The U.S. Navy has been training in the Gulf of Mexico (GOMEX) Range Complex for
national defense purposes for nearly seven decades. To support continued training in the GOMEX Range Complex, the Navy has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) for current and future training and testing
operational activities in the Range Complex.
Why is the Navy conducting an Environmental Impact Statement?
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 requires federal agencies to examine
the individual and cumulative, or additive, environmental impacts of their activities. An EIS is
a detailed public document that assesses the potential impacts a federal action may have on
the human, natural, or cultural environment. An OEIS is also required under Executive Order
12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions, enacted by President Carter in
1979. This order requires federal agencies to consider the impacts of actions that may affect
the environment outside U.S. territorial waters. Since the GOMEX Range Complex is both
inside and outside US territorial waters, the Navy will address the requirements of NEPA and
EO 12114 in a single document.
The Navy’s sea ranges in the Gulf of Mexico provide U.S. Service members with the space and
equipment needed to conduct realistic, at-sea training and testing, which is essential for the
safety and readiness of military personnel and the success of the military mission.
The Navy has prepared the GOMEX Range Complex EIS/OEIS to assess the potential effects
of their ongoing and anticipated operations on the environment. The GOMEX Range Complex
EIS/OEIS also allows the Navy the opportunity to review its procedures and ensure that
the benefits of recent scientific and technological advances are applied toward minimizing
How can the community be involved in the development of this document?
The NEPA process emphasizes the importance of community involvement during the development
of an EIS/OEIS. The diagram on the front page illustrates the steps of the NEPA process, with
the highlighted boxes indicating opportunities for the public and interested stakeholders to
The Navy held four scoping meetings to inform the public of the proposed action and to
seek public comment. At each scoping meeting, informational poster stations and Navy project
team representatives were available to answer questions about the NEPA process, the proposed
action, and the Navy’s environmental stewardship programs and protective measures. Government
agencies, organizations, and the public were encouraged to submit comments at the scoping
meetings or to provide written comments during the public comment period. The Navy carefully
considered each of the comments received and addressed them in the Draft EIS/OEIS.
The U.S. Navy held four public hearings and a public comment period to receive oral and written comments on the Draft
EIS/OEIS. Federal, state and local agencies and interested individuals were invited to be
present or represented at the public hearings. Open house sessions preceded the
scheduled public hearings at each of the locations and allowed individuals to review the
information presented in the Draft GOMEX Range Complex EIS/OEIS. Navy representatives were
available during the open house sessions to clarify information related to the Draft EIS/OEIS.
When and where will the public hearings be held?
To encourage public input, the Navy held public hearings for the GOMEX Range Complex EIS/OEIS at four locations in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. The dates for the Draft GOMEX EIS/OIES public hearings were as follows:
Panama City Beach, FL
Bay Point Marriott
4200 Marriott Drive
Monday, February 2, 2009
5 pm – 9 pm
New World Inn
600 South Palafox Street
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
5 pm – 9 pm
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
5 pm – 9 pm
Corpus Christi, TX
Holiday Inn - Emerald Beach Hotel
1102 South Shoreline Blvd.
Friday, February 6, 2009
5 pm – 9 pm
Each hearing began with an open house poster session from 5-7 p.m. This provided the public
an opportunity to meet with Navy subject matter experts and learn more about the DEIS/OEIS.
A formal presentation and public comment period were held from 7-9 p.m. The Navy welcomed
the public's comments during this time.
Are project documents available at publicly accessible locations?
In addition to holding public hearings, the Navy has established a user-friendly Web site
that makes it easy to find out what environmental documents are being developed and how to
comment on them. The Web site also provides background information on environmental topics
evaluated in these documents for those who want to learn more. The Final EIS/OEIS is
available for public review at the following information repositories:
Bay County Public Library
898 West 11th Street
Panama City, FL 32401
West Florida Public Library
25 West Government Street
Panama City, FL 32401
Walton County Coastal Library
437 Greenway Trail
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Pensacola Public Library
200 W. Gregory Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library
2517 Seventh Street
Meridian, MS 39301
Ben May Main Library
701 Government Street
Mobile, AL 36602
| East Bank Regional Library
4747 W. Napoleon Ave.
Metairie, LA 70001
New Orleans Public Library – Main Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112
La Retama Central Library
805 Comanche Street
Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Southmost Branch Library
4320 Southmost Blvd
Southmost, TX 78522
The comment period ended on February 16, 2009.