FAA Identifies Preferred Alternative (05/29/13)

Hello everyone! The calendar says summer is on its way, but I'm not quite convinced. I'm really looking forward to some warm, beautiful Alaskan days, and I'm sure you all are as well!

Our project team has recently made an important decision concerning the EIS. I would like to take the opportunity in this letter to explain the FAA's responsibilities in the EIS process, the reasons for our decision, and what it means for you.

You may remember that our December 2012 Project Update included a discussion of the concept of the "preferred alternative." This is a term used by the Council on Environmental Quality to describe "the alternative the agency [in this case, the FAA] believes would fulfill its statutory mission and responsibilities, giving consideration to economic, environmental, technical, and other factors."

Until recently, our team had decided not to identify a preferred alternative in the public draft EIS. However, we have been conducting a very detailed review of the EIS chapters. It is the job of our FAA reviewers to scrutinize the quality of our data and analysis before the EIS is released to the public, and they take this responsibility very seriously.

As we come to the end of our FAA review of the document and draw closer to the release of the Public Draft EIS, our project team is confident that Airport Alternative 12a meets the criteria for a preferred alternative. CEQ and FAA guidance encourage us to identify the preferred alternative as soon as we have the justification to do so - and to communicate to the public that we believe this alternative is preferable to FAA. What this means is that on balance, we feel the preferred alternative minimizes effects while best fulfilling the project's purpose and need.

What does this identification of the preferred alternative mean to you? It means that FAA is most likely to choose this alternative after the final EIS is completed, but it is not guaranteed. We are counting on you - our stakeholders and other members of the public - to give us your input during the draft EIS comment period. Tell us your opinions on all of the alternatives, so that the FAA can better understand project effects to local resources from each of the action alternatives. We hope that knowing the FAA's preference helps you provide more informed comments.

Your involvement is critical to the EIS process. It ensures that we have the best information to guide our final decision regarding the proposed Angoon Airport.

I will be visiting Angoon on June 25, and I look forward to talking about this with you. The team and I will be at the ACA building from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, with lunch at the senior center. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments. My contact information can be found below.

Best wishes,
Leslie Grey
Angoon Airport EIS Project Manager

Leslie Grey, Federal Aviation Administration
Alaskan Region Airports Division
222 West 7th Avenue, Box #14
Anchorage, Alaska 99513-7587
Phone. 907-271-5453 Fax. 907-271-2851
Email. Leslie.Grey@faa.gov

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