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The military is moving ahead with an environmental study of the potential impact of locating a squadron of F-35A fighter aircraft at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, even though the U.S. Air Force didn’t pick the base to host one of the next two F-35 squadrons.

The Pentagon announced this week it will prepare an environmental analysis of all five bases that competed to be the second and third Air National Guard locations for storing, maintaining and training on the F-35A, which is made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Air Force said in December that it would convert two F-16 units in Montgomery, Alabama, and Madison, Wisconsin, to host 20 F-35A aircraft each, pending the completion of environmental analyses required by federal law.

The service said Selfridge and the other two finalists — Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in Idaho and Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida — were “reasonable alternatives” but not preferred.

The cost of modifying facilities at Selfridge to be compatible with the F-35A mission was estimated by the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard to be roughly $11.8 million, with little impact on personnel costs. Selfridge would have the capacity to operate up to 24 F-35s.

The National Guard Bureau plans a public meeting about the environmental study for 5-8 p.m. Feb. 21 at L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Wheeler Community Center in Clinton Township.

National Guard representatives will be available to discuss the proposal at the meeting, where the public may provide written comments and concerns.

Feedback collected at the meeting will be used to help refine and focus on “significant issues” for the impact study – a draft of which is expected later this year. Comments received by April 6 will be considered in the preparation of the draft.

Comments may be submitted online at www.angf35eis.com or sent to Christel Johnson, Environmental Engineer, NGB/A4AM, Shepperd Hall, 3501 Fetchet Avenue, Joint Base Andrews, MD 20762-5157.

mburke@detroitnews.com

(202) 662-8736

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