By Mike Egami, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsJanuary 25, 2011
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii -- The Army held two public scoping meetings on the Big Island this week, to allow the public an opportunity to familiarize itself with the proposed modernization projects at the Pohakuloa Training Area, or PTA.
The scoping meetings were held in Hilo and Waimea on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, where informational poster displays and subject matter experts from the Army were on hand to answer questions.
"(The Army is) seeking public input to identify community concerns and issues," said Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. "Your input is extremely important to us as we consider the options before us. We welcome all comments."
The Army is preparing the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, or PEIS, which will evaluate the potential environmental effects associated with the modernization of training ranges, infrastructure and support facilities at PTA.
The PEIS will also specifically evaluate the potential environmental effects associated with the construction and operation of an Infantry Platoon Battle Area at PTA.
The proposed action involves upgrading existing ranges to current standards, constructing new ranges, updating and constructing new Soldier support facilities in the cantonment area, and improving or constructing roads and utilities at PTA.
The meetings were the first steps in the public involvement process of the PEIS, to provide information on the project and receive community input on cultural and environmental concerns under the National Environmental Policy Act.
"(The community's) role tonight is to provide input on the community and environment issues or concerns you believe should be addressed and analyzed in the PEIS," Mulbury said. "Your issues and concerns will help us to develop a plan to properly assess the potential impacts."
The 45-day public comment period will continue until Feb. 7, and the public is encouraged to learn more about the PEIS at www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/PTAPEIS.