Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Will Rockets Red Glare Give Proof

In March, JBLM initiated an Environmental Assessment (EA) to study the level of noise that would be created if a field artillery unit on JBLM test fired up to 27 HIMARS Reduced Range Practice Rockets (RRPR) over a three-day period at JBLM Lewis-Main in winter 2016.

The purpose of the proposed action is to collect JBLM-specific noise data during RRPR test firing at the base to determine the noise levels created by firing RRPR at JBLM.

During the proposed test firing, a HIMARS battery would fire up to nine RRPR a day—one at a time—for three days.

Three RRPR would be fired in the morning, afternoon, and evening each day. These rockets would be fired from the Hayes Hill firing point southeast into JBLM’s Lewis-Main Artillery Impact Area. The firing point is located about a half-mile east of I-5; and north of I-5 exit 114.

This EA is only to gather data and assess the noise that would come from three days of test firing. This EA does not evaluate the environmental impacts of conducting routine, long-term RRPR training at JBLM.

The HIMARS RRPR EA is now available for a 30-day public comment period from July 27 through August 25. The draft EA is available HERE.

To submit comments, send an email or write to:

2012 LIGGETT AVE, BOX 339500 MS 17

Comments must be received by August 25, 2015 to be considered.

HIMARS RRPR Open House, 2-2-2
OPEN HOUSE, THURSDAY, AUG. 13, 6-8 p.m.,

The EA will be the topic of an August 13 open house, 6-8 p.m., at the Eagles Pride Golf Course Conference Center at JBLM.

The open house is an opportunity to learn more about the purpose of the environmental assessment, why it was initiated by the Army here, and how the data will be used. Subject matter experts will be on hand to answer questions, and information displays will be available. The public can provide its feedback during the comment period by e-mail or mail.

JBLM’s Eagles Pride Golf Course is accessed via I-5 Exit 116. For more information contact the JBLM Public Affairs Office at 967-0152 or 0158.


RRPR Characteristics: Reduced range rockets (RRPRs) have a range of about 5-9 miles. These rockets will reach supersonic velocity in about one second and remain supersonic for about 3.7 miles. The rockets will hit their targets in about 5-6 seconds. These rockets will fly at an altitude of 1,300 feet for most of this distance. RRPRs are unarmed blunt-nose, high-drag rockets. They do not carry any explosives. Also, all fuel would be expended within 2-3 seconds after launch, so the rocket will be an empty shell on impact.

Anticipated Noise Level: Noise levels directly under the rockets’ flight path may exceed 140 decibels. Sonic booms are also expected. If JBLM were to move forward with winter 2016 RRPR test firing, noise monitors would be strategically placed around the rockets’ flight path. Noise data from these devices would be used to assess how rocket noise impacts I-5 commuters and residents living on JBLM, Nisqually Valley, Nisqually Indian Reservation, Yelm, Roy and other nearby communities. If noise levels exceed an average of 130 decibels a day (e.g., based on the average noise level of nine rockets) at any monitoring station outside the JBLM boundary then stopping these tests would be considered.

If at its conclusion, the assessment produces a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), then this document will be made available to the public 30 days before the proposed action is taken.

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