Letter to Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, and Bobby Sturgell, Acting Administrator of the FAA, Re: Proposed Expansion of Bulldog Military Operating Area in East-Central Georgia
Isakson, Chambliss Express Concern over Proposed Expansion of Bulldog Military Operating Area in East-Central Georgia
Ask Air Force, FAA to Consider Potential Negative Impact on Civilian Airports
Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today sent a letter to Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, and Bobby Sturgell, Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, expressing their concern over the proposed expansion of the Bulldog Military Operating Area in East-Central Georgia and the negative impact it could have on operations at civilian airports in that region.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear Secretary Donley and Administrator Sturgell:
Today our staffs met to discuss the proposed expansion of the Bulldog Military Operating Area (MOA) over East-Central Georgia. We had previously written to you regarding this issue, and appreciate you making your staffs available to meet.
We strongly support the ability of the Air Force to conduct necessary training and operations in support of its readiness and our nation's security, and recognize the requirement it has. We remain concerned, however, about the potential impact the proposed expansion as outlined in the letter we received from Colonel Miller on March 10, 2008 may have on operations at civilian airports in Emanuel County, Georgia, and Millen, Georgia.
Specifically, the community is concerned that the proposed expansion may negatively affect arrivals and departures flights into the Swainsboro / Emanuel County airport and that the recent upgrades to the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport may be negated by the proposed expansion. Swainsboro is also concerned about communications issues and delays as they relate to instrument arrival and departure clearances at the airport. Both communities are concerned about MOA usage notifications between the Wing and the airports, and the steps forward with regards to the MOA should traffic at these airports increase and necessitate new airspace needs.
We appreciate the reassurances by your staffs that they will take these, and other concerns raised at tomorrow's public meeting, into consideration and that both the Air Force and FAA will work to mitigate these concerns before implementing changes to the MOA. We hope that the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration can agree on a proposal and a process of closing the MOA to accommodate arrivals and departures into these airports so as not to negatively affect existing or dissuade future commercial air traffic and economic development, and we stand ready to assist you in any way possible in this regard.
We appreciate you keeping us fully informed as this issue develops, and we intend to carefully follow this issue to ensure that out national security needs are met without negatively impacting operations at local, civilian airports in Georgia.
Very truly yours,
United States Senator
United States Senator
The community will have an opportunity to engage the Air Force and the FAA and share their comments at a public meeting on October 23, 2008. Isakson and Chambliss encourage all interested residents to attend the meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Augusta Regional Airport, Large Conference Room, 1501 Aviation Way, Augusta, Ga.
The FAA and the Air Force have extended the public comment period to November 24, 2008, and have pledged to Isakson and Chambliss that they will look at ways to mitigate the existing concerns of the community.
State Senator Jack Hill, State Representative Butch Parrish and other elected officials as well as Bill Rogers and the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce have worked with Isakson and Chambliss on this important effort.