UPDATE (Dec. 12, 2022): The public comment period – originally opened Nov. 15 for 30 days – for the Michigan Air National Guard’s proposal to reconfigure charted airspace available for military aircrew training, has been extended until Jan. 14, 2023 (60 days total).
Thank you for your interest in providing comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for modification and addition of airspace at the Alpena Special Use Airspace Complex, Michigan. Government agencies, elected officials, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to review the draft EA and to submit comments online or by mail.
The MI ANG Airspace reconfiguration is a process that has been ongoing for years. The MI Air National Guard has followed the federal approval process to request additional airspace capability and we are now in the culminating stages of that process. The Camp Grayling land access request is a completely separate initiative with an approval process through state agencies that is presently in its very early stages. The two are not linked except for the fact that they both come down to readiness and meeting modern and future military training requirements.
The public comment period is now open. Written comments must be postmarked or submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on January 14, 2023, to be considered and addressed in the final EA.
Mailed comments may be sent to:
National Guard Bureau
Attn: Ms. Kristi Kucharek
3501 Fetchet Ave, Joint Base Andrews, MD 20762-5157
or emailed to NGB.A4.A4A.NEPA.COMMENTS.Org@us.af.mil with subject ATTN: ALPENA SUA EA.
PLEASE NOTE: Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of individuals who provide comments will be kept confidential and will not be released, unless required by law.
All comments submitted during the public review period will become part of the public record on the EA and will be considered in preparation of the Final EA.
Please see the below tips for submitting effective comments:
- Substantive comments that provide detailed information are the most useful.
- Make comments as specific as possible. Clearly identify your issues and concerns. Support assertions with an explanation that includes facts and references, if possible.
- Refer to specific page numbers or paragraphs in the document.
- Submit comments if you find an error in the analysis, need clarification or have new information that could change the analysis and conclusions.
- There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment. Although the comment box below does not have a character restriction, longer comments can be mailed to the address above.
Do not include any PII within the text of your comment (e.g., name, address, social security number, email address, telephone number, etc.).
A public comment period will re-open Nov. 15 for the Michigan Air National Guard’s proposal to reconfigure charted airspace available for military aircrews to meet current training requirements.
The proposal is a culmination of years-long coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Guard Bureau and local communities to modify existing military operating areas (MOAs) at low and medium altitudes and create some new MOAs on a limited basis within the Alpena Special Use Airspace (SUA).
“This proposal is a singular initiative that has been a priority for the Michigan Air National Guard since approximately 2014,” said Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general and commander of the Michigan Air National Guard. “We have worked hard to thoroughly coordinate this reconfiguration at the national, state and local levels for the sole purpose of ensuring our military aircrews are prepared for the rapidly evolving complexity of modern combat.”
The Alpena SUA complex was originally charted during the Korean and Vietnam War eras. Though commonly referred to as the largest overland training airspace east of the Mississippi, it lacks the altitude and complexity U.S. aircrews need to maintain and develop proficiency with twenty-first century tactics.
The Michigan ANG opened one public comment period for the airspace in 2019, which solicited public feedback on the proposal from Michigan communities, local authorities and private citizens.
“The Michigan Air National Guard is, first and foremost, a community-based organization. We’d like to thank those that provided feedback for being constructive partners in this process,” said Teff. “We are grateful for the input we received in 2019 from local townships and residents, which has allowed us to refine this proposal to include ideas from the citizens we are ultimately here to serve.”
Changes from the 2019 proposal include:
- Implementing a one-mile buffer around the “thumb” region’s Lake Huron shoreline that will prohibit military aircraft from flying lower than 1,500 ft. during peak vacation and tourism seasons.
- Excluding access by F-35 fighters to the Steelhead Low MOAs over Michigan’s “thumb” region.
- Raising the minimum altitude for the Steelhead Low South MOA to 4,000 ft. to accommodate civilian and commercial flight air patterns in the thumb region.
- Eliminating six miles of military training airspace from the north side of the Grayling West MOA.
- Raising the minimum altitude from 7,000 ft. to 10,000 ft. in the Grayling East MOA to deconflict with north/south civilian flight traffic.
The public comment period comes with the completion of the National Guard Bureau’s Draft Environmental Analysis for the proposal, which can be viewed in its entirety at the following link: https://www.alpenacrtc.ang.af.mil/
The reconfigured airspace is projected for official charting by the FAA in late summer 2023. The public comment period will remain open until January 14, 2023.
For more information or questions, please contact the Michigan National Guard public affairs office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) synchronizes strategic, legislative and fiscal initiatives to build and sustain military readiness, care and advocacy for veterans and cultivate purposeful partnerships. Branch operations include Michigan Veteran Homes, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, State Operations, Army National Guard and Air National Guard which stand in support of our mission to serve every member. For more information, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/dmva.