Public Expresses Support For Forbes To House New Tankers

FORBES FIELD, Kan. (WIBW) - Despite the selection already being made, a few Topeka leaders wanted the National Guard to know they'd still welcome new additions to Forbes Field.

Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast and Shawnee County Commissioner Bob Archer were among those expressing the city's support for the National Guard during a public hearing on a draft environmental impact statement, should a new air refueling tanker land at Forbes Field.

Forbes was among five finalists the National Guard Bureau considered to house a dozen KC-46A aircraft. While Pease Air Guard base in New Hampshire was chosen for the mission, the NGB wants environmental impact statements for all the locations so that, if a problem turns up with Pease, they can move quickly with a backup location.

Officials say a lot of the discussion deals with noise concerns, but they also studied a variety of other factors. Maj. Joe Blubaugh of the 190th Air Refueling Wing says the study looked at any kind of environmental impact whatsoever, including any endangered species that might be in the area and what populations might be impacted by a new weapons systems coming in."

The next step in the process will be to sign a record of decision in June, making the basing proposals final.