The Army announced today that it has considered the potential impact of technology demonstrations originally scheduled for October off the Hawaii coast and determined that an environmental assessment (EA) should be performed prior to the demonstrations.
The demonstration of a Remotely Operated Underwater Munitions Recovery System and a concurrent demonstration of munitions destruction technologies will take place off Oahu’s Waianae coast at a munitions sea disposal site locally referred to as Ordnance Reef.
Tad Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for environment, safety and occupational health, has determined that an EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act should be performed prior to the technology demonstrations that are to be conducted at Ordnance Reef.
“The Army’s commitment to understanding the potential impact of the munitions present at Ordnance Reef on human health and the environment is unwavering, as is its intent to develop and safely demonstrate at Ordnance Reef tools required to recover and destroy munitions that may be determined in the future to pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment,” Davis said.
Conducting the EA will delay the demonstrations for about six months from October 2010 to April or May 2011, when ocean and weather conditions are favorable. The Army has maintained inter-agency and community coordination throughout its efforts at Ordnance Reef, including its comprehensive planning for these demonstrations. Prior to the proposed demonstrations, the Army wants to ensure that an EA identifies and assesses all potential environmental impacts; the public is provided notice and an opportunity to comment on the EA; and the Army identifies any significant impacts on the environment that could result from the conduct of these demonstrations. If the Army determines that there are no such impacts, it will issue a finding of no significant impact.
The Army, in consultation with state and federal agencies, expects to have the EA report completed by December 2010. The Army will then provide a 30-day public comment period.