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The Navy is committed to an open and transparent public process.
NEPA is a U.S. federal 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 on actions that may affect the community or the environment.
Public and agency input allows decision makers to benefit from local knowledge and consider community issues and concerns. The public participates in the NEPA process during the following stages by:
Due to the use of active sonar and explosives during some training and testing activities, the Navy has applied for permits and authorizations under the MMPA with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Navy has requested from NMFS authorization for the unintentional take of marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California EIS/OEIS Study Area. NMFS requested public comments on its Proposed Rule to issue regulations and a subsequent Letter of Authorization to the Navy. After the NEPA process is complete, NMFS would make the determination whether to issue the Navy a Final Rule and Letter of Authorization.
Concurrent with the NEPA public involvement process, the Navy is conducting NHPA section 106 consultations regarding potential effects of the Proposed Action on historic properties. Historic properties include districts, sites, buildings, structures, or objects listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. During the NEPA open house public meetings, an information station will be available, where subject matter experts will explain the section 106 process and solicit public input. Based on the findings in the Final EIS/OEIS, there would be no effects on submerged historic properties.
A cooperating agency is any agency, other than the lead agency, which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise concerning an environmental impact involved in a proposal. Federal agencies with jurisdiction by law and special expertise with respect to all reasonable alternatives or significant environmental, social, or economic impacts associated with the action were invited to be a cooperating agency. The National Marine Fisheries Service is a cooperating agency for the EIS/OEIS due to its regulatory responsibility for administering the Marine Mammal Protection Act permit program.
The Navy analyzed the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the following environmental resource areas:
Minimizing impacts on the marine environment from training and testing is important to the Navy. The Navy will continue to implement mitigation and monitoring measures to avoid or reduce environmental impacts from naval activities.
The Navy will comply with all applicable federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders, including, but not limited to, Executive Order 12114, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and Coastal Zone Management Act.
For more information about the findings of the environmental impact analysis, please see the Final EIS/OEIS.