Release: Safe Skies Sends Petition to Air Force
Contact: Steven Klafka, (608) 255-5030
This past Thursday, Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin sent Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force, and Wisconsin government officials a petition signed by more than 2,000 residents opposed to the beddown of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison. “In light of the coronavirus pandemic, we think it is more critical than ever that our public funds are focused on supporting our community’s health and well-being, not for unnecessary weapons systems that put residents and other nations at greater risk,” stated Vicki Berenson, a leader of the coalition.
The petition states:
We are residents of Wisconsin who oppose F-35 jets being stationed at the Truax Air Force base in Madison. We believe that the combined environmental and economic impacts to nearby residents, workplaces and schools are too great a risk to our community. We request our federal, state, and local elected officials and the Secretary of the Air Force recognize the best interests of our community by choosing not to support the siting of F-35’s in Madison.
The final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Air Force evaluated five potential sites for a squadron of F-35 jets. Unlike other sites, Truax Field is set in a high-density urban area with thousands of residents on Madison’s east and north side. Many residents are low income and minority families. Of the five sites, Truax Field will have the greatest health and environmental justice impacts. The final EIS concludes:
“There would be significant disproportionate impacts to low-income and minority populations as well as children. The increase in noise exposure to the south of the airport would disproportionately impact low-income areas and the increase in noise exposure to the east of the airport would disproportionately impact a low-income minority population. In addition, the Proposed Action could disproportionately impact children.”
Madison and Dane County lead Wisconsin in population growth and employment in the tech sector. Unemployment is so low that the 64 jobs created by the F-35 project is a meaningless benefit. Any benefits would be offset by impacts to the 2,766 people, $225 million of property value, and numerous schools within the projected 65 decibel noise impact zone, as well as the more than 60,000 people that live within three miles of Truax Field.
The Air National Guard (ANG) at Truax Field has contaminated local groundwater, Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona with PFAS from fire-fighting chemicals, exposing residents and causing the shutdown of a municipal drinking well serving thousands of residents. The ANG has been ordered to investigate and clean up this contamination by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is liable for hundreds of million dollars in cleanup costs.
The F-35 jet is an offensive strike fighter and designed to carry nuclear weapons. It is made of composite materials which generate toxic fumes in a crash. It has been plagued by design flaws. The presence of F-35 jets in our urban area will place city residents at risk. As the signers of the petition attest, the combined environmental and economic impacts to nearby residents, workplaces and schools are too great a risk to our community.
Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin continues to educate Madison and Dane County residents about the dangers of the F-35 fighter jet squadron proposed for Truax Field.
Attached photo: Safe Skies leaders [Left to right] Barbara Smith, Vicki Berenson and Harry Richardson mail petition to the Air Force this past Thursday, March 19.
Wisconsin State Journal Article – F-35 opposition group petitions Air Force secretary to send jets elsewhere