For Immediate Release For More Information, Contact:
February 19, 2020 Rep. Chris Taylor, 608-266-5342
Final EIS on F-35 Military Jets Confirms Harmful Consequences for Madison
Air Force continues to refuse to provide basic noise and pollution information
MADISON — Today, the U.S. Air Force released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposal to base F-35 military jets at Truax Air National Guard Base at the Dane County Regional Airport. The Air Force confirms the harmful consequences for Madisonians living in east and northside communities, including a serious increase in noise, having a “significant disproportionate impacts to lowincome and minority populations as well as children.” Over 2,200 individuals are estimated to be in a noise zone deemed “potentially incompatible for residential use.” Initial military jet operations would increase 47% for an unspecified amount of time.
Despite repeated requests, the Air Force again failed to consider the full impact on K-12 schools and daycares in and around the intense noise zone and again refused to provide basic noise comparisons between the F-35s and current F-16s at takeoffs and landings. This fundamental information was provided in the Environmental Impact Statements for other F-35 sites, including Burlington, Vermont, and Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
The Air Force also failed to consider the full impact of disrupting and digging up acres of soil contaminated or potentially contaminated with polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), “forever chemicals” that have a damaging impact on our environment and human health. Because the Air National Guard has yet to complete a full site investigation mandated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the full negative environmental impact of their proposal remains unknown.
Rep. Taylor released the following statement:
“The Final EIS for this proposal confirms what many of us already knew: that these jets are wrong for our community. These new details solidify the horrible impacts on low-income individuals, people of color and children, and these impacts will only worsen the severe racial disparities that plague our city and county. It is particularly appalling that of the five locations the Air Force is considering, they have maintained their preference for Madison and Montgomery, Alabama, despite noting in the Final EIS that these are the only two locations that will have disproportionate impacts on low-income people and communities of color. Every level of our government should prioritize environmental justice in their decision-making, so Madison and Montgomery should be removed from consideration entirely, rather than be the Air Force’s preference.
“I am also still concerned that the Final EIS is minimizing the harmful environmental impacts of this proposal with regard to PFAS contamination. The EIS states that ‘Impacts relative to hazardous materials, wastes, and other contaminants would not be significant,’ and lists only three sites that have potentially released PFOS/PFOA into the environment and Starkweather Creek. But the Air National Guard has yet to follow through on the full site investigation mandated by the DNR, so the extent of the PFOS/PFOA
contamination is actually unknown. For the sake of our community’s access to clean water alone, this proposal should be stopped.
“The bottom line is that it is highly inappropriate to place such jets at an Air National Guard Base in such a dense, residential and urban environment, where an estimated 60,000 individuals live within three miles of the airport. And this is why we have seen concerns from a widespread group of people, from Madison’s Community Development Authority and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, to local business owners, schoolteachers, and parents. We must all renew our demand that the Secretary of the Air Force heed these concerns expressed by the public and at all levels of government, and select a more appropriate site for the basing of these jets, or we risk severe impacts on the quality of life for all Madison residents.”