Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FAA UPDATE: January 11, 2011

Subject: Kodiak Airport EIS Update
Happy New Year!
This message is to inform agencies and other interested parties of
the status of the Kodiak Airport Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being
prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  As you
know, the purpose of the EIS is to evaluate actions proposed by the Airport
operator, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to
bring the facility into compliance with the most current national aviation
safety standards for runway safety areas.
 At the end of the summer I sent you a note to make you aware that FAA
was conducting a comprehensive review of the runway safety area
alternatives.  That review has taken much longer than anticipated, but I am
pleased to say it is nearing completion.  I won't use e-mail to explain all
of the changes we've made, or the policy rationale and operational
constraints dictating the range of alternatives to be included in the Draft
EIS.  I plan on meeting with you in the near future to convey that
information.  However, I will tell you that the alternatives for both
runways 18/36 and 7/25 will incorporate, to a much greater extent, the use
of EMAS technology to provide added safety margin, particularly for
aircraft overruns while landing or from an aborted takeoff.  Greater
reliance on EMAS should translate to somewhat smaller disturbance
footprints in surrounding marine waters.  (I realize that most of you don't
practice arcane aviation acronyms on a frequent basis, so I'll just remind
you that EMAS stands for Engineered Materials Arresting System, an array of
crushable cellular cement blocks at the end of a runway that cause a rapid
aircraft deceleration.)
I will soon be directing my consulting team to start evaluating
environmental impacts of the new alternatives, and to incorporate these
analyses into a revised EIS.  And, of course, we have made and are
continuing to make other changes to the analyses based in many instances on
the substantive comments made by those of you who reviewed the PDEIS.
I will be scheduling meetings in mid-February, most likely the week of
February 14 or February 21, to review our work with as many of you as are
available.  Our intent will be to present you with a detailed
explanation of the alternatives, including the physical and operational
factors that limit or even prevent consideration of some options and other
rationale used to screen alternatives.  I'll make sure that we spend as
much time as needed to explain the new alternatives and why EMAS appears to
provide Kodiak Airport with particular environmental advantages, as opposed
to more traditional but larger RSA fill construction.  I also hope to be
able to present you with FAA's preferred alternatives.
Our extended review of alternatives has affected the project schedule, but
I still plan on releasing a Draft EIS to the public in mid-2011.   As we
get closer to completion of the analysis and documentation, I will provide
additional updates to inform you of our progress and next steps.
In the next couple of weeks I will send a follow-up message with specific
dates and locations for our February meetings.  In the meantime, please let
me know if you have questions or concerns, at the contact information
below.   And, as always, please let me know if you should no longer be on
our e-mail distribution list, or if your contact information has changed.
If there are others in your organization who should receive these updates
and other information concerning the Kodiak Airport EIS, please forward
this message.  Thanks!  Leslie
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division