Air Force reply and motion for judgment

March 7, 2016

“NO MILITARY AIRCRAFT” AT BURLINGTON AGS IS NEITHER THE PROPER NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE, NOR A REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE
According to Plaintiffs, this “no military aircraft” alternative should have been the no action alternative, or was at least a reasonable alternative that should have been considered in the FEIS…
However, conspicuously absent from the VTANG’s presentation was any suggestion that once those aircraft were retired the VTANG would abandon its decades old mission of flying fighter jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

To the contrary, the Air Force informed the public that if Burlington was not selected, the base’s “current mission would continue.” … In short, Plaintiffs’ speculation regarding “empty hangars at Burlington” is unfounded, and Plaintiffs have failed to show the Air Force used an improper no action alternative.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Doug Dunbebin blasts F35 noise for Burlington City Councilors

Above clip (approx. 3 1/2 minutes) from when the Burlington City Council refused to limit aircraft noise at the airport, thereby clearing the way for the basing process to continue. Councilor Joan Shannon changed the meeting’s rules at the last minute, disallowing anyone who had ever spoken before on the issue to speak at that meeting (even though two weeks earlier she had promised everyone they would be able to speak). Therefore the people with the most knowledge, including our lawyer, were given no opportunity to refute the misinformation from the proponents.

Doug Dunbebin, a former city councilor himself, broadcasted the recorded sound of the F35s to the council.  You can hear Councilor Shannon in the background screaming at him and pounding her gavel.

“Do you feel it?  Do you feel it?  Are all of you feeling this?  This is anger, and it’s what people will feel every time they hear that airplane take off. Do you understand that?”

Doug Dunbebin

[SOURCE]

A Plea from Winooski Citizens – Burlington Free Press

By Coalition for a Livable Winooski
February 18, 2018

We’ve always thought of ourselves as part of the Burlington community.

We like you.
We think you like us.
We need your help.

The extreme noise level from the current military places at the airport doesn’t affect most of you. But it affects most of us. It’s driving us crazy.
And it’s about to get WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY worse for us if the F-35 comes here, because the Air Force told us the F-35 is 4 times louder than the F-16.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Residents Will Vote on F-35 Question As Written

By Katie Jickling
January 30, 2018

The Burlington City Council on Monday agreed to allow voters to weigh in on the future basing of the F-35 fighter jets — but not before a lengthy discussion about ballot wording that, in the end, will remain the same.

The Town Meeting Day ballot question is advisory, and is not likely to prevent the planned 2019 arrival of the F-35s. The crux of the debate during Monday’s meeting centered not around the vote itself, but around language F-35 opponents used conveying “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard.

Three councilors — Jane Knodell (P-Central District), Dave Hartnett (D-North District) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) — proposed an amendment to delete the phrase, “as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont.'”

Col. Hank Harder, the guard’s 158th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander, agreed with the proposed amendment, saying Monday that it would be “disingenuous and misleading” for F-35 opponents to frame their question in terms of support for the guard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA offers few solutions for F-35 noise mitigation in South Burlington

By Emily Greenberg

February 17, 2017

An official with the Federal Aviation Administration told residents here that there is little that can be done to mitigate noise from F-35 jet fighters taking off and landing at the Burlington International Airport.

The airport is located in the middle of a residential area. At a question and answer session Thursday night with officials from the FAA and the Vermont Air National Guard there was only one solution offered to concerns about noise pollution from the aircraft: Home buyouts.

“The best way to mitigate noise, at high noise levels, is to buy homes and remove them,” said Richard Doucette, the FAA’s New England Environmental Program manager. “But the city of South Burlington doesn’t want that. Usually it’s the opposite.”

South Burlington city councilors have suggested noise barriers as an alternative to home buyouts, but Doucette said that the odds of the FAA funding a noise-wall would be slim.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Airport Commission and FAA Joint Meeting on Noise Mitigation


February 16, 2017

The Burlington International Airport (BTV) and its Commissioners held a question and answer session on February 16, 2017 with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives, Airport representatives , Vermont Air National Guard, Vermont Army National Guard and various Airport consultants in relation to the Home Buyout Program, Land Use and Reuse Program, Noise Exposure Maps and Noise Compatibility Program. We welcomed any questions that you may have regarding these programs or any other Airport initiatives.

[SOURCE]

Response from the Guard about the Burlington F35 Vote

The military says it’s set to base the F-35 fighter jet in Burlington by next fall, but opponents have renewed a long-simmering fight to prevent the next-generation fighter jet from landing.

A plan to base the military’s F-35 jet in Burlington has sparked nearly a decade of debate. Efforts to stop it have included lawsuits and anti-campaigns. The latest — a group called the Coalition for a Livable City.

“We urge the public to join together to protect the right to vote on an issue of fundamental importance, and not allow the mayor to force F-35 basing and bashing on Burlington without a vote,” said
James Leas, a long time F-35 opponent, and ring leader of the group.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Press conference on getting the F-35 issue onto the Burlington ballot

By Katie Jickling

January 19, 2018

Opponents of the decision to base F-35s at Burlington International Airport collected 2,700 signatures — nearly 1,000 more than required — to put the question to Queen City voters on the Town Meeting Day ballot, members announced in a press conference outside City Hall on Friday.

The advisory question, which must be approved by the city council to be on the ballot, asks voters to “advise the city council” to cancel the planned basing of F-35s, which are scheduled to arrive at the airport’s Air National Guard base in 2019. The ballot item asks if voters will “request instead low-noise-level equipment … appropriate for a densely populated area.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

CCTV video of F-35 discussion

December 12, 2017

Charles Simpson, retired professor of sociology, sits down with Jimmy Leas, activist with Save Our Skies, Rosanne Greco, retired Air Force Colonel and Save Our Skies activist, and Carol Miller, of the New Mexico based Peaceful Skies Coalition, to pokes a few holes in the message to which Vermont’s political establishment is wed: that the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter plane is a wise investment and an appreciable factor in Greater Burlington’s livability.

