F-35s in Madison: What Are the Issues?
Madison has been chosen as one of five potential sites to acquire a squadron of eighteen F-35 fighter jets. All F-35 jets will eventually have the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons. These weapons may or may not be stored in the Dane Co. Airport, but that information will not be made public. However, having the delivery systems in our city makes us a target. We must also weigh the economic and military benefits for siting the jets here against the potential for disruption and lowered quality of life for many Madison citizens.
- August 9, 2019 – Draft of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is released to the public.
- September 27, 2019 – Deadline for submitting comments to the Draft of the Environmental Impact Statement.
- January 2020 – Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be released.
- March 2020 – Review of the Air Force Joint Use Agreement by Dane County Board.
- The F-35 will be four times louder than the current F-16s, and will fly 47% more often.
- This level of noise can have a detrimental effect on a variety of people including those with PTSD, autism, mental illness, and other neurological and sensory vulnerabilities. Children will especially be affected.
- There will be at least 292 people living in the 132 homes that will be in the 70-75 dB DNL* zone. There are 1, 318 households and 2,766 people exposed to noise within the 65 dB DNL* zone. , These areas are deemed “potentially incompatible with residential use” in the Environmental Impact Statement.
- Some noise abatement funding may be available after a lengthy review process which would not begin until approximately two years after beddown is initiated and flights are stabilized. There will be an initial increase in flights due to having both F16s and F35s on base.
*DNL is the sound level averaged over a 24-hour period. The EIS used this calculation to determine the zone for homes that are “incompatible for human habitation.” However, this number does not convey the immediate impact of the sound at take-off. The actual sound at take-off in the back yard of a home in the 75db zone is equivalent to a rock concert next to the speakers, and a close up power saw in the 65db zone.
Racial, Social and Economic Justice
- A disproportionate number of vulnerable houses are occupied by low income and minority populations.
- Children will be particularly impacted by increased noise levels, producing cognitive impairment, negative effects on reading and memory, and post-traumatic stress.
- Medical studies have shown that noise has a far-reaching impact that can lead to stress, sleep disturbance, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.
- This level of noise can have a detrimental effect on a variety of people including those with PTSD, autism, mental illness, and other neurological and sensory vulnerabilities.
- No analysis has been done for hazardous air pollutants regulated by the EPA/DNR.
- The Air Force has not yet provided funds to study or clean-up the PFAS and other chemicals that have already been used.
- These chemicals have leached into the soil at the Air Force base. Madison has had to shut down Well 15.
- Dane County is responsible for all noise abatement.
- A portion of the costs for Truax to accommodate the F-35 will be borne by state and local taxpayers, including clean-up of existing contaminants at the base and mitigation and re-housing for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods. (angf35eis.com)
- Costs could reach tens of millions to relocate people and soundproof homes in the area potentially incompatible for residential use. There will be no funding for abatement for the homes of the 60,000 people immediately surrounding that area, who will also be affected.
- Each F-35 jet costs nearly $100 million, and each flight hour will cost $42,000. (Disquieting, Isthmus, July 5-11, 2018 – Air Force data.)
- Wisconsin taxpayers already pay $201.33 million per year for the F-35 project.
- The F-35s will only provide 64 new jobs which will increase the tax base by only $1.8 million. Investment in clean energy, public education, and health care creates up to twice as many jobs as similar spending on the military.
What you can do:
- Contact elected officials: City Council, Dane County Board, State Senate and Assembly, and US Senate and Legislature.
US Senator Tammy Baldwin 608-264-5338 (currently a supporter of the F-35)
US Senator Ron Johnson 608-240-9629 (currently a supporter of the F-35)
US Representative Mark Pocan 608-258-9800 (on the fence about the F-35, gathering information)
- Comment on the Draft of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by September 27, 2019.