Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Navy Upgrading Berthing Facilities

The Department of the Navy announced Jan. 30 its decision to upgrade the aircraft carrier berthing facilities at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island. BJ Penn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, signed the Record of Decision (ROD), which follows a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). On March 30, 2007, the Secretary of Navy announced that USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) would move its homeport to NAS North Island following the completion of this SEIS. The decision commits to improvements in the berthing facility's fender, mooring, security, and information systems, as well as electrical, mechanical, and site enhancements. These improvements will upgrade carrier berthing to comply with current nuclear-powered aircraft carrier facility requirements.The Supplemental EIS augments a 1999 EIS that examined the homeporting of three nuclear-powered, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers at NAS North Island. The SEIS does not propose any changes to the outcome of the 1999 study and its subsequent decision, which was implemented in 2004 and which remains relevant. After considering comments from regulators and the public, the Navy concluded the environmental consequences of the upgrades were not significant. However, the ROD does call for a number of improved traffic-mitigation measures, which will minimize the cumulative effects of traffic during the rare days when all three carriers are simultaneously in port. The Navy closely coordinated with regulators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service before reaching its final decision.

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