Oppose the Jets! An Open Letter to the City of Madison, County of Dane Officials

Mayor Satya, Executive Parisi, Nan, Heather, Mary, and other marvelous city and county staffers –
Thank each of you so much for your constant amazing work for Madison and Dane County.  Please come out strongly against siting the F-35s here, and use your influence to get Sen Baldwin to withdraw her support.  I am so grateful to my elected officials Heidi and Syed for their strong advocacy on this issue.

The people of Wisconsin and Madison will not consent to siting the F-35 fighter planes at Truax Field.  Much new information has emerged over the past six months.  Please read the Safe Skies Clean Water website, look at the pros and cons again, and speak our strongly against the Air Force bringing the F-35s here.  Any economic gains would be far outweighed by the burdens.  The impacts from noise and chemical contamination would bring a long list of serious harms to residents’ health. 

Last fall, citizens clarified many concerns by submitting over 6000 comments to the Air Force during the environmental review process.  That was just the beginning.  The opposition continues to grow as we learn more about the damage the F-35s would do here.   A wide array of legal challenges and direct actions are being prepared now to prevent the planes from being sited here.   

On Sunday I attended an excellent forum on F-35s and PFAS at East High School.   It was a very snowy day, the driving was difficult, but the auditorium was filled with hundreds of concerned citizens.  We learned from an expert panel including a Madison alder, a pediatrician, an environmental health scientist and a realtor.   

I learned more about the noise from F-35s.  According to the Air Force’s own environmental impact statement, the zone closest to the airport would be deemed “incompatible for residential use” because of noise levels.  Many schools and day care centers are within that zone, as well as hundreds of homes.  Solidarity Realty has calculated that this area represents a minimum of $255 million of residential real estate.   The costs, which would be paid for locally without federal aid, include soundproofing for homes, schools and businesses.  Recently uncovered easements render hundreds of homes ineligible for any soundproofing subsidy.  Property values would plummet.  Our schoolyards, parks, and backyards cannot be soundproofed.   We learned that the sound maps prepared by the Air Force represent an average of noise levels, when planes are taking off and when they are not.   It is vital that before any decisions are made, we see SEL maps, modeling single noise events, specifically the ear-splitting takeoffs. 

I also learned that our health would be threatened by chemical contamination if F-35s are sited here.  There is a newly-discovered plume of PFAS chemicals in the soil and water around Truax Field which needs to be cleaned up.  It is contaminating our city wells (including Well 15 which is now closed due to PFAS), Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona.  If construction commenced at Truax, PFAS in the soil would be disturbed and further poison our water. 

But the most important thing I learned at the F-35 forum was just how large, well-organized, and full of energy our Safe Skies Clean Water group is to prevent the siting of the F-35s here.  We will parade to Truax on Saturday, February 29, to show we care about our health, our neighborhoods, and our world.  No densely populated urban area would be a reasonable place to site the F-35 planes.  Please help to convince Senator Baldwin of this truth and ask the Air Force to drop Truax from consideration.

Much gratitude,

Janet Parker
Madison, Wisconsin