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Missile Defense Agency
Courtland Target Assembly Facility
Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
7100 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-7100
This page intentionally left blank.
Courtland Target Assembly Facility Draft Environmental Assessment
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) prepared this Environmental Assessment (EA) to
evaluate the potential environmental consequences of constructing and operating additional buildings, roads, rail line, and utilities at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC) Courtland, Alabama Facility. The Courtland Facility was originally designed to assemble and test interceptor missiles for MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The proposed action would support the assembly of target missiles and payloads to meet the increasing rate of BMDS testing requirements.
Purpose and Need for Proposed Action The purpose of the proposed action would be to construct additional facilities at the Courtland Facility in which target missiles could be assembled, integrated, checked out and ultimately shipped to a test site for use.
The need for the proposed action is to provide additional capabilities to meet the increased demand for reliable target missiles to test the MDA BMDS. Streamlining and consolidating target production is necessary to support the timely fielding of a viable missile defense capability to meet warfighter, national security, and homeland defense needs and will help MDA improve quality control and reduce costs.
Proposed Action The proposed action consists of construction and operation of an expanded Courtland Facility. The Courtland Facility is located in northwest Alabama a few kilometers from the Courtland town center and 64 kilometers (40 miles) west of Huntsville. The Lockheed Martin-owned facility is located on approximately 268 hectares (663 acres) of the 909-hectare (2,245-acre) George C. Wallace Industrial Air Park.
Construction activities would include construction of six new buildings and access roads, a rail spur, and utilities extensions. No modifications are proposed to existing buildings/facilities, and all proposed construction would occur on land owned by or granted in easements to Lockheed Martin. The six proposed buildings and their dimensions are listed in Exhibit ES-1. All buildings would be sited using appropriate Explosive Safety Quantity Distances for the assembly of specific booster types identified by the MDA. Each of the building construction areas would undergo site preparation (clearing and grading), foundation excavation and backfill, utility connection, and building assembly activities. The areas would also be cleaned, seeded, and landscaped with native vegetation.
ES-1 Courtland Target Assembly Facility Draft Environmental Assessment Exhibit ES-1. Description of Proposed Building Construction
The proposed rail spur would extend 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the main rail line in the Town of Courtland and terminate at the proposed MTF at the Courtland Facility. The rail spur would be constructed on top of an older, unused rail bed that runs approximately southeast towards the Lockheed Martin property. A 37-meter (120-foot) long trestle also would be constructed to allow the rail spur to cross over a 4-meter (12-foot) deep ditch.
Operational activities would include preparation, transport, assembly, integration, testing, and temporary storage of the target missiles. Preparation activities already occur at various facilities in the continental U.S. and were assumed to be routine in that they would not result in any significant environmental impact. Therefore, the potential environmental impacts of preparation activities were not analyzed in this EA.
Target components and boosters would be transported via truck and/or rail to the expanded Courtland Facility from locations that could include, but would not be limited to Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in Ogden Utah; Orbital Sciences Corporation, Chandler, Arizona; Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC), Bangor, Washington; Hill Air Force Base (AFB) Utah; Promontory Point, Utah; Camp Navajo, Arizona, and the Lockheed Martin Target Missile Systems (TMS), Huntsville, Alabama. A conservative analysis assumes a total of 80 roundtrip shipments per year by truck or railroad.
Final target assembly, integration, and testing activities would occur at the expanded Courtland Facility. These activities include attaching the target missile front section, interstages, and boosters; loading of simulants or explosives; spinning of the target front section to confirm proper weight distribution; and testing electronics and components.
No ordnance testing, i.e., static firing or launching would occur under the proposed action. After final check out, the target would be either transported to temporary storage in one of the service magazines or transported by truck off site to a launch site.
ES-2Courtland Target Assembly Facility Draft Environmental Assessment
Decommissioning the expanded Courtland Facility would address disposal of infrastructure, equipment, and any unused target boosters and components stored on-site.
It could involve continued or adaptive use by the Department of Defense or other government agencies, sale back to LMSSC or removal and disposal. However, at this time MDA does not know how or when decommissioning would occur and this will be analyzed as appropriate when and if the decision is to be made to decommission the expanded facility.
Alternative 1 would consist of the construction of six new buildings, access roads, and utilities expansion to facilitate target assembly, integration and testing. However, a rail spur would not be constructed to extend from the Norfolk Southern main rail line onto the Courtland Facility property. Rocket boosters and components and assembled targets would be transported to the Courtland Facility only by truck.
No Action Alternative
The no action alternative consists of not constructing the six new buildings, access roads, rail spur, and utilities. Under no action alternative, the MDA would continue to receive and assemble targets and payloads for test events at existing facilities as has been done in the past. Without a single target integration capability, the MDA would not have the benefits of streamlining production of targets needed for BMDS testing. It would lose the cost benefits associated with consolidating equipment and personnel at one facility and time could be lost with longer production processes.
