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Home   •   Archives   •   Spokane Edition   —   Special Edition - Thursday, May 2, 2013


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Study Clears Spokane Tribe's STEP project

At a press conference today, the Spokane Tribe of Indians released the results of an independent study undertaken to assess potential effects of their multi use project on Fairchild Air Force Base. The BIA studied the Fairchild issue thoroughly during the Environmental Impact Study process and now the Tribe is revealing the results of a second independent study that has concluded that STEP and Fairchild can exist compatibly.

"Both the EIS and now the Madison Report conclude that STEP will have no negative impact on existing and future operations at Fairchild Air Force Base. The Spokane Tribe has worked closely with the Air Force and Bureau of Indian Affairs to ensure any and all mitigation measures recommended for the sake of Fairchild were accommodated in the EIS. The Air Force has never expressed concern about STEP regarding so-called encroachment to the base and the Madison Report emphatically shows that STEP will not negatively impact base operations. At a time when we should all be pulling together to address the only real encroachment issue on the base - the mobile home parks - it is unfortunate that some continue to attack STEP with arguments that cannot be squared with the fact-based conclusions set forth in the EIS and the Madison Report", stated Tribal Chairman Rudy Peone.

Madison Government Affairs, a Washington DC based firm with extensive expertise and experience in Air Force installation and basing issues prepared the Report. Conducting the assessment and preparing the report were Paul Hirsch, Madison President, and retired Air Force Lt. General Carl Franklin. Mr. Hirsch and General Franklin have been closely involved in Air Force Base Realignment and Closure issues for over 20 years.

Mr. Hirsch served on the BRAC Commission from 1991-1993 as the Director of Review and Analysis and has represented over two dozen communities since 1993 interested in protecting their military bases and infrastructure. He also worked in Air Force Civil Engineering for 20 years handling real property, housing and congressional affairs matters.

General Franklin twice directed the Air Force's Internal BRAC Commission decision process on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff, chairing the Base Closure Executive Group, a group of 12 general officer/senior executive service civilians charged with evaluating all USAF installations.

Mr. Hirsch and General Franklin visited the area on several occasions, met with civic and business leaders, elected officials and Fairchild leadership, and reviewed voluminous data including Air Force and FAA regulations pertaining to Fairchild, local and regional land use studies, planning regulations and the full Environmental Impact Study prepared by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the project. Madison concludes its Report by stating:

STEP complies with Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration regulations and criteria; it clearly does not compromise mission accomplishment or flying operations at Fairchild Air Force Base; and the air operations have little potential impact on STEP, and those who will use and benefit from its existence within the City of Airway Heights and the region.

Chairman Peone stated that the Spokane Tribe recently enacted its 'West Plains Development Code'; which is designed to implement both the 2009 JLUS Report Recommendations and EIS mitigation requirements. The Code will govern development on the West Plains if the Tribe's gaming application is approved. Spokane County, the City of Spokane and the City of Airway heights have similarly revised their land use ordinances to implement JLUS Recommendations.

In closing, Chairman Peone stated "the Madison Report demonstrates that the BIA is correct to conclude that STEP will not impair existing or future Fairchild operations. STEP will enhance the West Plains and provide a much needed economic boost to the region while protecting our valuable neighbors".

For more information on STEP, visit www.STEPSpokane.com. To View the Madison report, visit www.madisongov.net.

The Clark Company, which publishes How's Business is part of the public relations team working with the Spokane Tribe of Indians.

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