Copied from my earlier post in the Open Forum:
I think everyone needs to read the EIS and see what the USAF is proposing.
While I understand that we need our military and that our pilots need training, this is not the place for it. A couple of items in the proposal: Training flights over our area, including Silver City and portions of the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas; some of these flights could be as low as 1800 ft above ground level or even lower. Not exactly part of the wilderness experience our visitors expect. Also, over the entire Military Operations Area, the proposal includes dropping nearly 123,000 pieces of LITTER (flare debris and metallized glass fiber chaff)per year. Public comment period ends December 10; there will be only one local public meeting, December 4 in Silver City. Make yourself heard!
The good news is that the comment period has been extended through January. Unfortunately, the representatives at this meeting were only "taking comments" and not giving any responses so we don't have any idea if anyone is actually listening. Therefore we still need everyone to send comments. There were many great and well researched comments. There were many impassioned pleas to respect and protect the magic of the Gila Forest and Wilderness. Yet it won't be enough until every citizen of this county has shared their comments as well.
One effect of this meeting actually warmed my heart. There were people who might otherwise argue over all sorts of issues, of every political and religious beliefs, of every age demographic, from every sub-community, representing all sorts of organizations, small businesses, and residents from all parts of our county. This is more than "Not in my backyard." This is a community taking action to protect our shared resources. As one speaker noted, should the powers decide against us, there WILL be lawsuits because we are not going away.