[SOURCE]

PRA and FOIA request for VTANG sources for statements on needing the F-35 for a mission

By James A Dumont, Esq., P.C.
February 8, 2018

I write on behalf of numerous residents of Burlington, Winooski, South Burlington, and
surrounding communities, including but not limited to Mr. Leas, to submit this Public
Records Act and Freedom of Information Act request to the Vermont Department of the
Military, the Vermont Air National Guard, the Vermont National Guard and to you, as well
as to the Air Force.

The Vermont Air National Guard website contains a FOIA page. The FOIA page refers
all requests to the Air Force. To be complete, I am submitting this request to you under
both FOIA and the Vermont Public Records Act, and I am submitting it as well to the Air
Force at the email address on the Air Guard’s FOIA web page.

However, I must insist on a response from the Vermont Department of the Military as well
as a response from the Air Force. You were selected by the Vermont legislature to head
the Vermont Department of the Military, to fulfill functions mandated by the Vermont
Constitution and Vermont statutes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy pressures Air Force to base F-35 in VT

By George Nichols, E Maj. USAF
September 3, 2013

Notes from today’s phone conversation between Senator Leahy and General Welsh

  • Senator Leahy opened with casual conversation and wanted to be a little more “Parochial” concerning F-35
  • He strongly supports F-35 in Vermont. Tiny vocal minority that is against it. He has received over 200 letters from the group; however, he has over 13,000 signatures for it
  • He strongly urges the Air Force to not delay the RoD in light of rumor that there would be a two year delay for Ops 3 (ANG)
  • He understands the rational of splitting the decision into two RoDs, one for Active Duty and one for ANG but asks for little or no delay in the two RoDs
[FULL ARTICLE]

It’s not too late, We can still save our communities!

By Jasper Craven

Feb 6 2018

It’s NOT TOO LATE! We can still save our communities from the inappropriate F35 basing in our residential neighborhoods!

Burlington voters — please help by voting YES on article #6 at Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 6.

“Elsewhere in recent years, military plans have been scrapped or greatly reduced in scope following intense push back from community and political leaders.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 nuclear capability sooner than expected

By Alex Lockie

Jan. 12, 2017

The Air Force designed the F-35A with nuclear capability in mind, and a new report indicates that the Joint Strike Fighter may carry nuclear weapons sooner than expected.

The Air Force originally planned to integrate nuclear weapons in the F-35 between 2020-2022, but Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus told Defensetech.org that “it would definitely be possible,” to hasten the deployment of B-61 nuclear gravity bombs on the F-35 should the need for it arise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 at Burlington Mayoral Debate

February 5, 2018

NH Senator’s ability and actions to counter Air Force plans

A Republican senator on a leading defense panel in Congress has moved to block the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10 Warthog attack plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

A Republican senator has blocked the confirmation of the woman nominated by President Obama to be the next Air Force secretary until the service offers up more information over its plans to cut the A-10 fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said the senator lifted her hold on James’s nomination after she received a second round of responses from the Air Force about potential cuts to the A-10 fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Lawmakers on key defense panels have reached a deal on the annual defense authorization bill that would block the Pentagon from retiring the A-10 fleet. Key senators such as Sen. John McCain, who next year will succeed Levin as chairman of the Senate panel, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire whose husband was a Warthog pilot….

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Senator Ayotte has a personal reason for keeping the plane the pentagon wants to kill…

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Joint explanatory statement to accompany the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Sec 133)

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force to Impose Limits on F-35 Training Flights at Eglin

By Dan Cohen

July 9, 2014

Air Force officials have decided to impose operational limitations on F-35 training flights at Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle to reduce noise over the city of Valparaiso, according to a record of decision published Wednesday.

Officials selected the “no action alternative” for the basing of up to 59 F-35s at the Eglin joint training site, which represented the environmentally preferred alternative.

“The Air Force listened to the community’s concerns and worked hard to find a solution that meets mission requirements and also reduces noise impacts,” said Kathleen Ferguson, acting assistant secretary for installations, environment, and energy.

The decision demonstrates the Air Force’s desire to limit impacts on communities around Eglin, Ferguson said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Valparaiso Settles Suit with F-35 Noise Concerns

By Meagan O’Halloran

Mar 02, 2010

A year and a half ago, every city and town in Okaloosa County was anxious to welcome the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot training program to Eglin Air Force Base.

Every city except Valparaiso, where residents said they were worried about the additional flights and excessive noise.

his week the Air Force and Valparaiso announced a settlement to the city’s federal lawsuit.
The whole episode has left Valparaiso looking like the villain of the county.
Some call it the “Sound of Freedom”, others call it an ear-splitting nuisance.

Regardless, Elgin Air Force Base will become the new home to 59, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets this fall.
Folks in nearby Valparaiso were worried about the noise the additional five dozen jets will cause.
They decided if they couldn’t stop the jets from coming to Eglin, at least they’d have some say about where at Eglin.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Successful effort to reduce F-35 impact on citizens

By Kelly Humphrey

April 23, 2016

The F-35 and its three variants (the Air Force’s F-35A, the Marine Corps’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C) have both ardent defenders and fierce critics in Congress, at the Pentagon, in the defense industry and on the Internet. Thousands of critics and conspiracy theorists have questioned the aircraft’s safety, effectiveness and cost.At first, it seemed as if that controversy might bypass Okaloosa County, where support for the military runs deep.

But not long after the recommendation to build the training center at Eglin was announced, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold and many city residents began to express concerns about the projected noise levels of the new aircraft.

With plans for dozens of daily takeoffs and landings from a nearby runway, Arnold feared the impact the noise would have on his citizens’ quality of life. The city sued the Air Force twice over the noise concerns.
Both lawsuits were eventually settled, and today Arnold maintains that his issue was never with Eglin, per se.

“Our concern was if the noise levels were too high, it would stop future development in the city, and would negatively impact our homeowners’ property values,” he said. “But that hasn’t turned out to be the case. It’s been noisy at times, but the current level of flights has been tolerable.”

