We can influence the outcome of this proposal, and we need to speak up. More information below.
To: Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force and Wisconsin elected officials
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 U.S. Air Force plans to station eighteen or more F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison. These jets are a disaster for the city of Madison. They will harm low-income communities, people of color, and children of all backgrounds. They will damage the quality of life in our city. The Air Force’s own Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has identified unacceptable risks and impacts to the well-being of our community.
These jets create dangerously high noise levels. The Air Force says that these jets can be four times higher than F-16s, which currently fly in Madison. They admit that noise near the airport will be so disruptive that over 1,000 nearby households will be potentially “incompatible with residential use.”
These jets will disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color. The people who will be most directly impacted cannot afford to move. Mitigation measures are expensive, offer limited relief, and federal funds, if made available by Congress, would take years to arrive, if ever. Madison doesn’t have enough affordable housing, and F-35s will exacerbate the stark inequities in Madison.
These jets will particularly impact children. Kids in many nearby schools and day care facilities will be subjected to repeated and disturbing noise. This can lead to cognitive impairment, hamper a child’s ability to read, and numerous other health impacts. There are five nearby schools and daycare facilities that would be particularly impacted. The Air Force EIS warns: “Chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels may impair learning.”
These jets lead to significant water pollution. Truax Field is a major source for PFAS contamination. PFAS are “forever chemicals” that pollute our water. Already one city well has been shut down, and the DNR has found high levels of PFAS in Starkweather Creek, which runs through the base. The Department of Defense has refused to clean up its mess. With F-35s, pollution will get worse.
F-35s will have nuclear capabilities. F-35s will be able to carry nuclear weapons in the future. Though the Truax base does not currently have a nuclear mission, the Air Force can change its mission, and Truax could become a military target. The nuclear weapons the F-35 will be outfitted to carry are offensive, first strike weapons, and it is Air Force policy to not reveal the location of its nuclear weapons and capabilities.
Who supports these jets?
The Madison Chamber of Commerce supports these jets and argues that F-35s will help preserve the 1,200 jobs at the Truax base. The Air Force itself disputes this claim, and they even say the economic benefits to Madison will be “negligible.” The Air Force also disputes the claim that the existing 115th Fighter Wing would lose its mission should it not receive F-35s.
In addition, many federal, state, and local elected officials have expressed strong support, or have remained neutral on the question of bringing F-35s to Madison. We believe that these stances are not representative of the people that elected these leaders to serve us.