Study minimizes airport noise issue

Capital Times, May 12, 2022
Dear Editor: It would be a typical quiet Sunday morning except the Air National Guard is training fighter jet pilots. Neighborhood noise monitors are exceeding 100 decibels, 10 times louder than the city ordinance. It’s a reminder that the county airport is finally updating its 30-year old noise abatement plan, preparing for arrival of the raucous and unwanted F-35 fighter jets.

It’s also a reminder to get involved if you want Madison to be a healthy and desirable place to live, or combat environmental injustice and racism. The upcoming noise study will determine which parts of Madison exceed the FAA noise standard and which households should be relocated or receive funds for noise insulation. Not unexpectedly, the airport plans to conduct a bare minimum study using the outdated 65-decibel standard. This is 50 years old, and a daily average, which doesn’t represent the noise we actually hear.

A modern study would determine which neighborhoods are over 60 decibels, the threshold used by the Minneapolis airport for noise abatement. A modern study would determine peak noise levels, especially at schools and day care centers, so we better understand the impacts on our children. Even the Air Force EIS estimated peak noise levels.

Of course, noise insulation will not protect anyone who is outside, or our kids in the park or on the playground, or thousands of residents who won’t qualify for noise abatement. It would be more effective for the Air Force to cancel their F-35 plans, for Gov. Tony Evers to find a new mission for the Wisconsin Air National Guard, or for County Executive Joe Parisi to close or relocate the 80-year gas guzzling airport to a safer, less urban location.

Contact your alder and county representative and ask them to get involved. You can also learn more and submit comments here.

Steven Klafka