Wisconsin delegation in Vermont for "fact-finding mission" on impacts of F-35 jets

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WMTV)-- Elected Wisconsin officials and Madison community leaders were in Burlington, Vermont Wednesday on what they are calling a “fact finding mission” about F-35s.

A delegation of elected officials and community leaders from Madison visit Burlington, Vermont to learn more about the impact of F-35 jets on the community. (WCAX)

The Vermont Air National Guard has a beddown of F-35 jets at the Burlington Airport.

Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Madison was selected as a preferred alternative to receive the F-35s. A draft Environmental Impact Statement was released in August.

The delegation in Vermont incldes State Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), Madison Alder Rebecca Kemble, Brandi Grayson, founder of Urban Triage, and Amelia Royko-Maurer, co-founder of the Community Resource Team.

Taylor said the EIS is incomplete and lacking information in comparison to the Final EIS Statement for Burlington.

According to the draft EIS, the jets would increase noise for those living near Truax Field. During take-off, the jets can reach 110 decibels or more which is the equivalent of standing next to a car horn. According to the report, the noise would render more than 1,000 homes incompatible for residential use.

“The community I represent does not want f-35s they’ve made it loud and clear,” said Taylor.

"All of those things have raised intense concerns on our part, as an elected official that we are concerned, just like you've seen here in Burlington,” said Taylor. “So what we're doing here is we're hoping to learn from Burlington, hoping to hear one of these jets today or tomorrow."

The F-35 jets arrived in Burlington in September. While the Vermont Air National Guard had the first fighter wing to receive the F-35 Lightning II, some people in Vermont continue to protest the jets.

According to NBC15’s sister station, WCAX opponents said the jets are too dangerous and too loud, especially when using afterburners. In December 2013, the decision was made to bring them to Vermont, despite protests from people who didn't want the jets here.

WCAX reported the EIS showed 2,600 homes in the unsuitable zone when it came to noise and federal dollars are available for sound insulation and home buyouts in Burlington. Some residents already had complaints when the former F-16’s used to go over their homes. Opponents also requested a new EIS and more information about the jets for schools and families.

The delegation from Wisconsin will be attending a noise impact meeting at the Burlington Airport on Thursday at 5 p.m.

“The community I represent does not want f-35s they’ve made it loud and clear,” said Taylor.

On Oct. 8, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a resolution supporting the proposed jets at Truax Field. The Assembly also passed a resolution on the issue two days later. Both the State Senate and Assembly have a Republican majority. U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson have voiced support for the jets.
Supporters said the beddown will bring more jobs to the area and bolster Madison’s economy.

In September, the Madison Common Council