WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published February 07, 2010, 01:51 PM

Public Hearings for UAS's

Starting tomorrow the Air Force will be holding public hearing about the environmental impact of the upcoming unmanned arial systems mission at the base.

Grand Forks Air Force base is scheduled to get a new unmanned arial systems mission, but before the UAS's arrive, the Air Force has to complete an environmental impact statement. That study will show the impact the UAS's will have on the region.

Col. Seth Beaubien: "shows all of the economic, environmental impacts to the region as a result of this bed down action."

One part of the study is to find out how much air traffic there is in the region... To get that information, the Air Force turned to UND for help.

Jeffrey Kappenman: "We wanted to help the air force understand the airspace and so we were talking to the private users out there... Are you still flying that aircraft? And what do you have on board for equipment and stuff like that because we want to characterize what is going on in that airspace."

The Air Force will also be asking you for your thoughts on the Environmental Impact Statement. Public hearings happen this week in Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Carrington, and Langdon. People at the four locations will be able to play a role in the the Air Force's decision.

Col. Seth Beaubien: "The public comments will be taken part and parcel and looked at with the proposal to determine which of the four will be forwarded by the air force.

They hope to start getting the base ready for the UAS's as soon as possible.

Col. Seth Beaubien: "It will go into the staffing process, oral and written comments will be accepted at the hearing and written comments will be accepted until 1 march, and then, at that point they will be taking into the process, we hope to see something by summertime and we hope that process will be staffed as quickly as possible."

The public hearings will be this week from 4:30 to 7:30 at each location; Monday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, Tuesday at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, Wednesday at the Chieftain Conference Center in Carrington, and Thursday at the NDSU Research Extension Center in Langdon.

The Environmental Impact Statement can be found at www.grandforksuaseis.com