Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Marines' Johnson Valley DEIS is Flawed - Comments Due May 26!

As many of you know, the Marines at 29 Palms have proposed to expand their base of operations into the popular Johnson Valley OHV Area. Back in 2008 and 2009, a number of OHV groups, local governments, and other stakeholders challenged the premise of the proposal and wrote comments in strong opposition to the expansion.

In the 2009 BRC comment letter, the “need” for three Marine Expeditionary Brigades to train simultaneously was challenged. Another question was raised about why the Marines are developing a proposal based on an outdated segregated training model instead of looking at a 21st Century integrated training model? Also, the Marines were asked about how this proposal would be funded considering the current fiscal crisis and ballooning national deficit?

2009 BRC Comment Letter on the Marines NOI

HQ Blog on the NOI with Various Letters and Comments

HQ’s initial impression after a quick review of the DEIS is that the agency has failed to answer the aforementioned questions. This proposal appears to have little to do with current and projected battlefield scenarios. Rather, this proposal appears to be politically motivated and has the same merit as a Navy Base Commander wanting to reactivate 3 battleships and then do a front-loaded expansion plan to support it. While that might have some emotional attraction, that plan would be just as irrelevant as the Marines claimed “need” to have three MEBs train together in what was once a popular recreation area.

Another process issue is that the scoping document did not daylight the DEIS’s post-scoping arbitrary decision criteria that was used to basically disqualify numerous public comments and ideas such as using other federal military facilities and reclassification or re-designation of other public lands.

HQ believes that the DEIS as presented is seriously, if not fatally, flawed. Those of you who commented should review your comments and point out to the Corps where you feel they missed the boat.

Again, HQ’s opposition should not be taken as a slight against our military. But rather as opposition to bad decision-making by federal officials. Please get your comments in by May 26, 2011.

For information on the DEIS, please see the BRC alert on this subject

Thanks for your interest in this subject.

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