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News Release


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 435-97
August 20, 1997

DoD ASKS FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN CONSIDERING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF RANGE RULE

The Department of Defense (DoD) is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to consider the environmental impacts of issuing a DoD Range Rule. The Range Rule will govern the clearing of ammunition and explosives from closed, transferred, and transferring military ranges.

The PEIS will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires all federal agencies to consider possible environmental impacts as they carry out their respective missions.

As part of the NEPA process, DoD must issue a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing the PEIS. The goal of the NOI is to include public views in the decision making process.The NOI was published in the Federal Register of July 14, 1997. Although the initial public comment period was to close on Aug. 13, 1997, the period has been extended to provide more time forcomments. These comments will be used in part as the basis for the draft PEIS.

The Defense Department plans to conduct public information forums on the proposed Range Rule this fall in several cities across the United States. Barring further delay to publication of the proposed rule, the Department hopes to use these forums to collect additional public comments on the scope of the PEIS. The exact dates, times and locations of any public forums will be published as soon as arrangements have been completed.

"Public participation in the development of the Range Rule is an extremely valuable part of the process, and integral to our success," said Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Sherri W. Goodman. " State agencies and the general public have been encouraged to participate throughout the development of this new rule. Receiving public comment on the PEIS is the next step. Our goal has been, and continues to be, to develop this important policy in full partnership with the public."

The public will be informed when a draft PEIS is completed, so that comments can be provided. A Record of Decision signed once the PEIS is completed will conclude the NEPA process.

Inquiries concerning the PEIS or requests for a copy of the draft Range Rule can be addressed to the DoD Range Rule Information Center, Post Office Box 3430, Gaithersburg, Md. 20885-3430, or submitted by telephone to 1-800-870-6542 or 1-800-870-6557 for the hearing impaired. The fax number is 1-800-870-6547, and the electronic mail address is fbareis@b-r.com.