Arnold said there’s no question in his mind that he did the right thing to question the Air Force’s plans, despite the enormous criticism he received from other local politicians and residents who feared the controversy would lead the Air Force to look elsewhere for a home for the program.

He dismisses those who say the subsequent reduction in the number of aircraft from the proposed 107 to less than half of that is directly connected to his city’s actions.

“That was purely a political decision based on available funding,” he insists.

The Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) recommended that up to 107 jets be stationed at the base, and a multi-million dollar training complex be constructed to serve students from the Navy, Marines and Air Force, as well as international pilots from eight allied countries.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Up in the air: F-35 training program remains strong despite reduction in aircraft

By Kelly Humphrey
April 23, 2016

While the Marine Corps originally trained its pilots at Eglin, last year the branch relocated its school to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, and took its F-35B’s with them. Going forward, F-35B pilots from the United Kingdom will also train at Beaufort.

That leaves less than 50 F-35s at the Eglin training facility.

While that reduction has caused some observers to wonder if the training program is in jeopardy, Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris isn’t worried.

“There are a lot of reasons that the reduction in planes has happened, and those are mostly due to fiscal constraints,” Harris said.

“The F-35 is a great plane, but it’s very expensive, and they’re still working on getting some of the bugs out of it,” he said. “I believe the training program at Eglin is very secure — the government has too much invested in it. I’m confident it will stay up and running.”

Whether the Navy will continue to train pilots at Eglin is still up for debate, however.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Addendum to Record of Decision for F-35 Beddown at Eglin AFB, FL

April 23, 2015

A one-time, temporary increase in certain F-35 operations is allowed due to required construction-related closure…but only after all mitigations measure have first been implemented and/or exhausted, limited additional F-35 operations up to the number and type of average daily operations.

The DoN is authorized to deliver up to fifteen additional BAI F-35C aircraft, provided VFA-101 continuously monitors F-35C operations to ensure they do not exceed the average daily operations analyzed under the No Action Alternative on a weekly basis.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Richard Joseph: ‘Save the Guard’ – The big lie

By Richard Joseph

September 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F16 transfer Eielson to Elmendorf

May 2013

Proposed Action: The Air Force proposes to relocate 18 primary assigned and 3 back up F-16 aircraft from EAFB to JBER, Alaska and to adjust EAFB personnel over the following 2 years to reflect reduced base operating support requirements. EAFB is the only Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) base with a one squadron wing. The Proposed Action to consolidate 3 squadrons of fighters under the 3rd Wing would achieve operational efficiencies in the PACAF Pacific Region that would meet both Air Force cost saving
and force-sizing requirements while maintaining current operational capabilities within PACAF.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Alaskan Senator Submits Eight Point Document to USAF Contesting F-16 Proposal

March 1, 2013

As the time closed for comments to be submitted from Alaskans, Senator Lisa Murkowski today delivered a stinging and comprehensive refutation of the flawed United States Air Force proposal to transfer the F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson – in addition to the comments received directly from Alaskans through her “Eielson Closing Argument” online initiative she created before the U.S. Air Force allowed comments to be sent via the Internet.

“I am proud to have been a part of this statewide effort; where the Air Force thought they could pit different regions of our state against one another, Alaskans created a united front,” said Murkowski. “Alaskans came out in Southcentral, Alaskans came out in the Interior and they chimed in via the ‘Eielson Closing Argument’ initiative. In addition to all their voices, my letter today is an attempt to sum up all the best arguments and say ‘case closed.’ Alaskans must be heard, have been heard – and I will work in Washington, DC to make certain the Air Force listens.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy changing plans at Oceana Air Station

September 19, 2008

Proposed sites selected with objective to:
Minimize impacts to landowners and residents
Avoid National Wildlife Areas, wetlands, Important Bird Areas, and Threatened and Endangered species…

[FULL ARTICLE]

Environmental Law Center To File Suit Challenging Navy’s OLF Plan

January 9, 2004

The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, will file suit in federal court Friday challenging the Navy’s plan to build a military jet landing field in the heart of the Atlantic migratory bird flyway and a few miles from a national wildlife refuge.

The groups say the government’s environmental impact studies for the landing field downplayed the substantial risk of collisions between jets and the large flocks of tundra swans, snow geese and other birds that winter in the area, and minimized adverse impacts to the wildlife refuge.

Citing extensive evidence from wildlife experts, including the scientist who led part of the Navy’s own study, the lawsuit characterizes as “reckless” the plan for a new F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet jet training field within five miles of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina.

The refuge is winter home to some 100,000 large swans, snow geese and other waterfowl known to represent a severe risk to low-flying aircraft and their pilots.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Hundreds drawn to celebrate ruling on OLF

By Kate Wiltrout
Mar 30, 2008

The setting was humble and wholesome, and so was the food. Fresh-cooked pork barbecue, green beans and homemade pound cake, all served on paper plates at picnic tables inside a giant barn.

The people, too, were humble. Even on a Saturday night when they could gleefully have celebrated their David-vs.-Goliath victory over the U.S. Navy, they refrained.

Instead of high-fives, hundreds of people exchanged thanks – first to God, then for one another, and finally, with a standing ovation, to the lawyers who represented them in court.

In fact, some guests even thanked the Navy for bringing them together.

“I don’t want to say, ‘We beat them,'” Ronnie Askew said. “I want to say, ‘With the good Lord’s help, we showed them the error of their ways.'”

Askew was one of about 500 people in this rural community who packed the Beasley family’s barn for what North Carolinians Opposed to the Outlying Landing Field called, “Our Blessed Celebration.”

It was a party more than four years in the making. One, two and three years ago, similar events packed the barn. But those were fundraisers or get-to-know-you gatherings for politicians, journalists and environmental groups they brought together to talk about the cause.

This night was a chance to savor, finally, the battle that reversed the Navy’s decision in 2003 to make 30,000 acres of farmland in Washington County into a place for Navy jets to practice simulated aircraft carrier landings.

In January, Navy Secretary Donald Winter removed Washington County – Site C, in the Navy’s voluminous study – from the service’s list of potential locations.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Super Hornet Final Environmental Impact Statement Released

July 18, 2003

The Secretary of the Navy has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for introduction of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the East Coast of the United States.

