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Marines hoping to march west

August 7, 2012

By KRIS REILLY, Editor

Despite a chorus of opposition from local citizens and leaders, the U.S. Marine Corps has decided it wants to go west.

The Department of the Navy has completed the final environmental impact statement on the plans for expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

Visit www.marines.mil/unit/29palms/las to review the document and to submit public comments online. According to a Marines press release, a hard copy of the document is available at the Janice Horst Lucerne Valley Branch Library.

The plan — which has not yet been approved — would allow the base to expand westward into the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle area, a prized piece of terrain for off-roading enthusiasts which hosts large annual races such as King of the Hammers.

The Marines would take over 146,667 acres — roughly 57 percent — of the Johnson Valley OHV area. Of that land, roughly 108,500 acres would be taken over permanently by the Marines for training exercises. The remaining portion would be open 10 months per year and closed for two months of combat exercises.

Written comments can be mailed to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Attn: 29Palms EIS Project Manager, 1220 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92132-5190.

Comments must be submitted through the website or postmarked no later than Aug. 27.

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