Air Force in Spokane to Explain Process for Refueling Tankers

By Paige Browning

Air Force leaders already know Fairchild Air Force Base won’t be the first to house the next line of air refueling tankers. But because Fairchild was a contender for the job, the Air Force is hold a public meeting in Spokane Wednesday night about the tanker mission.
Air Force officials are creating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on how the KC-46A fleet would affect four U-S bases. The Air Force has named McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas as the preferred site to house the fleet, but Fairchild, a base in Oklahoma and a base in North Dakota will remain in the EIS.
First Lieutenant Matt Sanders at Fairchild says at the public hearing the Air Force will describe its proposed actions, and accept public comment.
Sanders: “For the initial role out of the KC-46 beddown, it’s not going to be Fairchild. Part of this EIS analysis is to announce the reason’s why that decision was made. That’s not to say in the future the KC-46 won’t be at Fairchild, but right now it’s only an alternate.
Fairchild is the largest employer in Spokane County. Base leaders and the Spokane County Commissioners hope the Air Force will select Fairchild in the next round of replacing tankers. It would increase economic strength, and better protect Fairchild from closure when the Air Force conducts reviews.
The public hearing about the tanker mission is Wednesday night at 5:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Center Ballroom.
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio
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