TUCSON, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) sent a letter to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Arizona Regional Airspace Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) team to express his concerns regarding the USAF changes to expand flight training areas in Arizona that will permit military aircraft to fly lower, practice later at night and cover more territory.
In the letter, Rep. Grijalva states his concerns that the expanded missions will have on tribal communities, public health, and the environment:
“I write to express my concerns with the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Regional Special Use Airspace Optimization To Support Air Force Missions in Arizona. The changes to large flight training areas in Arizona and New Mexico, including my Congressional District, outlined in the Proposed Action by the U.S. Air Force will authorize military aircraft to fly lower, practice later at night, and cover more territory. As described in the Proposed Action, these policy shifts would have lasting impacts on dozens of communities, Tribal lands, and millions of acres of public lands. With this broad range of impacts in mind, I share many of the concerns expressed by my constituents since this proposal was first announced.”
As a result of pandemic- related precautionary measures for USAF public meetings, Rep. Grijalva noted the lack of outreach by USAF and participation by the public may not be accurately reflected in the proposals moving forward. This included the lack of tribal consultations or public meetings near communities that would be most affected by the expanded missions.
Rep. Grijalva’s full letter can be found here.