The FAA has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment that had been prepared for the proposed Williston Basin International Airport. This approval of the Environmental Assessment (EA) fulfills the federal environmental review allowing the City of Williston to move forward with its plans to build a replacement airport for Sloulin Field International Airport. In addition, a FAA grant has been award to the City of Williston for the Williston Basin International Airport in the amount of $27 Million dollars, signaling the FAA’s commitment to the project.
The environmental assessment process began in 2012 while the City of Williston was searching for a potential relocation site for Sloulin Field. During the site selection process, the City looked for areas within Williams and McKenzie counties that were the most compatible for airport development and had the least potential environmental impacts.
With this step complete, the City of Williston will be proceeding with the design process for the new airport and beginning the initial steps of land acquisition.
“We are excited to have received this environmental finding. This is a very exciting project for the city of Williston and the entire region. We look forward to getting the new airport built and improving our access to the rest of the country and the world” said Howard Klug mayor of City of Williston, stating further, “without the assistance of Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp, Representative Cramer and the State of North Dakota we would never have been able to accomplish this task.”
“We are excited to have the EA approved so we can move out of the planning phase to the design and construction phase.” stated Steven Kjergaard, Airport Director for the City of Williston. He further went on to state that the FAA and the North Dakota congressional delegation has been extremely helpful with this project in keeping the process moving. “There are a lot of planning and environmental steps that must be taken for a project of this magnitude, and it is needed to ensure that we construct an appropriately- sized airport that will be able to meet the FAA standards.”
Steven stated several key individuals and offices within the FAA have been instrumental in review and assistance with this project, including FAA administrator Michael Huerta and regional administrator Barry Cooper, who visited Williston in 2014 to discuss this project. Other notable FAA staff include regional airport division manager Sue Schalk, airports district office manager Chris Hugunin, regional environmental specialist Lindsay Butler, regional planner Rich Kula and assistant airports district office manager Laurie Suttmeier.
The next major step in the process will be to finalize the funding package for the estimated $254 million relocation project. The city anticipates funding from the State of North Dakota of approximately $58 million from the Energy Impact Grants. In addition to the grant announced today, the city has submitted a Letter of Intent funding application for approximately $120 million in discretionary funding and $25 million in entitlement funding from the FAA. The city will be responsible for the balance of the project costs. Initial financial plans indicate that the local share of the project is anticipated to be able to be funded through the sale of the existing Sloulin Field International Airport property and other revenue generated from fees and charges collected at the new airport.by