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MADISON – Badger Air Community Council Executive Director Chris “Desi” Arenz released the following statement on the Air Force Extending the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) comment period for all five potential basing locations.

Ever since the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was released, the Badger Air Community Council has encouraged full community engagement in the process. In an effort to ensure there was robust community engagement in this process and that the most impacted community members were aware of the EIS process taking place, the BACC sent a mailing to over 7,500 households in the areas immediately surrounding the airport, advising those community members that the Draft EIS was available, where to get additional information and the date, time and location of the public meeting on the EIS.

We wanted to ensure that all voices are heard, and if extending the comment period by a month accomplishes that, so we as a community, can move forward together, collaboratively, supporting the 1,200 men and women who serve our community, state and nation at the 115th Fighter Wing, and their families, we welcome the additional time.

We also appreciate that the United States Air Force (USAF) has started to answer some of the questions that were raised as a result of clumsy wording in the draft EIS or by misinformation deliberatively spread by those opposed to the presence of the 115th Fighter Wing.

Some of those include:

  • Nuclear weapons: The Air Force has made it 100% clear that there will be no nuclear weapons at Truax. Congressman Mark Pocan, according to the State Journal, when interpreting the Air Force’s response stated that he considered it a “hard no” on whether there would be nuclear weapons.
  • Incompatible use: The Air Force has clarified the misinformation by opponents that the modelled noise contours identify homes that will be in areas that will now be unsuitable, have to be torn down or cause people to lose their homes. “Incompatible use” does not mean non-livable conditions. In fact, there are many communities/neighborhoods throughout the country with residential development, and other sensitive land uses, within airport high noise areas or zones.
  • After Burner use: The Air Force has clarified that the draft EIS is not a minimal potential impact as some have asserted because of potential additional afterburner use. (link) Those Air National Guard units that have the less than 5% AB use as part of their mitigation plan, will operate within the framework of that plan.
  • Maximum potential impact for noise: The Air Force has confirmed that the draft EIS does not account for mitigation efforts that the 115th Fighter Wing has historically employed as part of its longstanding community partnership with Dane County Regional Airport.
    • Q4: “Are there strategies the USAF can use to reduce the area of residential land included in the 64-75 dB DNL range?” A4: There are several operational changes that could reduce the area subjected to additional noise. Steeper departure and approach angles, less nighttime training, less aircraft/sorties, and restricted afterburner use have been effective in other locations.
  • Constant noise:
    • The Air Force clarifies that the F-35 will not create continuous noise. The schedule of flights will remain the same, 4 days a week, a launch around 9:00 a.m. and a landing around 1.5 hours later and then a launch around 1:00 p.m, and a landing around 1.5 hours later. The draft EIS contains a higher DNL because there may be 1-2 additional aircraft that takes off each day.

After reviewing 18 Air National Guard units throughout the nation to receive an F-35 mission, the USAF selected Truax field and the 115th Fighter Wing as the top location. As more misinformation is dispelled, we are confident that Truax will remain the best place to base these jets.

Please share your support for the men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing and their families, and the continuation of their 71 year history as a member of this community, by registering your support as part of the EIS process. The comment period now closes on Friday, November 1st, 2019.


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