This year, the Air Force announced plans to intensify air operations over the area of southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that is internationally recognized as most biodiverse in the continental United States.
Profound impacts would include:
- Extensive fighter jet training as low as 100 feet, as close as 500 feet to people and homes; flares dropped from 2000 feet, sonic booms created at 5000 feet
- Perpetual threat of wildfire by jet flares, plus environmental impacts such as chronic shock from sonic booms to local Native Nations communities, unincorporated communities, and conservation areas; including over 70 sensitive/at-risk wild species, 14 ESA-Listed species, and what is presumed to be the breeding grounds most densely utilized by the most diverse raptor population on the planet
- Withdrawal of available medical emergency helicopter services
- Potential decimation of species normally triggered to only emerge from hibernation by thunder vibration, such as Spadefoot toads
The Air Force is preparing their environmental impact statement, with a formal decision, expected to be released in late 2023. The Chiricahua Regional Council (CRC) is gathering funds to fight this specific Air Force expansion.
The CRC is a 501c3 with origins in a groundbreaking 1990s battle to prevent the US Government from permitting a giant open-pit mine on National Forest lands in the Chiricahua Sky Islands. Working with community members, CRC’s founders won that fight. They’ve continued their activism as a citizens’ watchdog group for over 20 years - monitoring public agency actions and other issues affecting the Chiricahua, Peloncillo and Dragoon Mountains; and nearby areas of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and adjacent northern Mexico.
We encourage the public to voice concerns to elected officials regarding this impending threat, and contribute to the Chiricahua Regional Council fund, if possible. The Sky Islands are historically sacred to southwest Native Nations, internationally revered in biology and astronomy research, and a national treasure of unparalleled biodiversity.
For reference on this issue:
Our Comments to the US Air Force
Chiricahua Regional Council
Peaceful Chiricahua Skies
US Air Force EIS