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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ] 
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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:12 pm 
Image
My Red Arrow points to Silver City, Link to map is below, Written by Shelby Hallmark

The group of activists who have a regular conference call regarding the ongoing Gila National Forest management plan update obtained information only yesterday from GNF staff about Holloman Air Force Base's announced plan to create a new flyover zone for F-16 training missions that basically encompasses all of the Gila National Forest and most of its wilderness areas. The zone barely misses Silver City itself. Something like 10,000 F-16 sorties per year are contemplated, at altitudes as low as 500 feet, complete with the dropping of 15,000 bursts of anti-radar chaff and a similar number of "flares". Holloman says it will help in the rare event the flares cause fires.

Unfortunately, Holloman's notice of this planned expansion went out over a month ago, including public meetings in Carlsbad, T or C, and Las Cruces (there is another expansion area near Carlsbad) held in mid-Sept. Although the biggest new fly zone is right next to Silver City, no public meeting was scheduled or held here, and even State Senator Howie Morales was completely unaware of this plan. Although the official deadline set by Holloman for comment on its plan has passed, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance believes that they will accept and consider comments received by October 12 -- tomorrow.

If you wish to comment, you have two easy options. One, you can go to the NMWA link below and sign on to the NMWA letter to Holloman demanding a Silver City meeting on this proposal and an extension of the consideration period until that meeting can be held and the comments digested. The linked page allows you to enter your email address, name and address (and organization name, if you are representing a group).

Second, you can deliver a comment directly via the Holloman AFB website at this link: http://www.hollomanafbairspaceeis.com/Default.aspx That link has a button labeled "Proposed Action and Alternatives" which will show you a map of the new flyover zone just above Silver City, and another labeled "submit comments online". The latter page says comments were due Sept. 25, but we're confident they will accept these comments, especially since Silver City was clearly not given an adequate chance to hear about and get involved with this proposal.

If you attended Joe Saenz's talk at the recent Gila River Festival, you know that Gila outfitters like him already have serious problems with military flyovers in the wilderness -- areas that are supposed to be maintained free of technology, support solitude and communing with the land and its wildlife. Land that has spiritual import for Joe as part of the homeland of the Apaches. The proposed new fly zone will have an even more dramatic effect on outfitters and wildlife, and is extremely close to Silver City and its environs as well. It could impact on tourism to the Forest, the economic future of our area, and even property values north and west of Silver, including Cliff/Gila. Please take a look at this, and if you wish to comment, please do so by tomorrow.

Thanks,
Shelby Hallmark


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 Author: Raye
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:10 am 
Thank you, Crow and Shelby. I hate to be blind-sided by stuff like this. Since I didn't see the NMWA link, I went to the Holloman site and placed a comment there, hoping to make some difference, and clicked on the box offering to send updated info when available. Wish me luck on that.


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 Author: Zenaida
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:16 am 
"Holloman says it will help in the rare event the flares cause fires."

I'm sure I'll find that a great comfort after they burn my house to the ground.


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 Author: Harry Browne
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:36 am 
Thanks, Shelby, and thanks to Nathan Newcomer of NMWA, who brought this to my attention earlier. Here's the NMWA link:
https://goo.gl/forms/1VtvErQjZXbr9WTj1

And here, in case it's helpful, is the comment I left for Holloman AFB on its website:

Thank you for inviting public comments about the proposed expansion and reconfiguration of airspace available to Holloman AFB for training. I am deeply concerned about Alternative 2, which would appear to involve a dramatic increase in overflights of the Gila Wilderness.

As evidenced by the Comprehensive Plan we recently adopted, I and my fellow Grant County Commissioners believe that outdoor recreational tourism is a key ingredient to this region’s economic viability. We are pursuing plans to enhance our attractiveness to hunters, anglers, bicyclists, and hikers. All of these plans depend heavily on the fact that Silver City is the gateway to the Gila Wilderness and the Continental Divide Trail. These features attract thousands of visitors per year to Grant County who seek both the rugged physical beauty of the area and the spiritual rejuvenation that comes with time spent in the vast, quiet spaces of the wilderness.

