[NOTE: following are the comments I just submitted via this link to the Air National Guard opposing siting F-35s in Madison. The deadline for comments was September 27, 2019, but on September 26th, it was extended to November 1st. I appreciate the work of our local officials from whom I have borrowed some of their research for my comments].
I am writing as a resident of the near-east side of Madison to object to the siting of F-35s at Truax Field. There are many reasons to object. They include the following:
1) The Air Force has failed to conduct adequate outreach to the most impacted communities. The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) has not been made available in any language other than in English despite the fact that the impacted neighborhoods have many non-native English speakers.
2) The draft EIS does not include peak decibel levels for take offs and landings which is when the impact will be its greatest. It also fails to adequately describe decibel levels during afterburner usage, which appears to be greatly underestimated.
3) There is an insufficient economic analysis on the local economy, particularly diminished property values of the impacted properties, or impacts on businesses in the flight path.
4) There is insufficient information on the physical and cognitive impacts on the children in the area. The flight path is over 3 schools and even if the Air National Guard provides the school district with funding to sound proof these schools (which it has not promised), that will not help when the children are outdoors for recess, physical education or while entering and exiting school.
5) The Air National Guard has failed to mitigate the PFAS pollution that it has caused to our drinking water and until it does, it should not expand its operations in any way.
6) Many public officials, including the City Council, school board, and water utility, as well as legislators have either actively opposed this siting or asked questions that remain unresolved. The Air National Guard should respect these public officials and respond to all concerns prior to finalizing a decision.
7) Even the inadequate EIS identifies 1000 impacted homes and nearly 4000 people who live in them and it concedes that many of these people will experience noise levels that will make these homes uninhabitable. It is simply unacceptable to force an unliveable situation on so many people, especially because a large portion of them are low-income and will not have the means to move elsewhere. Even if the Air National Guard provides soundproofing for these homes and businesses, that will not make people’s yards livable. Madison is already experiencing an affordable housing crisis and homelessness. Siting the F-35s at Truax will severely exacerbate this problem.
In sum, I appreciate that we live in a country where we have the opportunity to comment on the siting of military equipment. Many Madisonians are skeptical that your acceptance of our comments will have an impact. I am urging the Air National Guard to prove these skeptics wrong by taking our concerns seriously and modify the proposed siting to a location that will not destroy the quality of life for so many people.
Thank you for your consideration of our input.
For more information on how I can help you accomplish effective, progressive systems change contact Jeff Spitzer-Resnick by visiting his website: Systems Change Consulting.