Our mission is to stop the basing of 18 new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets at Truax Air National Guard base in Madison and to force clean-up of existing contamination of the water supply emanating from the base.
“The F-35 project is an example of commercial greed at its most indefensible. It has no place in Madison or anywhere else in Wisconsin.” – John Nichols, Sept. 17, 2019
Environmental and health concerns
- The Air Force has not yet provided funds to study or clean-up the PFAS from fire-fighting foam and other chemicals that have already been used. The Air Force base is a major source of these chemicals, which have leached into the soil at the base, contributing to the shut down of Well 15 by the city.
- The F-35s use a toxic “stealth coating” to evade radar that is a paint that must be reapplied whenever it chips off. When this coating is combusted it is deadly toxic and is hazardous while being applied.
- Jets are manufactured with military grade composite materials which pose hazards in the event of a crash. See Air Force study.
- Noise levels at take-off and landing are at a level dangerous to children and vulnerable adults. Studies have shown effects to internal organs and to learning. Madison-Dane County Public Health Dept analysis, World Health Organization. Also see Understanding the 3dB rule
- No analysis has been done for numerous hazardous air pollutants regulated by the EPA/DNR.
- Air and water quality near the base will be compromised.
- The fossil fuels used by the F-35s are diametrically at odds with the professed desire of local leaders to address climate change and create a sustainable community.
- We acknowledge Madison’s city leaders plan and work to advocate for a clean and sustainable way of life in Madison. We ask that Madison leaders continue to work tirelessly to design a model green Wisconsin city, and work tirelessly to protect our schools, children and communities. https://www.cityofmadison.com/
- Tests of the F-35 have been plagued with numerous mechanical failures and maintenance issues.
- There have been 5 crashes between 2014 and 2018 at air bases in Florida, Idaho and South Carolina.
- Recently, an F-35 crashed in Japan, killing an experienced pilot. The cause: “spatial disorientation“. What else could go wrong?
- We could become a target of attacks to disable our first-strike capacity. The F-35 has been designated part of the Department of Defense Strategic Nuclear Triad – first-strike fighter jets designed to carry nuclear warheads.
- The Air Force itself admits in their EIS that the noise near the airport will be so bad that it will be “incompatible” for many low-income people who reside there. This is a matter of environmental and racial justice, as it would disproportionately affect minorities and people with low incomes. More than 1,000 Madison homes would be ‘incompatible for residential use’ with F-35 jets
- Property values in neighborhoods on the flight path will likely be affected due to the noise levels.
- Our Air National Guard can focus on protecting citizens, responding to natural disasters and other missions. We see no need to expand the base’s mission to include first strike capability.
- Frequent deafening jet noise is already reported by residents on Madison’s East Side. Teaching staff at area schools including East High School, Hawthorne Elementary, Lowell Elementary and Goodman Community Center, Lake View Elementary and Richardson School report that teaching and learning is interrupted by the F-16 flights. The F-35s will be louder than the commercial planes and the existing F-16s.
Cost and Economics
- The military has not allocated funding to clean up the existing contamination at Truax, let alone state who will be responsible for future pollution and contamination.
- The F-35 project nationwide is projected to cost 1.6 TRILLION DOLLARS. Cost overruns are common. Each plane costs nearly $100 million to build, and each flight costs $42,000. As a society we cannot justify that when we have domestic needs that are not being met. Most of Lockheed Martin’s revenues come from F-35 related income. Around one third of the Pentagon budget goes to five corporations — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics…” The Secretary of Defense was formerly a lobbyist for Raytheon, which makes multiple components for the F-35 jet.
- The number of new jobs created is estimated to be 64. The economic benefits to our community are minimal and do not outweigh the costs in any case. Dane County taxpayers pay $201.33 million per year for the F-35 program, which will provide no more than $5 million per year in jobs.
- Truax Air National Guard Base will continue as usual if the F-35s are not located here, as stated by the Air Force in the Environmental Impact Statement. In addition, Air Force officials have confirmed that there are no future plans for closing the base.
- Madison and Dane County show excellent economic growth in other areas and do not need what is offered by this expansion.
- Studies have shows that Investment in clean energy, public education, and health care creates up to twice as many jobs as similar spending on the military.
Moral issues – first strike and nuclear capability
- NOTE: We are told that Truax will not be home to any nuclear capable F-35 jets, nor will Truax be storing any nuclear weapons. If this changes in the future, we may not be notified. However, all F-35’s in the future are expected to be nuclear capable. See National Interest Oct 2, 2019.
- The Department of Defense designated the F-35 as a part of its strategic nuclear bomber force in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. The F-35 is meant to be a first strike bomber – not a defense vehicle.
- Each F-35 jet can carry two nuclear warheads up to four times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.
- Even the smallest nuclear warheads, the B61-12 ,would cause complete devastation to structures and kill everyone in the primary target area. They are particularly dangerous because leaders have expressed willingness to use them.
- Radiation extends further out and causes radiation sickness, injury and death on the periphery. Wind conditions can further spread radiation.
- The U.S. is the only country that has used nuclear weapons, completely destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Japanese people are still struggling with the aftermath, nearly 75 years later.
- Do we want to be complicit in the use of nuclear weapons anywhere?
We Don’t Need the F-35
- Lockheed Martin claims that “The F-16 can fly and fight to 2070 and beyond” and that “the F-16 remains the world’s most successful, combat-proven multirole fighter.”
- The Air National Guard has a range of domestic support missions, including disaster relief both regionally and nationally, firefighting and water assistance, and help with civilian aircraft issues. Cybersecurity and anti-terrorism work are also critical issues that could be addressed or augmented by the ANG.
- Investment in clean energy, public education, and health care creates up to twice as many jobs as similar spending on the military. (watson.brown.edu)
Learn more about the issues on the Burlington, Vermont Save Our Skies website.
The final Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled to be published in February 2020, with a decision expected in March 2020.
Please continue to contact public officials, write letters to the editor, op-eds, call in to radio shows, and talk to your friends and neighbors!
Barbara M. Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force: 1670 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1670
- US Senator Tammy Baldwin: Contact Info or call (608) 264-5338 – Madison or (202) 224-5653 – DC – Ask her to WITHDRAW her 2016 support for F-35s at Truax.
- US Senator Ron Johnson: Email or call (608) 240-9629 – Madison or (202) 224-5323 – DC
- US Congressman Mark Pocan: Submit online comment if you are in his district or call 608-258-9800 – Madison or 202-225-2906 – DC
- Dane County Executive Joe Parisi: (608) 266-4114, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Madison Common Council: Email all alders or find specific alders here
- Dane County Supervisors: Find supervisors here