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AIT (Atmospheric Interceptor Technology) EA

3.0 AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT

3.1 GEOLOGY AND SOILS, WATER, LAND USE, SOCIOECONOMICS, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, RECREATION, VISUAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCES

The FAA EA has been reviewed by the USAF regarding the existing geology and soils, water, land use, socioeconomics, environmental justice, recreation, visual and cultural resources of Kodiak Island and the proposed KLC site, the area potentially affected by the proposed processing and launch of the USAF ait test vehicle. The USAF adopts those portions of the FAA EA describing the existing environment regarding geology and soils, water, land use, socioeconomics, environmental justice, recreation, visual and cultural resources. The FAA EA is included as Attachment 1 to this USAF EA.

3.2 AIR QUALITY

1. The FAA EA has been reviewed regarding the existing air quality at Kodiak Island and the proposed KLC site, the area potentially affected by the proposed processing and launch of the USAF ait test vehicle. The USAF adopts those portions of the FAA EA describing the existing environment regarding air quality. It has been determined that the air quality analysis provided in the FAA EA on construction and pre/postlaunch operations is complete and sufficient.

2. In addition to the analysis provided in the FAA EA, this document EA provides an analysis of the lower and upper atmospheric air emissions from launch of the two USAF ait test vehicles.

3.2.1 LOWER ATMOSPHERE

For the purpose of this EA, the term "lower atmosphere" is used for the analysis of ground level emissions and emissions that occur within the troposphere, which extend from the ground surface to an altitude of approximately 15 km. This is the region of the atmosphere in which people are directly affected by air emissions.

3.2.2 UPPER ATMOSPHERE

For the purpose of this EA, the term "upper atmosphere" refers to the stratosphere, between the altitudes of approximately 15 km and 40 km. The actual extent of the stratosphere varies as a function of latitude and season. The stratosphere contains the Earth's ozone layer that protects the Earth's surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Most substances which deplete stratospheric ozone are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) under the Clean Air Act. Hundreds of chemical reactions are involved in maintaining and depleting the Earth's stratospheric ozone layer. Some of these atmospheric reactions can be affected by the addition of certain chemicals from launches.

3.3 BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES

1. The FAA EA has been reviewed regarding existing biological resources of Kodiak Island and its environs in general, and the proposed KLC site in particular. The USAF adopts those portions of the FAA EA describing the existing environment regarding biological resources. However, this USAF EA includes a discussion of the Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri), a sea bird, because the USFWS listed it as a threatened species after the release of the FAA EA. In addition, the USAF EA includes a discussion of the Steller sea lion because the NMFS reclassified it as an ÏendangeredÓ species after the release of the FAA EA.

2. For a detailed description of the existing environment regarding other biological resources, the reader is referred to the FAA EA. In addition, Section 4.3 of this USAF EA analyzes the biological resources potentially present at the splashdown sites for the expended first and second stages of the USAF ait test vehicle, and the USAF ait instrumentation package.

3.3.1 STELLER'S EIDER

1. As discussed in the FAA EA, the strait between Narrow Cape and Ugak Island attracts marine birds on a year-round basis because of its shallow waters and abundance of food (i.e., fish and invertebrates) (Environmental and Natural Resource Institute [ENRI], 1995). Eiders and sea ducks common to the area include king eiders, Steller's eiders, harlequin ducks, oldsquaw, black scoters, surf scoters, and white_winged scoters. These species occur in large numbers from November to May. Steller's eiders, which breed during the summer in the area of Point Barrow, Alaska, are a common winter resident in the waters off Kodiak Island, with up to 600 individuals having been observed in the nearshore waters off Narrow Cape (ENRI, 1995).

2. On July 11, 1997, the USFWS determined the Alaska breeding population of the Steller's eider to be threatened pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. This determination was based upon a substantial decrease in the species' nesting range in Alaska, a reduction in the number of Steller's eiders nesting in Alaska, and the resulting increased vulnerability of the remaining breeding population to extirpation. Critical habitat for the Steller's eider has not been designated by the USFWS at this time (Federal Register, June 11, 1997; Vol. 62, No. 112). Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires consultation with the USFWS to assure that federal actions do not impact threatened or endangered species.

