Final Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) Site-wide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)


 

Documents

Record of Decision (0.7MB)

Final Site-Wide PEIS (full version, 51.2 MB)

Final Site-wide PEIS without Appendices (document only, 22.8 MB)

Individual Appendices:

Project Announcement Board

Updated July 2019

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY

NASA WFF is pleased to announce the release of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final PEIS. To ensure that all members of the public had the ability to actively participate in the NEPA process, NASA issued a ROD no sooner than 30 days from the release of Notices of Availability (NOA) of the Final PEIS documents, which were published in May 2019 in the Federal Register, through local news media, and on this website.

The Final PEIS was also available for review at the following locations:

  • Eastern Shore Public Library, Accomac, Virginia;
  • Chincoteague Island Library, Chincoteague Island, Virginia;
  • Eastern Shore Public Library, Accomac, Virginia;
  • Northampton Free Library, Nassawadox, Virginia; and
  • NASA WFF Visitor's Center, Wallops Island, Virginia.

All questions or requests for hard copies of the Final PEIS should be submitted to the following:

   NASA Wallops Flight Facility
 Site-wide PEIS - Shari Miller
 Mailstop: 250.W
 Wallops Island, VA 23337
Shari.A.Miller@nasa.gov
 (757) 824-2327

A toll-free number, (800) 521-3415 is also available for persons outside the local calling area. When using the toll-free number, please follow the menu options and enter the pound sign (#) followed by extension numbers 2327.

Return to top.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) established a national policy to protect the environment by requiring Federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions on the human environment prior to implementing said action(s) and to give the public the opportunity to participate in the planning process. NASA is in the process of preparing a PEIS to consider the potential effects from its Proposed Action. This PEIS is being prepared to fulfill NASA's obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 1500 through 1508), and NASA's Procedural Requirements (NPR) for implementing NEPA (NPR 8580.1).

Return to top.

Background

WFF is a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) field installation located in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The facility consists of three distinct landmasses - the Main Base, Mainland, and Wallops Island - totaling nearly 2,630 hectares (6,500 acres). It is the oldest active launch range in the continental United States and the only range completely under NASA management. For over 65 years, WFF has flown thousands of research vehicles in the quest for information on the characteristics of airplanes, rockets, and spacecraft, and to increase the knowledge of the Earth's upper atmosphere and the near space environment. The flight programs and projects currently supported by WFF include sounding rockets, scientific balloons, manned and unmanned experimental aircraft, space shuttle and orbital tracking, next-generation launch vehicle development, expendable launch vehicles, and small and mid-size orbital spacecraft. To meet the safety and technical requirements of its various missions, many of WFF's primary launch support facilities reside on Wallops Island which is located directly along the Atlantic Ocean.

In keeping with the principles, goals, and guidelines of the 2010 National Space Policy, WFF not only fulfills its own mission, but also provides unique services to NASA, commercial customers, defense, and academia. One guiding principle of the National Space Policy is for Federal agencies to facilitate the commercial space industry. Recent growth of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island is an example of WFF's commitment to making commercial access to space a reality. Another goal of the 2010 National Space Policy is for Federal agencies to improve partnerships through cooperation, collaboration, information sharing, and/or alignment of common pursuits. WFF supports aeronautical research, science technology, and education by providing other NASA centers and government agencies access to resources such as special use (i.e., restricted) airspace, research runways, and launch pads. For example, WFF regularly enables a wide array of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) research and development and training missions, including target and missile launches, and aircraft development. In support of the 2010 U.S. National Space Policy, as updated by the 2013 U.S. National Space Transportation Policy and the 2017 Presidential Memorandum on Reinvigorating America's Human Space Exploration Program, WFF would make its facilities available to commercial customers for research, development, and operation of orbital and suborbital vehicles.

NASA is in the process of updating its 20-year Master Plan, which proposes several new facilities and infrastructure improvements. As such, NASA is preparing this consolidated Site-wide PEIS to analyze potential impacts to the human environment from ongoing and proposed missions and operations.

Additional information about NASA's WFF may be found by clicking here

Return to top.

Alternatives Considered

The Site-wide PEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts from the Proposed Action and a No Action alternative.

The Proposed Action, NASA's preferred alternative, is to increase WFF's ability to support a growing mission base in the areas of civil, defense, and academic aerospace. To accomplish this, NASA has set strategic facilities and infrastructure goals to support existing missions and provide modernize functionality to meet future operational mission requirements.

To achieve these goals, WFF is proposing changes to both Institutional Support Projects and Operational Missions and Activities. Institutional Support Projects would affect the physical environment of the installation by constructing new facilities and removing old, outdated facilities on the Main Base, Mainland, and Wallops Island; changing existing land uses on the Island to permit concurrent hazardous activities; and focusing new construction to the maximum extent practicable to previously disturbed and developed sites. The Institutional Support Projects presented include replacement of the causeway bridge, maintenance dredging in the channel between the boat docks at the Main Base and Wallops Island, and development of a deep-water port and operations area on North Wallops Island. Several of the Institutional Support Projects would directly correlate with new Operational Missions and Activities proposed by WFF's partners. These include the construction and operation of Launch Pad 0-C and Launch Pier 0-D to accommodate larger launch vehicles (LVs), smaller launch pads to accommodate Department of Defense (DoD) initiatives, and construction of a commercial space terminal and extension of Runway 04/22 for horizontal launch and landing vehicles.

In addition to ongoing Operational Missions and Activities, the Proposed Action considers several new activities including the introduction of new NASA and DoD programs; the expansion of launch vehicle (LV) services with liquid fueled intermediate class LVs and solid fueled heavy class LVs; and consideration of commercial human spaceflight missions and the return of launch vehicles to the launch site.

Return to top.

Public Involvement

Scoping
NASA published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare the Site-wide PEIS and conduct scoping in the July 11, 2011, edition of the Federal Register.

NASA and its Cooperating Agencies held a public scoping meeting where information on the Site-wide PEIS was solicited regarding environmental concerns and alternatives for consideration in the PEIS. It was held on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at the WFF Visitor Center from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The public scoping meeting presentation is available online. Also available for viewing are the posters displayed at the public scoping meeting, as well as the Fact Sheet distributed to attendees.

Draft PEIS Review

NASA published a Notice of Availability (NOA) in the May 4. 2018, edition of the Federal Register to announce the 45-day public comment period of the Draft PEIS. Public notices were also published in the Eastern Shore News, Chincoteague Beacon, Eastern Shore Post, and The Daily Times.

A public meeting was held at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

In accordance with 15 CFR 930.2, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) invited the public to participate in the review of the Federal Consistency Determination submitted for NASA's proposed action. A public notice was published in the VDEQ's Office of Environmental Impact Review Program Newsletter and on the VDEQ website from May 11 through June 21, 2018.

In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.9, EPA published an NOA of the Draft PEIS in the Federal Register on May 4, 2018.

Final PEIS Review
NASA published a Notice of Availability (NOA) in the May 13, 2019, edition of the Federal Register to announce the 30-day public review period of the Final PEIS. Public notices were also published in the Eastern Shore News, Chincoteague Beacon, Eastern Shore Post, and The Daily Times. Appendix I of the Final PEIS provides the public notices, meeting materials, and comment letters received during the Draft PEIS comment period in preparing the Final PEIS.

Return to top.
 

Cooperating Agencies

 

The Site-wide PEIS will serve as a decision-making tool not only for NASA, but also for its federal Cooperating Agencies. Each of these agencies will be involved closely in NASA's NEPA process, given the potential for their undertaking actions related to NASA's, as summarized below:

site-wide partner banner

Return to top.