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The Navy has released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Multi-Engine Training System (METS). Implementation of the METS will replace all 54 of the T-44C Pegasus aircraft with 58 new T-54A aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas. The new aircraft would conduct training operations in the same locations and within the same airspace as T-44C aircraft but with an increase in the number of operations.
The T-44C fleet is nearing the end of its service life and has outdated avionics, limited availability of parts, and increased maintenance cost. The replacement of aircraft would provide advanced instrumentation for communication, navigation, and tracking aircraft health to facilitate maintenance planning and efficiency. The need for the Proposed Action is to enable continued aviator training in furtherance of the Navy’s mandate to train and equip naval forces ready to deploy worldwide.
The Proposed Action would take place at NAS Corpus Christi and its associated training locations at Naval Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) Cabaniss; at international, regional, and municipal airfields; and in the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Airspace System throughout south Texas. To accommodate the new aircraft, demolition, construction, and renovation of facilities at NAS Corpus Christi would be required. These activities would include the following short-term projects:
In the long-term, Hangars 57 and 58 would be considered for recapitalization or demolition. If demolition is selected, then either two fabric hangars would be installed or one new larger hangar would be constructed.
New T-54A aircraft would be delivered between the years of 2024 and 2026, and proposed construction would begin in 2024 and continue through 2027.
The Navy has prepared this EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations and Navy regulations.
This EA includes an analysis of potential environmental impacts associated with the action alternatives and the No Action Alternative. The environmental resource areas analyzed in this EA include noise, environmental justice, biological resources, cultural resources, and air quality. The region of influence for each resource analyzed is defined by how the Proposed Action interacts with or impacts the resource. For example, the region of influence for noise would include areas that may be impacted by airborne or construction noise.
The Navy has published a Notice of Availability of the Draft EA, and will be accepting public comments for 30 days (until July 17, 2023). The draft document is available for public review online at www.navy.nepa.mil/mets, or in hardcopy at the following libraries:
Nueces County Law Library, 901 Leopard Street, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401
Corpus Christi Public Library – Owen R. Hopkins Public Library, 3202 McKinzie Road,
Corpus Christi, Texas 78410
Mary and Jeff Bell Library – Texas A&M University Library, 6300 Ocean Drive,
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
Janet F. Harte Public Library, 2629 Waldron Road, Corpus Christi, Texas 78418
Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia Library, 5930 Brockhampton Street, Corpus Christi, Texas 78414
Anita & W.T. Neyland Public Library, 1230 Carmel Parkway, Corpus Christi, Texas 78411
Harlingen Public Library (Cameron County), 410 76 Drive, Harlingen, Texas 78550
Victoria Public Library (Victoria County), 302 North Main Street, Victoria, Texas 77901
Palacios Library Inc. (Matagorda County), 326 Main Street, Palacios, Texas 77465
Alicia Salinas Public Library (Jim Wells County Public Library), 401 East 3rd Street, Alice, Texas 78332
Comments received during the comment period for the Draft EA will be considered in the Final EA. Comments may be submitted via the project website at www.nepa.navy.mil/mets or mailed to: METS EA Project Manager, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Attn: Code EV22SG, 6506 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23508. Comments must be received online or postmarked by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on 17 July 2023.