Facts and Fictions – Air National Guard Draft Environmental Impact Study

Air National Guard (ANG) Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) Facts and Fictions 9-18-19 (PDF)

This document compares fictions that the public is hearing with the actual facts stated by the Air Force, Air National Guard and Department of Defense. Note that certain organizations have large marketing budgets. We, the people, just have our voices!

Fictions stated by GMCC*, BACC* and supporters Facts stated by Air Force, ANG and Dept of Defense
“When the F-16s are gone, not every Air National Guard unit is getting F-35s. When they go away, nothing is replacing them except the F-35s” The EIS states, “Under the No Action Alternative, the ANG would continue to conduct their current mission using existing aircraft.” ANG command staff have repeatedly confirmed that Truax has a strategically important Homeland Defense flying mission which will continue regardless of what types of planes are used. If the F-35s don’t come here newer model F-16s or drones could replace the current F-16s when they go out of service.
Truax will be threatened with closure if F-35s aren’t sited here. ANG staff have stated that the final round of the federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process wrapped up in 2005. Truax is not on any list for closure. No new BRAC process is on the horizon.
The impacts described in the EIS are a worst case scenario. Neither the EIS nor the ANG nor the Air Force have said this is a worse case scenario. The EIS says “Analysis of affected environment provides a benchmark that enables decision-makers to evaluate
the environmental consequences of the proposed beddown alternatives at each installation.”
The adverse impacts can be handled through mitigation. The EIS states that USAF does not have authority to expend appropriated funds to mitigate the noise effects on facilities that are not under the direct control of the USAF. The EIS further states that the existence of the FAA mitigation Program 150 “is not a guarantee that sound mitigation or abatement will take place.” ANG Lt. Col. Statz has confirmed that the Airport can’t even begin applying for FAA mitigation funds untill after all 18 F-35s have been deployed, a minimum of 2 years. ANG command staff confirm that flight paths are weather-dependent and can’t be strictly adhered to in practice. Mitigation of the outdoors is not possible.
F-35s are the future of the Air Force In its 2020 budget request, the US Department of Defense requested fewer F-35s than planned. According to a recent US Government General Accounting Office report, the US Department of Defense has not yet made a decision for full rate production of F-35s due to several years delay in operational testing, which is still not complete. The US Department of Defense has not fully committed to the F-35, and Congress hasn’t yet provided funds for full production. https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/698748.pdf
Noise at 65 dbl sounds like a vacuum cleaner 3 feet away The EIS uses an avg over 24 hours to plot the noise contours. The EIS states that at take off noise levels reach 116 decibels which sounds more like a jackhammer and could cause hearing loss.
Fictions stated by elected officials Facts stated by the Air Force and City of Madison staff
The City of Madison has no say in the selection process. The comment period for the Draft EIS is part of the federally mandated formal decision making process where the public and their representatives are explicitly requested and encouraged to have a say. Now is quite specifically the time for the City to have a say in the process.
Madison has already been selected and it’s inevitable that the F-35s will come here at some point in time. At the ANG Open House held on September 12 Col Erik Peterson, Commander of the 115th FW said, “No final decision has been made. Until a final decision has been made all alternatives are under consideration and are treated equally.”
Opposing the siting of F-35s weakens the City’s negotiating position in future noise mitigation efforts. The City has no negotiating position at all. The EIS confirms that the owner of the Airport has responsibility for mitigation of adverse noise impacts and may apply for FAA funding after all the aircraft are operational. The City of Madison staff report on the EIS states, “… the City of Madison would have no official role in any potential noise mitigation study or program. The inability for the City to act on behalf of its residents and in the best interest of City-owned housing is a concern.”
The sound study says these new, more powerful planes would only engage in afterburner takeoffs 5% of the time (rather than 60%), which suggests less noise. The EIS states, “The primary cause for the growth to the north and south would be due to the F-35A departures, which are louder than the F-16…” The second noise study done in Burlington, VT revealed that reduced use of afterburners resulted in a wider area of impact. Without the afterburners, the jets will take off slower and lower to the ground.

*Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce (GMACC) & Badger Air Community Council (BACC) had a public relations fund of $170,000 to form Together Truax, as of March 2018.