Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Navy Announces Preference To Homeport Aircraft Carrier In Mayport

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- As part of an environmental impact statement (EIS), the Navy announced today its "preferred alternative" is to homeport a single nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport, Fla.

The EIS examined potential consequences of constructing and operating facilities and infrastructure associated with homeporting additional surface ships at NAVSTA Mayport. The EIS evaluated resources in the Mayport area that may be affected by the proposed action, such as air and water quality, biological resources, marine mammals and threatened or endangered species, land use, cultural resources, and socioeconomics. The EIS also accounted for cumulative impacts from other activities in the Mayport area.

After consultation with the public, key individuals and numerous organizations, the Navy considered 275 official comments while assessing 13 EIS alternatives. Ultimately, the Navy concluded that homeporting a CVN at NAVSTA Mayport would increase operational readiness while affording the necessary environmental protections.

The last Navy aircraft carrier to be homeported in Mayport was the conventionally powered USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), which was decommissioned in 2007.

The Navy's preferred alternative involves homeporting one CVN and associated infrastructure modifications. These include dredging, infrastructure and wharf improvements, and construction of CVN nuclear propulsion plant maintenance facilities. Homeporting a CVN at NAVSTA Mayport reduces risk to fleet resources in the event of a natural disaster, manmade calamity, or attack by foreign nations or terrorists. This includes risks to aircraft carriers, industrial support facilities, and the people that operate and maintain these crucial assets.

A Notice of Availability for the Final Environmental Impact Statement will be published to the Federal Register Nov. 21. The Record of Decision is expected in late December.