cristo Mountains.

^Monte Cristo Mountains.

^Clan Alpine Range.

^Clan Alpine Range.

^Clan Alpine Range.

^Chalk Mountain and Dixie Valley.

^Fairview Fault.

^Fairview Peak.

^Fairview Peak.

^Fairview Range.

^Fairview Range.

^Fairview Range.

^Gabbs Valley.

^Gabbs Valley.

^Job Peak Wilderness Study Area.

^Job Peak Wilderness Study Area.

^Job Peak Wilderness Study Area.

^Job Peak Wilderness Study Area.

Fallon Naval Range Proposes Gigantic Land Grab in Nevada

^Herds of Pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) inhabit the basins proposed to be taken over by the military for new bombing ranges. (Photo: Kevin Emmerich)

UPDATE August 31, 2018 - The Bureau of Land Management has withdrawn almost 700,000 acres of public lands from mining leasing for four years, a step towards reviewing the military land withdrawal upcoming this fall. And we hope this military expansion is not a done deal.

From the Bureau of Land Management:

CARSON CITY, Nevada – The Secretary of the Interior has issued a Public Land Order withdrawing 694,838.84 acres of public lands from all forms of appropriation under the public land laws, including location and entry under the United States mining laws, and leasing under the mineral, and geothermal leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights, for up to four years for land management evaluation purpose in Churchill, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, and Pershing Counties, Nevada. In addition, 68,809.44 acres of Federal land in the Dixie Valley area (Churchill County, Nevada) are withdrawn from the mineral leasing laws.

This withdrawal keeps the lands closed to these uses in order to maintain the current environmental baseline relative to mineral exploration and development for land management evaluation, subject to valid existing rights, to allow the Department of the Navy (DON) time to complete its environmental evaluations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The DON’s environmental evaluations and NEPA analysis are for a potential legislative withdrawal of 772,370.75 acres of land at Naval Air Station Fallon that the DON intends to propose to Congress to withdraw and reserve for military use.

The Federal Register Notice is available at: https://go.usa.gov/xPqsE. For further information, contact Colleen Dingman, Project Manager, at (775) 885-6168 or email at cjdingman@blm.gov.

_____________________________

August 19, 2018 - Central Nevada - The US Navy wants to close and bomb over 769,724.34 acres of public lands in Churchill, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, and Pershing Counties, Nevada. If Congress agrees to this, there will never be public access again. Several public roads would be closed and several private properties would also just be taken by the government. Beautiful mountains and basins would be closed and anyone caught there would be arrested. The Navy has already bombed 200,000 acres in Nevada. Tell Congress they don't need anymore!

The Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization: Expansion of Land Ranges, Airspace Modifications, and Public Land Withdrawal Renewal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be released soon. See their website on the proposed Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization.

Watch this video Stealth Land Grab in the Great Basin by a friend of Basin and Range Watch:

Stealth Land Grab in the Great Basin from en on Vimeo.

Below is a map made by a valued friend of Basin and Range watch that that reveals all elements of the Navy expansion areas, Wilderness Study Areas, the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and åWildlife Management Area, and roads. Neither the Navy nor the BLM has put out a complete map. It’s shocking to see how much potential wilderness will be lost by the expansion of the B-17 range and Dixie Valley Training Area, and how close the B-20 expansion butts up against a national wildlife refuge and wildlife management areas.

 

Thus far, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has posted a notice to segregate mineral rights from this vast area, a move that it typically done before large deveopment projects on public lands.

BLM says: "The Fallon Range Training Complex is the premier range for training in naval aviation strike warfare. Strike warfare consists of using naval operations to destroy or neutralize enemy targets ashore. The evolution of modern combat systems has increased the need for larger areas to accommodate the tactical ranges that the Navy has determined are necessary to meet combat training requirements. All deploying naval strike aviation units train at Fallon Range before deployment. According to the Navy, today’s advanced weapons systems already exceed the Navy’s ability to train realistically at the 223,557-acre Fallon Range while also maintaining public safety.