Overflights by military jets are extraordinarily detrimental to the quality of the wilderness experience. I have endured several such flights in the past few years as I have hiked with my family in the wilderness and as I have led twice-yearly student backpacking trips associated with Aldo Leopold Charter School. They are far louder, closer, more sudden, and vastly more intrusive than the commercial jet flights one also sees in the Gila. I have no doubt that a large increase in such overflights would negatively affect this County’s efforts at economic diversification and development, as well as degrading our quality of life.

I urge you to reject Alternative 2 as incompatible with the purposes of the 1964 Wilderness Act and as inappropriate in an area economically and culturally dependent on its relationship to the natural world.


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 Author: newerResident
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:46 am 
I just left a direct, personal feedback at http://www.hollomanafbairspaceeis.com/Default.aspx by clicking on "SUBMIT COMMENTS ONLINE" & then entering my personal response online. There is also an option to download a form & snail mail your response to them.

Nadine


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 Author: newerResident
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:56 am 
Excellent response to Holloman by Judy Calman, Staff Attorney, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NMWA): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIp ... w/viewform

Harry, really liked your personal response to Holloman.

QUESTION: can I also sign online the NMWA letter to Holloman even though the online form requires me to enter an 'Organization Name'?

Nadine


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:14 pm 
Thanks for all the great responses. What I'd like to see is the County Commission, SC Town Council and all the mining district's councils demand Holloman come to Grant County for a community input meeting. I understand that they had one in Las Cruces, 150 + miles away, why wasn't there one here in the area most heavily impacted by such activity? Why isn't the Forest Service here, acting as custodians of our public lands and the Park Service at the Cliff Dwellings, raising hell ; why did the GNF wait until late in the game to say "Oh, by the way, did you know...". Holloman doesn't know to send press releases to me but the GNF and Cliff Dwellings do know, but not a word was uttered.

So Harry, will you take this suggestion for a Holloman meeting to your fellow commissioners ASAP?


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:24 pm 
Nadine, I can't answer your question about the Wilderness Alliance but if that field must be filled in you could just type "Concerned Citizen"


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 Author: GRIP
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:33 pm 
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO ADD YOUR NAME TO A SIMILAR LETTER TO HOLLOMAN AFB, YOU CAN SIGN THIS PETITION. THE NMWA SIGN-ON LETTER IS FOR ORGANIZATIONS AND BUSINESSES.

Sign the Petition TODAY!
https://www.change.org/p/holloman-air-f ... wilderness

Military overflights threaten the Gila Wilderness

Holloman Air Force Base is requesting special use airspace for training F-16 pilots. One of the alternatives being considered is to expand its existing airspace into southwestern New Mexico, including the Gila National Forest and Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas.

The Air Force initiated the scoping process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the public comment period ended on September 25. However, no local elected officials, the public, or conservation groups in Grant County were notified of this proposal and no public meeting was scheduled for Silver City, despite the potential for adverse impacts in the Gila Bioregion.

Tell the Air Force to extend the public comment period for scoping comments and to hold a public meeting in Silver City.

Alternative #2 as currently proposed includes up to 10,000 sorties annually over the Gila and southwestern New Mexico. Although the F-16's would observe flight restrictions to not fly below 2000 ft over Wilderness Areas, the proposal is to fly outside of designated Wilderness as low as 500 ft above ground level and up to 18,000 above mean sea level.

Additionally, the proposal requests use of chaff and up to 30,000 flares annually for aircraft defense 2000 feet above ground level. These radar-disrupting systems introduce aluminum, plastic fibers, and magnesium into the environment, with potential impacts to water quality and wildlife.

