Silence could be shattered by military jets

 

Note: in the print edition of this issue, this article appears as a sidebar to another news story, "Military in a dogfight for crowded skies."

Brother Erik's days at the Spiritual Life Institute in Crestone, Colo., rely on peace and quiet for contemplative meditation. "We base our life on silence and solitude," he says. He is not eager to share his days with one-person F-16 jets dogfighting 300 feet above the ground.

The Air National Guard, which trains 26 percent of all U.S. Air Force fighters, plans to allow its Colorado branch to increase training missions over the Sangre de Cristo and Wet mountains to up to 5,000 sorties a year. That translates, Brother Erik fears, to incessant screaming overhead. "This shows a total lack of respect for our monastery," he says.

Yet for many locals, the push for expansion of military flights is nothing new. Most opposed the Air National Guard's first plan in 1992 to shift busy military traffic out of Denver and into southwestern Colorado. That opposition sent the agency back to the drawing board (HCN, 3/8/93). This March, the guard released its latest proposal in a 300-page draft environmental impact statement, proclaiming it a "win-win" document. Although the new plan raises allowable flight levels from 100 to 300 feet, it still calls for increasing the amount of air space for military use, as well as the number of flights.

Dale Ahlquist, director of the watchdog group, National Airspace Coalition, charges that the draft EIS relies on "boilerplate language and generic responses' to public concerns and is much the same as the earlier plan. The Air National Guard will accept public comment on the statement until July 19; a final plan goes to the Federal Aviation Administration, which will make the final decision.

For more information about the draft EIS for the Colorado Airspace Initiative, call the National Airspace Coalition at 612/949-3301 or the Air National Guard at 301/836-8143.

High Country News Classifieds
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • RANCH HAND & HOUSING OPPORTUNITY IN DURANGO, CO
    Remodeled home with the opportunity to work off part of rent. Renter(s) must be available to help with lifting, irrigation & outdoor chores, 15-40 hrs...
  • INDIGENOUS LANDSCAPES AND COMMUNITIES DIRECTOR
    YOUR POSITION WITH TNC The Indigenous Landscapes & Communities Program is part of the North America Region's Conservation Collaboration team. The Conservation Collaboration team works...
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...