Mineral County residents have until Dec. 12 to enter public comment regarding the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization Environmental Impact Statement.
The area involved in the environmental impact statement would include the renewal of the Navy’s 202,859-acre public land withdrawal, which expires in November of 2021 as well as 604,789-acres of addition public land, which includes: grazing range; mining claims and public roads.
If the expansion were to be approved, roads would be moved as would cattle grazing allotments. Mining in the area would halt.
The area in question would be B-17 on the Fallon Range Training Complex Expansion map. In a draft scoping comment on the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization Project given to the Independent-News dated Nov. 7, 2016, it states, “Mineral County opposes the no action alternative to let current withdrawals lapse thus discontinuing current operations.”
It states that, Mineral County “as the patriotic home of the State of Nevada, understands all too well the roll of the military and the need to maintain the security of the state and the nation.”
Mineral County understands the roll of helping the military and their personnel and has shared their lands in military training in the “current withdrawn lands and the surrounding areas.”
But as listed, Mineral County also understands that this proposal set forth by the Navy could also have a great economic impact for the county.
In their draft, Mineral County described their opposition to the land withdrawal. It states that B-17 is an area with a large mining past. Currently the mine of Rawhide is still operational and is the top resource of revenue in Mineral County for net proceeds. “A critical revenue source for our schools and county government.”
Also within that area, are historic areas of mining past including the old mining camps of Sheelite, the Eagleville Mine and Broken Hills Mine sites.
The land is currently under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management and Mineral County would like to see a study as to what the loss the land would mean to their PILT funding and for the loss of any patented claims and the mitigation process of the owners.
Mineral County would also suggest that the Navy complete a study on both private and public water structures for wildlife in the B-17 area.
Located on the southern edge of the B-17 boundary is the geothermal plant of Wild Rose – Ormat. Mineral County would like to see the Navy work with Ormat as well as the State of Nevada Energy office to determine the impact of any future development of geothermal in that area. And that a utility corridor study be conducted for geothermal and solar energy resources in that area.
As Mineral County begins to look towards the future and the development of the I-11 corridor, the activity at the Hawthorne Army Depot will hopefully increase along with the Naval Air Station in Fallon.
“Mineral County suggests an adjustment of the western boundary to ensure that State Route 839 remains intact as well as access to the patented ground and permitted water resources in the area,” the draft stated.
Comments can be given on either by mail or on the internet at the following: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, Code EV21.AK, 1220 Pacific Highway, Building 1, 5th Floor, San Diego, CA 92132 or at www.FRTCModernization.com.
Note that the impact for the modernization of the Fallon Range Training Complex includes the following: renewal of the Navy’s current public land withdrawals, expansion of land ranges through the additional withdrawal of public lands and the acquisition of non-federal land and airspace modifications.