Peaceful Gila Skies
Stop Holloman Air Force Base expansion of military training over the Gila
Draft Environmental Impact Statement Released
Approximately 7 million acres of private and public land are being targeted for expanded military training in the Gila National Forest, Gila & Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas and surrounding communities. We need you!
Two of the three alternatives proposed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) include multiple areas of new airspace over millions of acres of public and private land, stretching from the headwaters of the Gila River to the Rio Grande Valley. Learn more about the Proposed Actions and Alternatives here and the complete DEIS here.
The public has 45 days to provide comments on the document. Public meetings on the DEIS are scheduled in eight communities, including in Silver City on December 4, Socorro on December 2, Truth or Consequences on December 3, and Las Cruces on December 5. More details are available here.
The Threat to the Gila
Holloman Air Force Base is proposing a new Military Operations Area (MOA) for F-16 fighter pilot training over southwestern New Mexico. Potentially, 10,000 sorties a year — 30 a day — or some large proportion of that number, could fly over the Gila, with a thousand of those flights supersonic and a thousand at night. Many of the fighter jets could be flying very fast at low altitudes (down to 500 feet above ground level). Others will drop flares and a radar-deflecting glass/aluminum material called chaff from above 2,000 feet.
The proposed expansion in F-16 flight training in southwest New Mexico could put the health of the Gila National Forest, Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas, and of nearby communities like Silver City at risk from wildfire, extreme noise, and environmental contamination. Our rural economy, trying to wean itself off the boom and bust cycle of extractive industries, relies on our natural amenities to attract tourism, outdoor recreation, and retirees. This economic development strategy may be severely threatened by Holloman’s proposal.
The danger to our community and public lands is much more than a not-in-my-backyard issue. The Gila River, the Gila National Forest, and the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas are part of our national heritage that belongs to everyone.
The wild beauty of New Mexico’s last free-flowing river is worth defending. The country’s oldest wilderness area is worth defending. The white-tailed deer, the coati, the black bear, the pocket mouse—they are all worth defending.
Join us in protecting our Peaceful Gila Skies.