Public hearings begin on expansion of Nellis bombing range

Starting Wednesday in Caliente, the Air Force will hold a series of public hearings on its plans to expand the Nevada Test and Training Range.

Air Force officials are now accepting public comment on a more than 1,100-page environmental impact statement for the proposed expansion, which seeks to add 301,507 acres to the secure bombing range about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The range already covers more than 2.9 million acres in Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties. Roughly 278,000 acres of the proposed expansion would be carved from Desert National Wildlife Refuge, about half of which is already under military control.

(Las Vegas Review-Journal)

If approved by Congress, the expansion would cut off most of the rough, unpaved Alamo Road, the main route through the northern part of the refuge.

The Air Force is not seeking any additional land to use as bomb impact areas, but officials want primary jurisdiction over the 846,000-acre southern portion of the range they share with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Each hearing will start with an open house from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., followed by a 45-minute presentation by the Air Force and two hours for public comment.

Wednesday’s public hearing at Caliente Elementary School will be followed by additional hearings:

— Thursday at Pahranagat Valley High School in Alamo.

— Jan. 23 at Aliante Hotel in North Las Vegas.

— Jan. 24 at the community center in Beatty.

— Jan. 25 at the convention center in Tonopah.

The Air Force will be accepting comments on its plans through March 8.

People can read the environmental impact statement and submit comments online at www.nttrleis.com.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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