3.3.2 STELLER SEA LION AND OTHER MARINE MAMMALS

1. Based on public comments on the Draft EA, the following information is provided: As discussed in the FAA EA, three species of pinnipeds (i.e., Steller sea lion, harbor seal and Northern fur seal) are found in the waters near KLC. There are four major Steller sea lion rookeries (breeding grounds) on and near Kodiak Island and 17 haulout areas (ENRI, 1995). Three of these Steller sea lion haulout areas are within 15.5 miles of KLC (i.e., Chiniak Point, Ugak Island and Gull Point). Ugak Island is the closest haulout area and is approximately three miles southeast of KLC. Approximately 400 Steller sea lions use the Ugak Island haulout area (FAA EA, 1996).

2. Prior to June 1997, due to a declining population, the Steller sea lions were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act for their entire range, which extends from California to Alaska, and into the Bering Sea and North Pacific. Effective June 4, 1997, the NMFS reclassified that portion of the Steller sea lion population found west of longitude 144_ West (a line near Cape Suckling, Alaska) as endangered pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (Federal Register, May 5, 1997; Vol. 62, No. 86). This reclassification includes the Steller sea lion population near Kodiak Island and KLC. The remaining U.S. population of Steller sea lions retain their listing as threatened. Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires consultation with the NMFS to assure federal actions do not impact threatened or endangered marine mammal species.

3. In addition, there are seven species of whales found in the waters near Kodiak Island. However, only humpback and gray whales use the waters near Narrow Cape and Ugak Island.

3.4 NOISE

1. The FAA EA has been reviewed regarding the existing noise environment of Kodiak Island and the proposed KLC site, the area potentially affected by the proposed processing and launch of the USAF ait test vehicles. The USAF adopts those portions of the FAA EA describing the existing environment regarding noise.

2. However, to address the specific noise impacts associated with the launch and reentry of the two USAF ait test vehicles, noise and sonic boom analyses have been conducted. The results of these analyses are discussed in Section 4.4.

3.5 HEALTH AND SAFETY

1. The FAA EA has been reviewed regarding public health and safety as it relates to the operation of facilities and launches from KLC. The USAF adopts those portions of the FAA EA describing the environment regarding health and safety, and adds a specific analysis of the potential health and safety issues directly related to the launch of the two USAF ait test vehicles from KLC. This section provides information regarding health and safety for the USAF ait program at KLC.

2. The reader is referred to the FAA EA for a detailed description of the existing environment regarding health and safety.

3.5.1 PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

1. Public health and safety issues related to the USAF ait program arise from activities involving preflight transport and storage of missile components, missile launch and missile flight. A major launch failure could potentially involve an explosion, missile debris, release of toxic materials into the air or water, high noise levels, and/or fire. Hazardous operations associated with the USAF ait program involve the use of explosives, flammable or toxic products and high-pressure gases.

2. The regulatory environment for health and safety issues consists of existing regulations and practices that have been established to minimize or eliminate potential risks to the general public from activities associated with the launch of a missile such as the USAF ait test vehicle. These regulations and practices include, but are not limited to, Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and USAF procedures for transporting hazardous materials, DoD procedures for handling explosives, and the DoD range safety program for the processing and launch of missiles, such as the USAF ait test vehicle.

3. DoD has an existing range safety program which is utilized to determine areas that will be evacuated for each mission. The objective of the program is to assure that the public is not exposed to unacceptable levels of risk. Range safety policies require areas that could be exposed to missile debris to be evacuated even though there is minimal risk to the public. The use of designated impact zones assures that the risk to the public is eliminated, physical security and safety measures can be enforced, and adverse environmental effects are minimized. The size of the evacuation area is determined based upon the potential for variability of the impact due to influences of local weather conditions, and small variances in the missile guidance and engineering systems.

