Draft Environmental Assessment of airspace proposal available for review

  • Published
  • By Capt. Darin Overstreet
  • Colorado National Guard Public Affairs
A draft environmental assessment for a proposed modification of the Cheyenne military operations area airspace in eastern Colorado and western Kansas will be available for public review May 1.

The environmental assessment evaluated the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

The shaded area on the map represents the current Cheyenne Low and High military operations areas. The outlined area represents the proposed Cougar Low and High and Bobcat High military operations areas and reflects mitigation due to commercial and general aviation traffic into and out of the airports in Goodland and Colby, Kan.

Under this airspace proposal, the Colorado counties of Cheyenne, Kiowa and Kit Carson, and the Kansas counties of Greeley, Logan, Scott, Wallace and Wichita, will underlie the new military operations areas.

The density of aircraft will decrease and the flight floor will rise from 300 to 500 feet above ground level in the military operations area. This change will mean less noise experienced on the ground than under current conditions.

Within the military operations areas, outside the exclusion bubbles, military aircraft would fly no lower than 1,000 feet above ground level at night, and as high as 18,000 feet above mean sea level.

Modification of the Cheyenne military operations areas will meet the need for an optimal training environment using a regularly-shaped airspace, enabling the primary military user of the airspace, the 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard (which flies the F-16C+ fighter jet), to employ the full capability of aircraft weapon systems to conduct realistic, mission-oriented training to meet military readiness requirements, prepare for deployments as an Air Expeditionary Force in support of ground troops in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and train to effectively counter 21st-century threats.

The 140th Wing, through consultation with Native American tribes, agreed to maintain a 5-nautical mile radius buffer around the center of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historical Site, Colo., with a flight floor of 5,000 feet above ground level. The current 1,500 feet above ground level flight exclusion bubble within five nautical miles of the Cheyenne Wells airfield, Colo., will be maintained.

"The Colorado National Guard coordinated this proposal with our neighbors in Colorado and Kansas to achieve mutual benefit," said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. Mike Edwards. "This military operations area is a national airspace asset, and our military readiness depends on pilots being able to experience realistic, mission-oriented training before they're put in harm's way."

The 140th Wing conducts joint tactical training in the military operations area with the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, based in Topeka, Kan., to meet annual training requirements.

The 140th Wing, based at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., is the only centrally-located alert fighter location in the U.S., protecting our homeland 24/7/365 at a quarter of the cost of a similar active duty unit. Citizen-Airmen guard our communities, state and nation by responding rapidly to potential air threats over U.S. cities in support of Operation Noble Eagle, the military response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

During the 30-day public comment period beginning May 1, the public may submit comments on the draft environmental assessment which can be accessed on the Colorado National Guard website http://co.ng.mil/public/Environmental%20Assessments/Forms/AllItems.aspx; via a link on the Colorado Air National Guard's 140th Wing website http://www.140wg.ang.af.mil; via a link on the Kansas National Guard's website http://www.kansastag.gov/ng_default.asp or at public libraries in the affected counties.

Comments on the draft environmental assessment should be submitted to Joint Force Headquarters-Colorado Public Affairs Office by mail, email or fax to:

6848 S. Revere Pkwy.
Centennial, CO 80112

Subject: Public Comment Cheyenne MOA

Fax: 720-250-1059