USAF to assess environmental impact of Minuteman III, GBSD

By Sara Sirota / September 25, 2020 at 2:50 PM

The Air Force is preparing an environmental impact statement on plans to dispose the legacy Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system and deploy its replacement, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, according to a notice posted on the Federal Register today.

The service is first inviting public feedback over the next 45 days to determine the scope of its assessment and issues the EIS should focus on. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Air Force will not hold face-to-face meetings.

The service later anticipates publishing a draft statement for public comment in spring 2022, followed by a final EIS that will be released one year later.

Disposal of the Minuteman III will occur at Hill Air Force Base, UT, Utah Test and Training Range, UT, Camp Guernsey, WY and Camp Navajo, AZ. GBSD deployment will take place at Warren AFB, WY, Malmstrom AFB, MT and Minot AFB, ND.

“During the transition from Minuteman III to GBSD, the two weapon systems would be partially operated and maintained concurrently for several years; therefore, the EIS also will analyze the overlapping actions and resulting impacts of conducting aspects of the programs in parallel,” the Air Force’s notice states.

“Expected environmental impacts are assumed to result from ground disturbing activities associated with construction of the GBSD system,” the document adds. “It is anticipated that these environmental impacts, will be mitigated to the extent practical or avoided where possible.”

Further, the EIS will assess the environmental impact of an alternative scenario in which the Air Force continues maintaining and operating Minuteman III and does not deploy GBSD.