The period for public comments, which had closed in September, has now been extended to Nov. 8.
Comments may be submitted on the TBS website:
or by regular postal mail sent to:
P.O. Box 180458
Tallahassee FL 32318
The Department of the Navy is working on a statement of the environmental impact of its plan to expand the Townsend Bombing Range to take in about 20,000 acres in Long County. The public will have 45 days to comment on the EIS when it is released in 2011.
Mike McGowan, a Long County resident and a former county commissioner, is among those who have expressed opposition the plan. "Expansion of the Townsend Bombing Range will have a long-term, detrimental impact on the quality of life in Long County and a devastating financial impact on its citizens," he said.
McGowan explained that Long County includes 24,000 acres of the Fort Stewart military reservation as well as 17,000 acres of other land owned by governments or nonprofit organizations that do not pay property tax. "
"If the Townsend Bombing Range is expanded north of Highway 57 as proposed, an additional 20,000-plus acres would be removed from the tax digest in Long County, bringing the total non-taxable acreage to approximately 65,000. Not to mention the loss of potential development and diminished quality of life for residents of the Tibet, Townsend, Cox and Jones communities. These citizens already endure almost daily disruption to their lives due to noise exposure," McGowan said.
The McIntosh County range is owned by the Navy which uses it to train flight crews of Marine aircraft and is operated by the Georgia Air National Guard. TBR is the principal site for air-to-ground combat proficiency training for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and is used by all armed services.
The expansion of the TBR is aimed at providing larger areas for training on modern Precision-Guided Munitions.
The draft environmental impact statement is expected in the fall of 2011. A final EIS is expected in the spring of 2012, followed by a decision in the fall. If the expansion is approved, officials will then ask Congress for military construction funds to pay for the modernization.