The document contains two preferred home basing alternatives, each recommending split basing of 10 Super Hornet squadrons at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point in N.C. The FEIS also recommends construction of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Washington County, N.C., for use in practicing aircraft carrier landings.

Atlantic Fleet Commander, Adm. Robert J. Natter, has recommended the Secretary of the Navy select the alternative that calls for basing eight Super Hornet squadrons (96 aircraft) and one Fleet Replacement Squadron (24 aircraft) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and two squadrons (24 aircraft) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. The second preferred alternative contained in the FEIS recommends basing six squadrons at NAS Oceana and four at MCAS Cherry Point. Both alternatives recommend construction of an OLF in Washington County, N.C.

The recommended basing alternative maximizes existing facilities and limits capital investment requirements at both NAS Oceana and MCAS Cherry Point, providing substantive mitigation of environmental impacts at both sites at an acceptable cost. The geographic proximity of the two bases allows for combined use of training ranges and OLFs by all Super Hornet squadrons, as well as other aircraft based in the area.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Jet Noise Can Make You Rich!

May 16, 2007

Market Watch is reporting the following: “The Justice Department and the U.S. Navy have reached a settlement agreement with approximately 3,400 property owners in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Va., regarding litigation relating to jet noise at a naval air base. Under the terms of the agreement, the participating plaintiffs agree to dismiss their claims and acknowledge that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by the United States.

“‘We are pleased that the federal government and residents near the Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Fentress have been able to reach an amicable resolution in this matter and avoid further litigation,’ said Matthew J. McKeown, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. ‘This resolution signals an end to six years of litigation and provides positive results for the citizens as well as the government.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Julie Macuga: The true sound of freedom is not an F-35

By Julia Macuga

February 8, 2018

The stack of speaker sign-up sheets for the F-35 ballot item towered at a packed City Hall last Monday night. People from around the state and members of the press crowded the first floor and balcony. People in polished brass mingled with those in salt-stained boots. The session had skipped right to public comment; by my tally, 35 people spoke in support of the issue being placed on the ballot, and five spoke in favor of the F-35’s and against the ballot initiative that would advise for an alternative to these aircrafts.

The winter chill could not freeze the petitioners nor democracy in the weeks leading up to this meeting — over 2,700 signatures, about 1,000 more than the 1,787 required to put the F-35 advisory question on the Town Meeting Day ballot — have made their way to the city clerk.

City Hall filled with murmurs as supporters of the F-35 debate said, “Why are we still arguing this?” I tried to gauge the council and Mayor Miro Weinberger’s reactions as my fellow Vermonters spoke. Despite the Air Force’s 2016 declaration that “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington Air Guard Station, the current mission would continue,” Vice Wing Commander Harder asserted that there would be no alternative mission for them if the F-35’s were stopped. Ray Gonda, a Vietnam veteran who lives near the airport, stated, “Burlington gets the goodies, while I and my neighbors pay the costs … Burlington has profited handsomely [from this project] by acquiring, free of charge, many formerly private-owned properties near the airport in my community.” People spoke about livelihoods, democracy, racism, birds, noise pollution and justice. The council asked the audience to settle down on numerous occasions — but applause, like the noise of jet engines, could not be mitigated.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT National Guard press conference

February 09, 2018

The leader of the Vermont National Guard has a message for Burlington voters. It’s about a ballot question on the new F-35 fighter jets heading for the Green Mountain Boys next year.

Opponents of the jets pushed for the nonbinding question on the March ballot requesting cancellation of F-35 basing at Burlington airport. Maj. Gen. Steven Cray says even though the measure won’t change the Air Force’s decision on the F-35, he’s speaking out because it could trick voters.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Guard pushes back on F-35 ballot measure

By Elizabeth Gribkoff and Mike Dougherty

February 9, 2018

Vermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said at a press conference that the question “misleads the voter into thinking they are supporting the Air Guard.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Greg Guma: Claims that F-35 basing will protect jobs are overstated

By Greg Guma

January 25, 2018

In Vermont’s ongoing debate about the basing of F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport the arguments in support often center on balancing noise and other admitted impacts against economic necessities, benefits and fears. But the controversy also raises questions about the real economic impacts of military spending.

In 2012, for example, dire warnings that thousands of Vermont jobs were jeopardized by looming defense cuts and changes in Air Force priorities turned out to be overstated. Speaking at an Air Force public hearing on the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement, Phil Scott, then Vermont’s lieutenant governor, explained that one of his main fears was “that, with all of the talk at the federal level about reducing costs, if the program is not located here, there is a real chance the base could be reduced in size or possibly closed altogether.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Advocacy group questions F-35s

By Renee Wunderlich
February 8, 2018

Rosanne Greco is a former South Burlington city councilor and a retired Air Force colonel.

She spoke to University of Vermont students Thursday about her work with the advocacy group “Save Our Skies VT.”

Greco said there are a lot of reasons she’s not a fan of the F-35s.

“Health impacts, property value impacts, not to mention the bombardment of this noise on our children,” she said.

But it could be crucial for the Air Guard that the jets arrive next year.

Col. Hank Harder of the 158th Fighter Wing spoke to the Burlington City Council during their last meeting, saying, “… there is no alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. But Greco says that’s not true.

“There are direct contradictions between what the Vermont Air National Guard senior leaders are saying — which is, if we don’t get the F-35s, we’re out of business. We have no mission, no job — and what the United States Air Force has said in their Environmental Impact Statement as well as in court,” she said.

Greco cites documents from the United States Air Force that she says contradict what the Guard says about the need for the F-35’s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why Are Democrats and Progressives Pushing the U.S. War Machine in Vermont?

By William Boardman

February 3, 2018

This is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Impact on Winooski

DOD agrees to halt F-15 fighter jet transfers

June 22, 2012

The Department of Defense is telling U.S. Senate leaders that it will stop scheduled Air Force transfers of aircraft until Congress finalizes 2013 budget plans later this year, which could also further prevent those transfers.

