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Alaska editorial: Review warranted

Posted: November 23, 2012 - 1:05am

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Just the facts, please.

Gov. Sean Parnell is asking, on behalf of Alaskans, a full review and disclosure of the facts surrounding the possible relocation of the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

A move like this isn’t without its effects, and that the Department of Defense realizes this is evident in its intent to proceed with an Environmental Impact Statement review.

This review will benefit both of the communities affected by the eventual outcome — Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The Defense Department intends a public meeting in each community, although clearly that isn’t likely to be sufficient. Public meetings don’t coincide with all members of the public’s schedules; several options are necessary to acquire all of the facts and full participation in the fact-finding process.

In addition to Anchorage and Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley would be affected by the relocation. The 18th’s training would be taking place in the skies over the valley, which undoubtedly has Alaskans there concerned and wanting to participate in the lead-up to the final decision at the end of the process.

For Anchorage it also means finding homes in a tight housing market for additional military families. Consequently, it’s a loss of those families for Fairbanks.

As Gov. Parnell suggests, an additional 60 days for public comment on the proposed relocation will serve both Alaskans and the Air Force.

This will ensure the best possible decision — perhaps not perfect, but best, for all.

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