The United States (U.S.) Navy has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (OEIS) to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with training and testing activities conducted within the MITT Study Area. Many of the training and testing activities addressed in the MITT EIS/OEIS were previously analyzed and authorized under separate environmental documents.
The Navy is proposing to make changes to some military training and testing activities in response to changing requirements and advances in range, equipment and weapon capabilities. Before making any changes, the potential effects on the environment from proposed activities must be studied and evaluated.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 requires federal agencies to examine the direct, indirect and cumulative, or additive, environmental effects of their activities. An EIS is a detailed public document that provides an assessment of the potential effects a federal action may have on the human, natural, or cultural environment.
An OEIS is prepared to comply with U.S. Executive Order 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions, of 1979. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to consider the potential effects of their actions on the environment outside U.S. territorial waters. U.S. territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from shore.
A key purpose of preparing the MITT EIS/OEIS is to continue the Navy’s compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA) for training and testing activities after existing permits and authorizations expire. Permits usually expire every 5 years. The EIS/OEIS was prepared to analyze activities and support the Navy’s request for another 5-year MMPA permit.
The Navy has reassessed and updated previous environmental analyses using the best available science and most current methods to evaluate the potential effects of training and testing activities on the marine and terrestrial environment.