Alternatives Considered But Not Carried Forward
Two alternatives were considered but not analyzed further in this EA. One alternative involved alternate locations for an integrated target assembly facility including Hill AFB, Utah; SWFPAC, Washington; Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Georgia; Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Yellow Creek, Mississippi; Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona; Eastern Range (Cape Canaveral), Florida; and Vandenberg AFB, California. However, these sites did not meet the criteria set by the MDA siting analysis for candidate locations.
Specifically, these sites do not have sufficient acreage either to satisfy explosive safety quantity distances (ESQDs) required for simultaneous processing of Minuteman and C-4 booster-based target vehicles and/or to support two missile assembly buildings, two explosive storage bunkers, an inert processing facility, and up to 150 personnel. Such limitations would not meet the purpose of and need for the proposed action and would compromise MDA’s ability to provide additional capabilities to meet the increased demand for reliable target missiles to test the MDA BMDS. Thus none of these alternate sites were considered further in this EA.
ES-3Courtland Target Assembly Facility Draft Environmental Assessment
The other alternative involved an alternative configuration for the Courtland Target Integration Facilities that would have included the construction of six new buildings, access roads, rail spur, utilities, and an extension of the existing runway and associated takeoff facilities at the Lawrence County Airport. The runway extension would have allowed C-17 aircraft to takeoff and land at the airport. The runway extension portion of this alternative was not carried forward when the cost and construction schedule were found to be prohibitive.
Twelve resource areas were considered to provide a context for understanding and assessing the potential environmental effects of the proposed action, with attention focused on key issues. The resource areas considered included air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazardous materials and hazardous waste, health and safety, land use, noise, socioeconomics and environmental justice, transportation, visual resources, and water resources.
For each resource area discussed in this EA, the Region of Influence (ROI) was determined. The ROI describes the environmental attributes located within a defined spatial region that could be affected by the proposed action or its alternatives. The environmental consequences associated with the proposed action, alternative 1, and the no action alternative, were analyzed for the appropriate ROI for each resource area.
Summary of Environmental Impacts This section summarizes the conclusions of the analyses based on the application of the described methodology. A summary of potential environmental effects of the proposed action, alternative 1, and the no action alternative is included in Exhibit ES-2.
Cumulative Impacts According to 40 CFR § 1508.7, cumulative impacts are defined as “…the incremental impact of the actions when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions.” For this analysis, cumulative impacts include impacts from the proposed action and the past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future activities at the Courtland Facility that would affect the resources impacted by the proposed action. The past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future activities reviewed by MDA include the Boost Vehicle Plus (BV+) program currently conducted at Courtland. The MDA determined that no cumulative impacts would be associated with biological resources, cultural or historic resources, geology and soils, land use, noise, socioeconomic or environmental justice, visual resources or water resources. This determination was based on the analysis above that suggests that most of the impacts would be related to temporary construction activities; operational impacts would primarily be limited to on-site activities. A summary of cumulative impacts for air quality, hazardous materials and waste, health and safety, and transportation is presented below.
Air Quality - Construction would generate particulate emissions (dust) that would add to the impacts from other dust sources in the area such as agriculture activities.
Standard construction methods would be employed to minimize fugitive dust emissions and reduce the amount of dust generated. Emissions from mobile sources would add cumulatively to emissions from other traffic sources in the area. However, because the emissions from activities related to the proposed action were determined to result in a less than measurable impact, even when combined with other mobile emission sources in the area, no significant impact would be expected.
Hazardous Materials and Waste - Historic soil and ground water contamination was identified in certain areas within the ROI; however, no contamination has been identified at the proposed construction-sites. Thus, there would be no substantial hazardous materials and waste impacts to the environment resulting from historic contamination. The types of hazardous wastes and hazardous materials associated with the proposed activities are similar to hazardous wastes currently generated at the Courtland Facility. However, activities under the proposed action would triple the total quantity of hazardous waste generated at the facility. This estimate takes into account the continuation of the BV+ program and it was determined that this cumulative amount of waste would not exceed the regulatory limit of a small quantity generator. Thus, there should be no cumulative impact from the proposed action.
Health and Safety - No cumulative impacts on health and safety would be expected because appropriate Safety Standard Operating Procedures would be followed for both the BV+ and target assembly activities. ESQDs would take into account different explosive potentials associated with operations at each building. Operations
would take place in separate buildings and intrasite transportation would be coordinated to avoid conflicts.
Transportation - The cumulative impact of the additional personnel associated with the activities considered in this EA and those of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities occurring at the Courtland Facility would not impact transportation. Roads around the facility are estimated to be Level A, well-able to accommodate additional traffic that could be associated with the proposed action or continuation of the BV+ program. As such, cumulative impacts on transportation would not be anticipated.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………....…ES-1 ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS………………………………………………....i 1 PURPOSE AND NEED
1.2 Purpose and Need
1.3 Scope of Analysis
1.4 Related Environmental Documentation
2 DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED ACTION AND ALTERNATIVES................2-1
2.1.1 Proposed Buildings
2.1.2 Extension of Rail Line
2.1.3 Utilities and Additional Infrastructure
2.2.1 Background on Targets
2.2.2 Preparation and Transport
2.2.3 Assembly, Integration and Check Out
2.3 Alternatives to the Proposed Action
2.4 No Action Alternative