Army ready to green light Armored Security Vehicles in Hawai’i

News Report
Travis Quezon

Last week, the U.S. Army issued an Environmental Impact Assessment (EA), which found no significant impact for the use of four M1117 Armored Security Vehicles (ASVs) in Hawai'i.

The Army plans to equip and train Army Military Police units at Schofield Barracks Military Reservation, Wheeler Army Airfield, Kawailoa Training Area, Dillingham Military Reservation, Kahuku Training Area, and Pohakuloa Training Area. The Army identified a need to provide vehicles with improved armored protection, payload capacity, and collective nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection for MP crews and other Soldiers who use high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles.

In order to move forward with the upgrades, the Army assessment considered three alternatives in its analysis: 1) The ASVs would operate on all paved and unpaved roads and trails, all weapons ranges, and all training areas in Hawai'i; 2) The ASVs would operate only on established roadways and trails in Hawai'i and not be allowed to be used off-road; 3) The ASVs would not be used in Hawai'i.

The Army's assessment found the ASVs to have "less than significant impact" in terms of noise, air quality, geology and soils, water resources, hazardous materials and conditions, biological resources, and cultural resources. The cumulative impact of ASVs operating on roads as well as off-road scored a "significant but mitigable to less than significant impact" rating.

Despite the "less than significant impact" ratings, the assessment also noted that ASVs "could increase soil compaction, which could contribute to increased levels of soil erosion" and that increases in ammunition fired at Schofield and Pohakuloa "could increase the amount of lead accumulation in backstops, range floors, and berms and can increase the potential for leaching into groundwater, being carried off-site in stormwater, being ingested by wildlife, or becoming airborne."

Under the Army Sustainable Range Program, the Army is responsible for managing the effects of unpaved road and trail and off-road travel by military vehicles. The plan to use the ASVs involves a one-for-one exchange of an ASV for high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles currently located in Hawai'i.

The Army's assessment also concluded that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will not be necessary.

With the assessment indicating that there will be no significant environmental impacts, the public is now given another opportunity to comment before the Army moves forward with its plans to use ASVs in Hawai'i.

The public has 30 days to comment

A notice of availability of the EA and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact will be published in the State of Hawai'i Department of Health, Office of Environmental Quality and Control publication, The Environmental Notice on November 23, 2008, followed by a 30-day comment period. Copies of the EA and draft FNSI can be obtained by contacting Lynn Schneider at the US Army Corps of Engineers—Honolulu District, CEPOH-PP-E, Building 252, Fort Shafter, HI 96858, (808) 438-0402, e-mail: [email protected].

Copies of the EA and draft FNSI are available for review online and at the following libraries: Wahiaw' Public Library, 820 California Avenue, Wahiawilani Public Library, 95-450 Makaimoimo Street, Mililani (808) 627-7470; Wai'anae Public Library, 85-625 Farrington Hwy., Wai'anae (808) 697-7868; and Waialua Public Library, 67-068 Kealohanui Steet, Waialua (808) 637-8286.

Comments on the EA and the draft FNSI should be submitted to the US Army Corps of Engineers at the mailing address or e-mail address listed above.