Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DEP signs agreement for military training missions on public lands


The Florida Department of Environmental protection on Monday signed an agreement with the United States Air Force that will allow for military training missions in the Tate’s hell State Forest.
As part of the Gulf Regional Airspace Strategic Initiative, the Florida Forest Service will allow the Air Force to deploy non-hazardous, no-impact military communications equipment on state lands.
Within 60 days, the Department and Air Force will create a plan where the communications equipment, known as threat emitters, can be deployed.
The Air Force says no live ammunition will be fired on state land as a result of this agreement.
In October the Florida Forest Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Air Force that will allow for military training missions in the Tate’s hell State Forest and portions of Blackwater River State Forest.
Those missions will make use of existing forestry areas, such as the grass air landing strip at Blackwater River State Forest and various helicopter landing pads on Tate’s Hell State Forest.
According to the Air Force, expanding their training into state forests will continue the economic benefits of the military presence in the Panhandle.
It will also help protect Northwest Florida military bases from defense base closures and realignment discussions because of the strong state support for the military installations.


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