The economy of Silver City and the surrounding areas is heavily dependent on people visiting the Gila from all over the world. The nation’s first wilderness area, and the largest in the state, attracts visitors who want to experience its quiet places, see its archeological sites, float its rivers, see its wolves, and hunt its elk. All of these activities require a quiet forest and would be disastrously impacted by 10,000 low-elevation military flights and 30,000 flares, which can devastatingly disrupt wildlife in addition to the activities of humans. This is especially troubling given the pervasive risk of forest fires.

Sign the petition TODAY asking the Air Force to extend the public comment period for NEPA scoping for its Special Use Airspace Optimization Project at Holloman AFB and to hold a public meeting in Silver City.[/b]

https://www.change.org/p/holloman-air-f ... wilderness

More information:

Environmental Impact Statement for Special Use Airspace Optimization at Holloman AFB - http://www.hollomanafbairspaceeis.com/Default.aspx

Alternatives - http://hollomanafbairspaceeis.com/Resou ... atives.pdf


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:51 pm 
Thanks Allyson, when I talked with SC Councilor Bettison earlier today she too had read this article and talked to Sen Morales who had just heard about it but pledged to try to get a Holloman/Community meeting in Silver City; We'll be watching Howie, text him at 575-590-7804 and remind him.

Also text Heinrich and Udall about our displeasure from being kept out of the loop and that we need a meeting here.
Sen. Martin Heinrich: DC office: 202-224-5521- Las Cruces office: 575 523 6561 and
Sen. Tom Udall DC office: 202-224-6621 Las Cruces office: 575 526 5475

Bettion also said she didn't think the Forest Service here nor the Park Service Cliff Dwelling knew but I have a hard time believing that but if it is true we have a bigger problem than I thought.

Letters to the Base Commander my get to him at:
Holloman Base Commander
Holloman AFB Alamogordo, New Mexico, 88330

If and when the pages disappear from Holloman's website try the address above or the company doing the EIS:
Holloman Airspace EIS
501 Butler Farm Rd., Suite H
Hampton, VA 23666


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:08 pm 
Crow -- thanks for your coverage of this important issue. Let's hope Holloman will listen. Shelby


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 Author: frances
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:39 am 
Just signed the petition. Alert Center for Biological Diversity, someone? I know there must be a follower of the forum who has direct contact. Also, has our newspaper reported on this. We need the general public to have all information available. What a travesty.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:37 am 
Thanks frances, but this is "our newspaper", one of 3 and the only one that allows interactive input from its 2259 local subscribers. So far this article has had, as of 11 am Friday, 3,203 views and 11 comments. As far as I can tell no other newspaper, Daily Press nor GC Beat, have picked up the story yet.


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 Author: Kevin B
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:26 pm 
It's unlikely we'd by able to get a full or truthful answer to this, but I am curious to know if there's any alternative areas the AF could use to conduct these exercises. It may be the Gila Wilderness offers unique qualities that make it essential for the AF's needs. By no means am I suggesting that makes it okay, without knowing all of what's involved I don't have enough information to form that opinion, but there are some things shaping up we do know, or should be aware of.

We've all been watching this tit-for-tat squabble going on between Trump and North Korea. Not only should we have no confidence in Trump's ability to avoid war with NK, really from the way it's going I'd sooner place my bet on his intention to achieve exactly that aim. At least I think we must consider the possibility. Trump thinks in terms of business dollars and war is good for business. We can certainly assume got his fingers deep in the industrial/military complex pie.

We might also consider the degree of provocation and damage he's managed to wreak in just the few months he's been in office, with still more than three years of opportunity left to cause even more mischief, and certainly instigate a war. He's voiced multiple threats and insults aimed directly at the equally unstable Kim Jong Un, who absolutely does have access to nuclear armaments and the vehicles to carry them. Moreover though, given the miniaturization potential of those weapons it would be no big trick to smuggle a few in and stash them in rental cars left parked in strategic target areas, no ICBMS needed.