The announcement, released by Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, comes as several states become increasingly worried about their Air National Guard units losing aircraft missions.

Montana filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the Defense Department, seeking to stop the military’s transfer of F-15 fighter jets to California. Montana wants assurances that the state will later get its planned replacement mission of C-130 cargo planes.

But political leaders from the Gulf Coast states are threatening action to prevent movement of the C-130s from their states, where they help with hurricane preparedness.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Airstrip proposal could test limits to development

By David Murray
September 22, 2017

Sometime in the next several weeks an environmental assessment study will be completed on the grounds of Malmstrom Air Force Base. If that assessment on a narrow strip of land stretching near dead center through the base doesn’t reveal any big problems, it’s fair to assume that construction on a new dirt airstrip will begin as the weather permits.

The proposed Assault Landing Zone will resemble little more than a runway scratched out of the clay soil that forms the foundation of Malmstrom Air Force Base. Its purpose will be to provide a training ground upon which Montana Air National Guard flight crews can practice C-130 transport aircraft landings and take-offs under similar less-than-ideal runway conditions they might encounter in remote locations throughout the world.

[FULL ARTICLE}

Governor sues over Montana Air National Guard’s loss of mission

June 15, 2012

Gov. Brian Schweitzer filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department on Friday to block any plans to take away the state’s Air National Guard mission without a suitable replacement.

Attorney General Steve Bullock filed the complaint Friday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls. It asks the court to place a hold on the military’s plan to transfer 15 fighter jets to California. It argues that the transfer would violate federal law that requires the governor’s permission before the federal government can make a change in a state guard’s organization.

Schweitzer, as commander in chief of the Montana Air National Guard, is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

[FULL ARTICLE}

F-35 Fighter Jets: What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say about the proposal to locate F-35 supersonic fighter jets at Madison’s Truax Field Air National Guard base?

In his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr. King spoke passionately about the injustice of the growing spending on war—while anti-poverty projects were de-funded. “A Nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death,” he said.

A January. 12, 2018 Cap Times letter to the editor by former Madison Alder J. Michael Shivers called the proposal to base the F-35s at Truax Field in Madison an “outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money.” Each of the 18 jets to be located at Truax costs $150 million dollars—for a total of $270 billion.

[FULL ARTICLE}

2nd Circuit Summary Order #16-3309 (9-21- 2017)

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16-3309-cv

Zbitnoff et al. v. James

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT

SUMMARY ORDER

Rulings by summary order do not have precedential effect. Citation to a summary order filed on or after January 1, 2007, is permitted and is governed by Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 and this Court’s Local Rule 32.1.1. When citing a summary order in a document filed with this Court, a party must cite either the Federal Appendix or an electronic database (with the notation “Summary Order”). A party citing a summary order must serve a copy of it on any party not represented by counsel.

At a stated term of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, in the City of New York, on the 21st day of September, two thousand and seventeen.

Present:

ROBERT D. SACK,
PETER W. HALL, CHRISTOPHER F. DRONEY,

Circuit Judges.

Igor Zbitnoff, Eileen Andreoli, Jeffrey Frost, Richard Joseph, Juliet Beth Buck, Ray Gonda, Stop the F35 Coalition,

Plaintiffs – Appellants, David Deslauriers, Sr.,

Plaintiff,
Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force,

Defendant – Appellee.

16-3309-cv

For Appellant: JAMES ALLAN DUMONT, Bristol, VT (Laura Hill-Eubanks, Greenfield Legal Services, LLP, Northfield, VT, on the

brief).
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For Appellee:

BRIAN TOTH, (David W. Gehlert and Jeffrey H. Wood, on the brief), Environmental and Natural Resources Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC. Eugenia A.P. Cowles, Acting U.S. Attorney, and Nikolas P. Kerest, Assistant U.S. Attorney, for the District of Vermont, Burlington, VT, on the brief.

Appeal from the District of Vermont’s (Crawford, J.) final judgment entered August 10, 2016.

UPON DUE CONSIDERATION, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the district court’s judgment is AFFIRMED.

Plaintiffs-Appellants Igor Zbitnoff, Eileen Andreoli, Jeffrey Frost, Richard Joseph, Juliet Beth Buck, Ray Gonda, and Stop the F35 Coalition (“Plaintiffs”) challenge the Secretary of the Air Force’s determination to locate a squadron of F35 Lightning II aircraft at the South Burlington Air National Guard (“ANG”) station and the Secretary’s Environmental Impact Statement’s (“EIS”) compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321–4370m-12. We assume the parties’ familiarity with the underlying facts, procedural history, arguments presented on appeal, and the district court’s rulings.

We review de novo the district court’s determination on summary judgment, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Fund for Animals v. Kempthorne, 538 F.3d 124, 131 (2d Cir. 2008). The court cannot “interject itself within the area of discretion of the executive as to the choice of the action to be taken,” Kleppe v. Sierra Club, 427 U.S. 390, 410 n.21 (1976) (citation omitted), and, upon review of the environmental consequences, our role is to

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determine whether the agency’s determination is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law, see 5 U.S.C. § 706. Citizens for Balanced Env’t & Transp., Inc. v. Volpe, 650 F.2d 455, 460 (2d Cir. 1981).

NEPA’s requirements direct the process of an agency’s determination when it intends to take an action that has a significant effect on the environment. See 42 U.S.C. § 4332(C). “[It] does not command an agency to favor any particular course of action, but rather requires the agency to withhold its decision to proceed with an action until it has taken a ‘hard look’ at the environmental consequences.” Stewart Park & Reserve Coal., Inc. (SPARC) v. Slater, 352 F.3d 545, 557 (2d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). The EIS “must address any adverse unavoidable environmental effects resulting from the implementation, alternatives to the proposed action, the relationship between short-term uses and the long-term maintenance of the environment, and any irretrievable commitments of resources involved in the proposed action.” Nat’l Audubon Soc’y v. Hoffman, 132 F.3d 7, 12 (2d Cir. 1997). A court “may not rule an EIS inadequate if the agency has made an adequate compilation of relevant information, has analyzed it reasonably, has not ignored pertinent data, and has made disclosures to the public.” Stewart Park, 352 F.3d at 557–58 (citation omitted). The Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) promulgates rules and regulations to guide federal agencies through the NEPA process. See 40 C.F.R. §§ 1500.1, 1518.4.