"While the decision whether to expand the footprint of the Fallon Range rests with Congress, public comments on issues that should be addressed in the environmental analyses and on the amended withdrawal application will help the BLM and the Navy move forward with the development of this proposal. Public input will be taken into consideration as the BLM and the Navy evaluate how the withdrawal could potentially affect other public land uses like mining, geothermal energy development, grazing, and recreation. Public comments will also help inform Congress.

"With today’s publication of the notice of the Navy’s amended application in the Federal Register a total of 92,482.45 acres of public land will be segregated from all forms of appropriation under the public land laws, including those governing mining, mineral leasing, and geothermal leasing. This segregation will be subject to valid existing rights for two years unless the withdrawal application is denied or canceled, or Congress approves the Navy’s withdrawal application for these lands, and the lands originally applied for in 2016, prior to that date. The lands that are the subject of the notice of the Secretary of the Interior’s proposed withdrawal, also published today, are already segregated because of the publication of the Navy’s withdrawal application in 2016, and today’s amendment, and will remain segregated unless that withdrawal application is denied or canceled, or Congress approves the Navy’s application, as amended, or the Secretary approves the withdrawal he is proposing for up to four years in order to assist in the evaluation process. Licenses, permits, cooperative agreements, or discretionary land use authorizations may be allowed during the period of segregation, but only with the approval of the BLM’s authorized officer and, as appropriate, with the concurrence of the Navy."

We oppose this massive land grab for many reasons

The expansion of the B-17 range will impact beautiful lands with wilderness characteristics and wildlife values to the west of Gabbs Valley and the Monte Cristo Mountains, near Slate Mountain to the south of B-17, all of which will become off-limits to the public and exposed to damage by increased military activities.

The expansion of B-17 will consume much of the Sand Springs range to the west of the existing B-17 range, and closed to public use. Gabbs Valley would be closed to the public, diminishing recreation opportunities in the region. The Navy proposes to create new live ordnance target zones in Gabbs Valley. The people in the
town of Gabbs, as well as visitors, would be negatively affected by experiencing frequent nearby explosions and increased jet traffic. Live bombing is infrequent at B-17 currently; there appears to be little justification in establishing new live target areas outside of the existing range.

The newly proposed expansion of the B-17 range into Gabbs Valley is an addition to the original proposed expansion of B-17 into beautiful lands that have wilderness characteristics, and support plentiful wildlife. These lands include the entire pristine and remote Monte Cristo range adjacent to Gabbs Valley. The Monte Cristos have unique geologic formations consisting of sculpted volcanic tuffs and multi-colored sedimentary hills and pinnacles.

The new 92,482-acre addition to the proposed FRTC expansion includes segments of Wilderness Study Area (WSA) lands that will be become part of the Navy-owned Dixie Valley Training Area. The Jobs Peak WSA and the Clan Alpine WSA would also be withdrawn from public use. Removing WSA lands from Wilderness Area consideration is a serious step that Congress is being asked to approve. WSA lands are extremely valuable for their wilderness characteristics and are very close to being approved by Congress as official Wilderness Areas. These WSAs could then be subject to invreasing levels of disturbcance and roadbuilding, potentially losing their wilderness characteristics.

The FRTC expansion will consume the Fairview Peak range and adjacent rugged foothills to the east of the existing B-17, all of which will be closed to public use, including interesting geological features such as a massive earthquake fault scarp.

Desert bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope inhabit these areas--how will the military manage these precious wildlife herds? Golden eagles also nest and forage here.

The Navy states that this area would still be open for “certain public uses such as recreation and grazing”. This is too vague: what kinds of recreation and other public uses will be permitted -- hiking? camping? hunting? fishing? use of all dirt roads? Will the Navy will have the option of withdrawing permission for these uses whenever it deems necessary and without public input?

See the webpage of Friends of Nevada Wilderness for more information.

Story in The Nevada Appeal. See ShareTrails.com.

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