Now consider that Trump has just called for the full revamping of our entire nuclear arsenal. He's not asking for additional numbers of weapons, just updated ones of improved capability. Los Alamos will almost certainly take the lead on that initiative and HAFB will almost certainly serve as their primary test wing to assess and optimize their air borne delivery methods. With that in mind, now at this juncture, Holloman releases notice of their intent to use the Gila in a manner that essentially side steps any opportunity for public opposition. If our government was intending to provoke and conduct a major armed conflict we'd be seeing exactly what we're already seeing out of Washington. If our military was preparing to execute that conflict we'd see them pulling stunts just like what Holloman has done, taking actions clearly at odds with public opinion in a way that circumvents public discourse about it. What we're seeing here may be just part of our nation's larger scale preparation for a very nasty war.

If that's what's in play, and if all this brings us to nuclear conflict, no matter what the outcome or where the majority of the conflict takes place, the results will be devastating, globally devastating. To the extent it might be possible to minimize the devastation that might be possible with a single preemptive strike of the kind that would require considerable preparation, testing, and training in the most accessible and optimal location. Imagine for instance if the military had developed the ability to deliver a guided warhead on Hitler's 1938 Nuremberg rally. An appalling loss of life for sure, but one that would have short circuited all of WWII.

I believe discussion about the morality, civility, humanity, and wisdom of such an act is important to carry on. So too is acknowledging the importance of the Gila and the role it plays in our tourism objectives, recreation and spiritual well being. But perhaps more important, is deciding which side of the outcome we prefer to end up on. If the AF's use of the Gila Wilderness is essential for, to use a phrase, "achieving victory", and if that outcome results in the minimal number of American lives lost, including yours, should that consideration influence our position on the AF's announcement? In that context I still ask if there's any alternative areas the AF could use to conduct these exercises. But if that answer is no, should we then bite our tongue, or continue to object to the peril and potential sacrifice of our own survival?

In any case I think it would be foolish for any of us to conclude that there's no possibility we could end up at war, no possibility the military is preparing for it, and no possibility that that's what we're seeing. And if ever there were a time or issue on which I welcome your thoughts, surely this must be it.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:35 pm 
Kevin, in case you haven't looked through the links provided, the Gila is alternative 2, alternative 1 is an expansion of the existing practice area east of White Sands.


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 Author: Kevin B
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:16 am 
Thanks John, I got into this thread late, on my way to SoCal, son's getting married, been busy, nope, I didn't fully review the various links. Having gone back to do so I see what you mean, nice to know there's an alternative area also under review.

Still, the AF's underlying purpose is to increase air space so as to considerably ramp up flight training, 10,000 flights/year sounds like a lot. Why would the AF need to do so much flight training at this particular time? Why would they need to practice dropping chaff and flying as low as 500 feet? Why are they training here, over undeveloped land rather than off VAFB out over the Pacific? What's their underlying mission objective should we suppose? It just doesn't seem like they're really focused on the goal of achieving world peace.


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 Author: RFS!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:35 am 
Ahhh, The Donhole...

Guess we're getting a sneak preview of what comes after "the calm before the storm."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/pos ... the-storm/

North Korea? Iran? Venezuela? Mexico?

I remember passing through Tucson in the runup to Shock & Awe in Iraq. The skies over Davis-Monthan looked like a cloud of locusts with military jets taking off and landing almost every minute.

Uh... your tax dollars at work.

Feel more secure?


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 Author: msauber
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:42 am 
This issue is national in scope, dealing with national public lands and the Air Force. Concern should be addressed to Senators Udall and Heinrichs.


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 Author: Kevin B
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:00 pm 
Mike, I surely don't disagree. We can and we should express our concerns and objections, and we should direct our voices at the national level. I don't believe that's all we should do however, and I don't believe we should ignore or dis-link the AF's intentions from their true objectives. I do believe we are a nation preparing for war, and I do believe the AF's proposed increase in land area for training purposes is a part of that preparation. That said, perhaps a separate thread should be opened to further that point but for now this is where the conversation has traveled on this thread.