Plaintiffs challenge whether, in issuing the EIS, the Secretary failed to apprise the public of the information she necessarily considered when reaching her

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determination. Plaintiffs first assert that the Secretary considered, but the EIS failed to address, the anticipated cost-savings resulting from the placement of the F35 jets at Burlington ANG over other alternative locations. Next, plaintiffs maintain that the Secretary failed to consider, and the EIS failed to address, Vermont’s land-use law’s permitting requirements, see Vt. Stat. Ann., tit. 10, §§ 6001–6111 (“Act 250”), and the City of South Burlington’s Comprehensive Plan.

Plaintiffs assert that the EIS must discuss non-environmental impacts, and they rely on Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Callaway, 524 F.2d 79 (2d Cir. 1975), and Chelsea Neighborhood Associations v. U.S. Postal Service, 516 F.2d 378 (2d Cir. 1975) for this proposition. Plaintiffs ask too much of these cases. In Natural Resources Defense Council, we stated that an “EIS fails to perform its vital task of exposing the reasoning and data of the agency proposing the action to scrutiny by the public and by other branches of the government” when it “fail[s] to present a complete analysis and comparison of the possible . . . sites.” 524 F.2d at 94. Our holding was focused exclusively on environmental considerations. We held that the EIS incorrectly “evaluated only the environmental impact of [a] particular Navy project,” and thus “the EIS failed to furnish information essential to the environmental decision-making process.” Id. at 87 (emphasis added). Again, in Chelsea Neighborhood Associations, we explained that “the adequacy of an EIS can only be considered in light of its purpose . . . ‘to compel federal agencies to give serious weight to environmental factors in making discretionary choices.’” 516 F.2d at 386 (citation omitted) (emphasis added). We concluded that the EIS failed to

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address comprehensively the environmental impact of the housing decision, and specifically that the EIS failed to address traffic, parking, and any resulting contribution to noise and air pollution. Id. at 388. These cases are clear that NEPA requires the EIS to address the environmental impacts of the proposed project and cannot be read in the broader meaning that plaintiffs urge.

Both these cases preceded Metropolitan Edison Co. v. People Against Nuclear Energy, 460 U.S. 766 (1983), which explained NEPA’s limited scope. In deciding whether the EIS should have considered potential psychological health damage, the Court determined that “NEPA does not require the agency to assess every impact or effect of its proposed action, but only the impact or effect on the environment.” Id. at 772 (emphasis in original). “If a harm does not have a sufficiently close connection to the physical environment, NEPA does not apply,” plain and simple. Id. at 778. Plaintiffs fail to offer any convincing argument that Metropolitan Edison did not limit NEPA’s application to the consideration of environmental impacts, or that their asserted omission in the EIS—a cost benefit analysis between proposed sites— is somehow connected to the environment. Consistent with this Circuit’s precedent and Metropolitan Edison, the Secretary’s EIS omitting a discussion of cost-savings of placing the F35s in South Burlington complied fully with NEPA.

Plaintiffs’ argument that the EIS must consider the conflict between the Air Force’s basing decision and the requirements of Vermont’s Act 250 was squarely addressed by the Vermont Supreme Court’s holding in In re: Request for Jurisdictional Opinion re: Changes in Physical Structures and Use at Burlington

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Int’l Airport for F-35A, 117 A.3d 457 (Vt. 2015). There, the Supreme Court of

Vermont held the development associated with housing F35s fell outside Act 250’s permitting requirements because Act 250 was preempted by federal law and Act 250’s “state purpose” requirement prevented its application to the Air Force’s federal project. Under the terms of Act 250, only development for municipal, county, or State purposes requires a permit. Here, the “proposed improvements related to the fighter jet were being made by the federal government and would be under federal control, and therefore there was no state purpose.” Id. In any event, state and local control and regulation of aircraft and aircraft noise falls within “the pervasive control vested in the EPA and in FAA . . . [and] seems to us to leave no room for . . . local controls” on aircraft noise. City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, Inc., 411 U.S. 624, 638 (1973). Because Act 250’s requirements are preempted by federal law and do not apply to development undertaken for a federal purpose, the EIS was not required to address Act 250’s noise standards.

With respect to Plaintiffs’ argument that the EIS failed to address South Burlington’s Comprehensive Plan, this also fails. Just as Vermont Act 250 is preempted by federal law, so too would be any attempts by municipalities to control aircraft noise. See id. at 640. Moreover, without being required to do so, the EIS did in fact consider the effects of increased noise and effects on the housing developments in South Burlington and Winooski that may have been contemplated by South Burlington’s Comprehensive plan.

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We have considered the parties’ remaining arguments and find them to be without merit. Accordingly, the district court’s judgment is AFFIRMED.

FOR THE COURT:
Catherine O’Hagan Wolfe, Clerk

Case 16-3309, Document 68-2, 09/21/2017, 2130072, Page1 of 1

ROBERT A. KATZMANN CHIEF JUDGE

Date: September 21, 2017 Docket #: 16-3309cv
Short Title: Zbitnoff v. James

CATHERINE O’HAGAN WOLFE CLERK OF COURT

DC Docket #: 14-cv-132 DC Court: VT (RUTLAND) DC Judge: Crawford

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse
40 Foley Square
New York, NY 10007

BILL OF COSTS INSTRUCTIONS

The requirements for filing a bill of costs are set forth in FRAP 39. A form for filing a bill of costs is on the Court’s website.

The bill of costs must:

  • *  be filed within 14 days after the entry of judgment;
  • *  be verified;
  • *  be served on all adversaries;
  • *  not include charges for postage, delivery, service, overtime and the filers edits;
  • *  identify the number of copies which comprise the printer’s unit;
  • *  include the printer’s bills, which must state the minimum charge per printer’s unit for a page, a cover, foot lines by the line, and an index and table of cases by the page;
  • *  state only the number of necessary copies inserted in enclosed form;
  • *  state actual costs at rates not higher than those generally charged for printing services in New York, New York; excessive charges are subject to reduction;
* be filed via CM/ECF or if counsel is exempted with the original and two copies.

