Been Busy – February Update
More to come – but here’s something you can do right now:
President Biden wants your input and has set up a website for comments. Please let him know we do not want the proposed squadron of $1.5 billion F-35 fighter jets destined for Truax Field. They will promote environmental racism and injustice in our city. We need these funds to be spent fighting the destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safe Skies Incorporates
In December, Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin became a nonprofit corporation. This allows us to take legal action against the Air National Guard and Air Force, and to accept tax-deductible donations.
On December 7th, Safe Skies, with the assistance of our law firm, Dairyland Public Interest Law, filed a lawsuit in the federal Western District Court of Wisconsin against the National Guard Bureau for evaluating impacts of the proposed $80 million construction projects at Truax Field using the a short and incomplete environmental assessment, rather than a more detailed environmental impact statement. We will soon file a separate lawsuit against the Air Force for preparation of an inadequate Environmental Impact Statement for beddown of the proposed $1.5 billion F-35 fighter jet squadron at Truax Field.
Environmental Justice Complaint
Last year, we had meetings with the law schools at several universities and eventually received help from University of Detroit Mercy Environmental Law Clinic. Students evaluated our legal options and will soon help us prepare an Environmental Justice Complaint for submission to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Air Force made it clear with selection of Truax Field for the F-35 jets, “There will be disproportionate impacts to low income and minority populations, as well as children.” President Biden has stated that environmental justice is a priority for his new administration so we hope our complaint will receive the attention it deserves.
Noise Survey Results
On January 4th, we released results of our 2020 Fighter Jet Noise Survey – Fighter Jet Noise Disrupts Lives,Children, and Working from Home. We presented the survey results and comments from over 500 people explaining how they felt about noise from current F-16 fighter jet training. We shared the results with Dane County supervisors and County Executive Joe Parisi, and asked them to contact the Air National Guard to take steps to reduce existing noise levels. We provided a few recommendations, such as having jets follow the county airport counter-flow strategy which sends flights to the north rather than the city, or publishing the schedule for jet training and on-ground testing of jet engines. The noise survey is still available online if you’d like to add your comments.
F-35 Construction at Truax Field
In the spring of 2020, the Air Force selected Truax Field to receive a squadron of F-35 fighter jets by 2024. We have been monitoring Air National Guard plans to begin construction at the base to determine if and how the Wisconsin DNR will verify that disturbed soil and groundwater will not further spread existing PFAS contamination in Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona. Timeline from the Department of Military Affairs
Contacting Representatives and Legislators
Recent elections are changing our city, county and state representatives.
- We are reaching out to newly elected officials and candidates to help them understand the impacts of the proposed F-35 fighter jet squadron.
- We have met with the Governor’s office to encourage DNR enforcement of laws requiring cleanup of the PFAS contamination at the county airport, Truax Field, Starkweather Creek and downstream lakes.
- We have asked Governor Evers to work with Wisconsin National Guard General Knapp to change the mission of the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field to one of the other 44 missions available to the Air National Guard which can be supported by all residents of Dane County and have less negative impact on our community.