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Madison Mayor: “the public deserves better information” about F-35s

MADISON (WKOW) — Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says the “public deserves better information” about the potential noise impact of new F-35 jets slated to come to Madison.

Tuesday evening, the city common council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would express the city’s opposition to the jets being stationed here. The resolution, if it passes, would not force the Air National Guard to select a different site for the squadron.

The mayor’s full statement is below:

There has been substantial discussion and controversy over the potential siting of F-35 jets at the
Truax Field. This matter needs careful consideration. Madison has lived with, and benefited from, the
Dane County Airport and the Truax Air National Guard Base for decades. Members of the 115th wing
are members of our community. They have jobs here, raise their families here, and go to school here
in addition to serving in the Air National Guard.

The decision to site F-35s in Madison or anywhere else will be made by the Secretary of the Air Force.
In my view, the City’s role is to make sure our community has the best possible information about
this project, and to ensure that the decision-making process includes accurate information about our
community. This is why we conducted a City analysis of the draft Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS), which can be found here.

I am very disappointed in the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard’s failure to provide adequate
information about this project and its potential impacts on our community, and their failure to
address misconceptions on the record. The draft EIS says that flights may increase by 27%, which
suggests more noise. The sound study says these new, more powerful planes would only engage in
afterburner takeoffs 5% of the time (rather than 60%), which suggests less noise. The Air Force’s use
of the Day Night Average Sound Level (DNL) metric suggests more noise, yet their Sound Exposure
Level (SEL) chart indicates little change at the locations of most concern to the community.
The public deserves better information.

Based on what we know – and don’t know – today, it’s very difficult to evaluate the true impact of
this project on the Madison region. Given this uncertainty, I am demanding better answers from the
U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard. Senator Baldwin and Congressman Pocan have both asked
the U.S. Air Force detailed questions, we need those answers. Congressman Pocan today asked for
actual engine tests to be conducted before the September 27 deadline for comment on the EIS and I
fully support that science-based approach.

The U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard MUST take into consideration all the potential adverse
impacts that have been identified by the draft EIS and the City analysis. They should re-evaluate the
selection of Truax Field as a preferred location if the final EIS does not respond to these concerns and
provide strategies to affirmatively mitigate the noise and other detrimental impacts of siting F-35s at
Truax Field.


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