4. The population of concern for the proposed action consists of persons in the general vicinity of the KLC site, U.S. Coast Guard personnel who periodically work at the Loran-C Station at Narrow Cape, and members of the public who utilize the site for recreation. In addition, other residents of eastern Kodiak Island, including Kodiak City and the U.S. Coast Guard Station, are included when considering public safety.

5. Other than individuals at the onsite Loran-C Coast Guard Station and at a private ranch, few members of the general public utilize the KLC site. In addition, the adjoining area is sparsely populated. Kodiak City and the U.S. Coast Guard Station, located approximately 30 to 40 miles from KLC, are the only sizable population centers on the island. The range safety program will assure that potential impacts will be well within the debris limit corridor (see Figure 4.5-1).

3.5.2 RANGE SAFETY

1. Although there is no existing test range associated with the proposed action, standard range safety operations for the USAF ait program will be applied in accordance with regulations established for Sea Test Ranges at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWC), Point Mugu, California (U.S. Navy, 1997). These procedures provide for flight safety, range clearance and surveillance, commercial air traffic control and ground safety. Included in these procedures are published notice to pilots (i.e., notice to airmen) and notice to ships and boats (i.e., notice to mariners), and coordination with the FAA and U.S. Coast Guard.

2. The NAWC, on behalf of the USAF ait program, will assure that all aspects of safety are covered, including transport of hazardous materials (i.e., solid rocket motors), radio frequency (RF) interference, handling of the motors once they arrive at KLC, operations at the launch site and flight safety. The NAWC is responsible for assuring that the USAF ait test vehicle under any flight condition will not endanger any life or property. Because of the remote location of the launch site, NAWC will use two NP_3D Orion aircraft to provide monitoring and command destruct of the USAF ait test vehicle.

3. During launch preparation activities, ground safety at KLC will be the responsibility of NAWC, with assistance provided by USAF personnel. Hazardous operations will be performed in compliance with mission_specific operating procedures that will provide the requirements and direction for the activities at KLC, including explosives handling safety, hazardous operations control, explosives storage, launch pad operations and launch. Applicable safe operating procedures will be followed in conjunction with DoD Explosives Safety Standard 6055.9 and NAVSEA OP 5, Volume 1, Technical Manual for Ammunition and Explosive Ashore, Safety Regulations for Handling, Storage, Production, Renovation and Shipping.

4. During a launch, various contingency plans will be in effect to cover emergency situations. These include, but are not limited to:

Rocket Motor Mishap: There will be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Plan in place with appropriate personnel and equipment.

Fire: There will be a firefighting crew in place during launch countdown.

Injury: An evacuation plan will be in place to transport injured persons by appropriate means as dictated by seriousness of injury.

3.6 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE

1. The FAA EA has been reviewed regarding hazardous materials that would be utilized and/or result from launch operations at KLC. The USAF adopts those portions of the FAA EA describing the existing environment regarding hazardous materials and waste. However, this section provides information specific to characteristics of the USAF ait test vehicles.

2. For a detailed description of other hazardous materials that will be utilized at KLC, the reader is referred to the FAA EA.

3. The USAF ait test vehicle contains the following hazardous materials or fuels:

Ammonium Perchlorate

Nitroglycerin

2-Nitrodiphenylamine (2-NDPA)

Nitrocellulose

Cyclotetramethylentetranitramine (HMX)

Resorcinol (1,3-Dihydroxybenzene)

Triacetin

Hydraulic Fluid

4. Except for the hydraulic fluid, the above substances are suspended in a binder matrix within the two solid rocket motors. The hydraulic fluid is enclosed in the vector control system and nozzle control system. Under nominal conditions, hazardous materials related to the USAF ait test vehicle do not present a potential impact.

5. Small amounts of potentially hazardous substances such as hydrogen chloride gas (HCl), solid alumina particles (Al2O3), carbon monoxide gas (CO) and nitrogen oxide gas (NO) would be generated from combustion of the solid rocket propellant during launch or in the event of a launch failure or a launch abort.



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