In that respect, throughout the course of my life I've watched every one of our international conflicts opposed by conscientious objectors. As far as I know that's been the case dating all the way back to the American Revolution. Also as far as I know, not once have those voices of objection succeeded in staving off our pursuit of war. Based on that record plus our maniacal president I'm presuming our objections will fall on deaf ears in this case too. As that pertains to the AF's expansion into the Gila, if that's what the AF sees as being its optimal land area, that's what they're going to end up using. The rest of their conversation amounts to smoke and mirrors so they can claim they operated within the bounds of policy. It's just easier that way, which brings us to what I believe to be the larger issue, our nation's preparation for engagement in war.

On that score I believe we should be thinking about which side of the conflict we want to end up on. If we want to end up on what history comes to call the winning side, we need to commit ourselves to that aim more so now than ever. If doing so means supporting our military's use of the Gila then accepting the consequences of that decision falls squarely within the bounds of the word commitment. If what's shaping up here becomes a nuclear conflict, as it surely has the potential to become, we're confronting all out war of the kind none of us has experienced in our life times short of any few remaining WWII vets who may be speaking out here. That being the case, this is not a time for half measures or expecting to end up with our cake and eating it too. Should we speak out against it? Absolutely. That's the only way we can then say we tried to advance our moral standards, but just happened to end up on the winning side anyway. Truly I don't like it. But war does come down to compromises and hard decisions. Unless my logic and knowledge of history is faulty that's what's in play here. If I'm seeing this wrong for sure straighten me out. I'd love to have my point of view changed on this one.


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 Author: Kevin B
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:25 pm 
8:22 PM ET, Sun October 15, 2017 - Tillerson on North Korea: Diplomacy will continue 'until the first bomb drops'
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/15/politics/rex-tillerson-north-korea-cnntv/index.html


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 Author: BigBird
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:01 pm 
Kevin,

I don't think this proposal is related to any imminent war as they've already had to deal with this same situation up in the Greater Taos area! War games are happening all of the time - they're just on our radar screen now because of the local threat of them. In the Taos area the flyovers have been a problem for some and there was a backlash and I'm not sure if the "training" area got minimized of if the whole thing was successfully fought off. I believe the military likes to use mountainous areas because they fight in similar terrain in places such as Afganhistan (the never ending war!).

Maybe we should send them to AZ as that is a hawkish state!


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 Author: GRIP
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:11 pm 
Tuesday 10/17/17 on Earth Matters at 10 am on 89.1FM and streaming live on gmcr.org

We'll be discussing the Holloman Air Force Base proposal to expand its Special Use Airspace for F-16 training, possibly over the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness. Earth Matters co-producer Allyson Siwik will be interviewing Karen Sullivan, retired US Fish & Wildlife Service biologist, founder of West Coast Action Alliance, and board member of the Olympic Forest Coalition. Karen has been fighting the Navy's efforts to turn the Olympic Peninsula into an Electronic Warfare Range. Karen will be sharing with us her community's first-hand experience with the negative impacts of noise, chaff and flares that we could expect should Holloman's proposal turn into reality for the Gila Bioregion. Other guests include Earth Matters co-producer Nathan Newcomer of the NM Wilderness Alliance and Larry McDaniel, hunter and Conservation Voters NM board member.


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 Author: BigBird
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:52 am 
I'm concerned that asking for a meeting is not the same thing as a guarantee that this insane plan will be killed. Just like other issues, such as Genetically Engineering our food, labeling, meetings etc. are a smoke screen. Just as completely banning GMOs from being released into the environment is more saner than allowing them and labeling them (the labeling didn't even get to happen, btw); military exercises of this type in populated and beautiful wilderness areas should be banned outright. We shouldn't be put in the position of always having to fight this stuff.

This needs to be nipped in the bud and I think we need to rely on Senators Heinrich and Udall to do this. So please make sure you call them.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:27 am 
This issue is on the SC Town Council agenda for this Tuesday Oct 24, 6 pm under:
11 New Business
C. Request for Council authorization to forward two letters regarding Holloman AFB's expansion of
fly-ways.

As always there is Public Input early in the meeting.


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