Case 16-3309, Document 68-3, 09/21/2017, 2130072, Page1 of 1

ROBERT A. KATZMANN CHIEF JUDGE

The F35 fight is far from over

f35-protest-2016

Here we go …. Asking you for money … yet again.  I honestly thought that our fund raising effort in August 2015 would have been the last time we would have to ask for money.  At that time, Jim Dumont, our lawyer, had given us his best estimate on what the costs would be for our lawsuit until the end of the process. You were generous and we raised enough to cover all of those estimated costs. In fact, until now, we have always been able to pay all of our bills, including our legal costs.

But in May, the South Burlington city council started discussing joining the lawsuit.  This resulted in more work for Jim and more legal costs to us.  Then the federal judge assigned to our case asked to hear oral testimony from our lawyer and the Air Force lawyer regarding our challenge to the Environmental Impact Statement.  That occurred on July 5th.  On August 10th, the judge issued his ruling against us.  Within days, we decided to appeal this ruling.  However, once we pay what we currently owe Jim, we will have no further legal fees.  Here’s why.

Jim VOLUNTEERED TO DO THIS APPEAL FOR FREE!  All he asked of us is to pay the minor costs associated with making copies of the legal documents.  Jim is enlisting the help of other lawyers (also pro bono ) to help in the legal appeal.

But, currently, we still owe Jim around $12,000.  Jim has consistently billed us at the lower non-profit rate; but he has expenses and bills and staff to pay as well.  Fairness dictates that we pay Jim for the legal work he has done on our behalf.

Some of you have donated frequently.  We are especially grateful for your generosity.  Now, I am hoping that those who have never donated money to help us stop the F-35, will donate now; and that those who have donated only once or twice in the past will now donate again.

Large donations would be ideal.  But if your financial circumstances don’t allow for that, then anything you can afford will help.  Well over a thousand people have expressed opposition to the F-35 basing.  Were everyone to donate $20 we would be able to pay off all our bills, and have a cushion of money to sustain us for the next three years – until 2019 when the F-35 is scheduled to arrive.

So, we are asking for money ONE LAST TIME.  But the “last time” doesn’t mean the struggle is over.  Far from it!

We have both legal and political courses of action still available to us.  Both the courts and our senior politicians can stop the basing.  We are currently brainstorming political strategies.  More about those later.

I hate using militaristic terms like “fighting” “ battling” “battles” and “wars.” But since we ARE talking about the MILITARY basing a WEAPON SYSTEM in our midst, and the F-35 is literally a KILLING MACHINE; I think the terminology is appropriate.  I assure you that the fight is far from over.  The only way we will lose is if we stop fighting.  We have lost many battles, but we can win the war.

This is not just another “cause.”  Morality compels us to continue our efforts. The dangers and impacts to people are just too great.  We cannot accept the cognitive impairment that military jet noise might inflict on hundreds of mostly low income children.  We cannot accept the destruction of more neighborhoods.  We cannot accept the risk of a crash from an extremely toxic fighter-bomber onto a densely populated community.

Thank you for everything you do.  Your continued activism and financial support is vital to saving our citizens and cities.  This may be your last chance to contribute to stopping the impending injustice.  With the help of some money and the outspoken voices of many people, we will be able to stop the F-35.

Rosanne and the Stop the F-35 Coalition

Please make out checks to “Stop the F-35” and send to the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake St, Suite #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.  Your check will go further (less processing fees!) or you can also donate online >>>.  Donations are tax deductible.

Judge clears the way for F-35 basing

By Elizabeth Murray
August 11, 2016

A federal judge in Burlington has ruled that an environmental impact statement completed by the U.S. Air Force about basing F-35 fighter jets in Vermont complies with standards set by the National Environmental Policy Act, clearing the way for the planes’ arrival in 2019.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Stop the F-35 Coalition and six Chittenden County residents against Secretary of Air Force Deborah Lee James. Winooski had joined the lawsuit on the side of the plaintiffs, and South Burlington submitted a brief backing the plaintiffs, as well.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Residents, coalition to appeal F-35 decision

By Elizabeth Murray
August 17 2016

Six Chittenden County residents and the Stop the F-35 Coalition plan to file an appeal to a recent federal court decision that cleared the way for basing F-35 fighter jets in Burlington.

Coalition leader Roseanne Greco, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, said the groups had met or spoken with lawyer Jim Dumont on Sunday and made the decision to bring the case to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

“Our briefs will contain detailed arguments about the disagreements we have with the judge’s ruling,” Dumont said Tuesday.

Judge Geoffrey Crawford ruled last week that an environmental impact statement completed by the Air Force about basing F-35 fighter jets in Vermont complies with standards set by the National Environmental Policy Act. The planes are expected to arrive in at the Air National Guard base at Burlington International Airport in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pro-anti-F35 groups vie to control information

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 28, 2016

Frantic and frustrated attempts to dominate the narrative by well-meaning parties both for and against the F-35 basing and a related safety and sound lawsuit have upset some South Burlington residents and confused others.

There is an incredible amount of information available for the general public to consume: the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), legal filings, Federal Aviation Administration reports, and of course the administrative records — countless pages of documents released by the U.S. Air Force last year by order of Judge Geoffrey Crawford, who in July will hear a lawsuit about the impact of basing the F-35 at Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington city council meeting discussing joining F-35 lawsuit

By Thomas I. Chittenden
June 22, 2016

The city of South Burlington has no imperative to commit our good name and our resources to a private lawsuit against the U.S. government designed to stop military aircraft at Burlington International Airport. This question was not on the ballot this past March. Residents of South Burlington did not vote for this and we do not have to do this.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Public discussion on joining F-35 lawsuit

June 22, 2016

Public Hearing on F-35 Lawsuit. South Burlington City Council Special Meeting.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington supports F-35 lawsuit

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 23, 2016

The City Council voted in support of joining the F-35 litigation, but not as a plaintiff. It was not unanimous. Councilors Thomas Chittenden and Pat Nowak were the dissenters. Nowak was on vacation, but participated via smartphone.

