F-35s in Madisonposted
Yesterday I along with Alders Abbas, Foster, Heck, Rummel and Kemble introduced a resolution for consideration at the 9/17 Common Council meeting: Responding to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Air National Guard F-35A Operational Beddown.
The lengthy resolution summarizes points in the Air National Guard's Environmental Impact Statement as well as the City of Madison staff analysis of the EIS, and concludes:
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Madison Common Council concludes that the adverse impacts described in the Draft EIS will substantially reduce the quality and quantity of current affordable housing stock, decrease the value of the property tax base, reduce opportunities for Transit-Oriented Development, disproportionately affect children and families of color, and are contrary to the City of Madison's values of equity, sustainability, health and adaptability as codified in our Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2018, the City's Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative, and undermine multiple long-term goals of City policy makers and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that based on the significant, negative impacts highlighted in the Draft EIS that will disproportionately impact children and residents with low-incomes and communities of color, and given that there is no guarantee that sound mitigation or abatement will take place and that the City of Madison would have no official role in any potential mitigation program, the Madison Common Council does not support the selection of Truax Field as a preferred location for the 5th Operation Beddown; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Madison Common Council requests the Air National Guard to reconsider Truax Field as a preferred location until and unless the findings of the EIS are shown to misrepresent and overestimate the significant environmental impacts to those living, working, and visiting the north and east sides of Madison; and,
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Madison City Clerk send a copy of this resolution to the F-35A EIS Project Manager, Secretary of the Air Force, US Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, Congressman Mark Pocan, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin Senators Miller, Erpenbach, Wisconsin Assembly Representatives Sargent, Taylor, Hesselbein, Dane County Board & County Executive Parisi, and Dane Co. Airport Commission.
Wednesday night approximately 300 North and East side residents attended the community meeting held at Sherman Middle School and expressed overwhelming opposition to the proposal to bring a new squadron of F-35 jets to Truax Field in Madison. Dozens of area residents spoke about the impact of the current F-16s on their lives, and their concerns about the increased noise levels and frequency of flights as described in the EIS.
It's critically important in my mind for District 13 residents to have a sense of empathy for East Side residents whose lives would be seriously impacted.
Specifically, many residents from the Carpenter-Ridgeway neighborhood directly inside the 70-75 dB zone are deeply distressed at the possibility of having to live in conditions unsuitable for habitation for 3-4 years after the F-35s are operational to receive any assistance for noise mitigation, if it even becomes available at all.
Imagine if that were you.
State Representative Chris Taylor was also in attendance and spoke strongly against the proposal. She reported that she had met with Air National Guard staff earlier in the day who told her that speculation that the Truax base would be in jeopardy of closing if the F-35s aren't sited here is baseless. They confirmed that the F-16 program will continue into the foreseeable future if Madison isn't selected as an F-35 site.
Last night an Open House sponsored by the Air National Guard was held at the Exhibition Hall of the Alliant Energy Center, where ANG officers reiterated the point made in the EIS that if the F-35s aren't based at Truax, their flying mission will continue with F-16s.
Please continue to contact me, other Alders and the Mayor with your thoughts and concerns regarding this very important issue.