There are barely two weeks left before Judge Geoffrey Crawford hears the case regarding F-35 noise mitigation and safety. The council felt it would be in the best interest of the city to make a statement in the form of an amicus brief. This will offer South Burlington’s perspective on the litigation, but not directly involve the city in the lawsuit.

Before the community had a chance to speak, council members introduced their concerns.

[FULL ARTICLE]

WPTZ report on South Burlington City Council joining F-35 lawsuit

By Renee Wunderlich
June 23, 2016

The South Burlington City Council dedicated it’s entire Wednesday night meeting  to one issue: whether or not to join the lawsuit against F-35 fighter jets set to be based at Burlington international airport starting in 2019.

“We just may come down on different sides of the issue, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been heard,” City Council Chair Helen Riehle said.

At the community forum, many for the jets say there’s only a small group against them coming to South Burlington.

“The issues that they’re trying to bring up in the lawsuit isn’t anything that can’t be answered outside of litigation,” said Nicole Citro, a community member well-known for her support of the F-35 plan. “Taking them to court isn’t going to get those questions answered. Because what it is with this lawsuit, the EIS was done — the Environmental Impact Study was done — you can’t get more information. It’s just making sure that it was done correctly, and it was done correctly. The basing decision wasn’t just on that, it was on a lot of different factors and I really think this is just a waste of everyone’s time.”

The suit centers around some questioning whether or not the Air Force’s Environmental Impact Study included information about concerns like noise and crash risks — two things some said have them very worried.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTDigger article on South Burlington filing legal brief in support of F-35 lawsuit

BY MORGAN TRUE
JUNE 25, 2016

The City Council voted 3-2 earlier this week to file an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in a lawsuit seeking to block the arrival of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport until the U.S. Air Force completes environmental reviews that the plaintiffs argue were not done properly.

South Burlington considered joining the suit as a plaintiff, but after the measure encountered stiff resistance from two city councilors and a some residents, the council settled on making its voice heard through a brief expressing support for the plaintiffs case.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Judge to consider South Burlington motion to join F-35 lawsuit

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 29, 2016

South Burlington filed on Tuesday a motion, asking the court to allow the city to support the safety and sound lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force, just one week before the case is heard. The city also submitted a formal memorandum in support of the lawsuit.

South Burlington City Attorney Jim Barlow confirmed that Judge Geoffrey Crawford will read and consider the brief. Both documents were filed by attorney John H. Klesch on behalf of the City of South Burlington.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from March 2012 is at the heart of the lawsuit. Litigants said it did not adequately address noise, health and safety issues associated with the F-35A jet beddown. Current litigants are the City of Winooski, the Stop the F-35 group and other six individuals.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Judge grants South Burlington entry into F-35 lawsuit

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 30, 2016

Judge Geoffrey Crawford has granted the City of South Burlington’s request to participate in support of the safety and sound lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force, only days before the case is heard in court.

South Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn and attorney John Klesch confirmed the development.

A federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from March 2012 is at the heart of the lawsuit. Litigants said it did not adequately address noise, health and safety issues associated with the F-35A jet beddown. Current litigants are the City of Winooski, the Stop the F-35 group and other six individuals. South Burlington is not a party to the lawsuit, it participates as amicus curiae, with a letter or memorandum supporting the litigants.

[FULL ARTICLE]

WPTZ coverage of federal F-35 NEPA hearing

By Stewart Ledbetter
July 5, 2016

Veracity of environmental review at heart of legal challenge

A federal judge heard arguments Tuesday over whether the U.S. Air Force did its job drafting an environmental impact study projecting how the F-35 fighter jet might fit in at the Burlington airport.

The USAF used the study in part to approve basing its newest warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard. The first 18 planes, each costing over $100 million, are due to arrive in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Seven Days article on federal F-35 NEPA hearing

BY MARK DAVIS
JULY 5, 2016

Opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base a squadron of next-generation F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport finally got their day in federal court on Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford heard arguments in a lawsuit accusing the Air Force of failing to conduct a proper environmental review before deciding to assign 18 of the F-35s to the Vermont Air National Guard. The planes are scheduled to arrive in 2019.

Opponents of the F-35s, which are louder than the F-16s currently based at the airport, are trying to get that decision set aside and to have a new review, known as an environmental impact statement, conducted. Residents of South Burlington and Winooski, along with the Stop the F-35 Coalition and the city of Winooski, filed the suit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTDigger article on federal F-35 NEPA hearing

By Adam Federman
July 6, 2016

Air Force attorney David Gehlert closed nearly four hours of testimony in Rutland Federal Court on Tuesday by stressing that the government has fully acknowledged the public health and environmental risks associated with the F-35 fighter jet.

Gehlert also acknowledged that the environmental impacts of the aircraft would be far greater for Burlington than they would be for the McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina or the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, also considered as sites for the F-35.

The arguments were part of a motion for summary judgment that will ultimately determine whether the Air Force’s Environmental Impact Statement issued in September 2013 properly took into account the dangers posed by the new fleet of aircraft.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington considering joining NEPA lawsuit

By Sarah Olsen
June 14, 2016

The City Council postponed a decision on joining a lawsuit seeking to keep F-35 fighter jets from being based at the local airport after councilors Monday traded accusations of manipulating or subverting the public process in order to sway the outcome.

The current plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Stop the F-35 Coalition, the city of Winooski and six Chittenden County residents. South Burlington councilors began discussing whether to join those parties during their June 6 meeting, but with two councilors unwilling to vote yes at the meeting, they decided to postpone a decision until Monday.

But because Monday’s meeting didn’t wrap up until 11 p.m., the councilors decided to hold another one June 22 specifically to hear the public’s opinion. The city could become a plaintiff in the suit, simply offer input as a “friend of the court,” or neither.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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