Dear SOSVT Allies and Friends:
The official USAF Record of Decision was announced on December 2, 2013 to locate the first-ever basing of a new warplane, the F35s, with an Air Guard unit that is situated in a densely populated residential area in South Burlington, VT. Defying all measures of common sense and safety, this marks the first time that a new warplane has ever been based in a residential area.
The manipulation of data, misinformation, and dismissal of scientific studies, which predict significant environmental damage to our Vermont communities and its people, by well-appointed politicians, corporate proponents, and the local military were key factors in this decision. But most influential of all was Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who was determined to bring home this pork “prize” for the Vermont Air National Guard, despite the destructive damage from the F35s that will be felt most intensely in the communities surrounding the airport.
Although substantial scientific evidence, including studies from the USAF itself, points to damage to the health, safety and property values of Vermont citizens, Sen. Leahy merely tells us that, in his opinion, it won’t be too bad or cause harm, and that we are “just going to have to trust him on this”.
But according to the World Health Organization, the damage will disproportionately impact thousands of Vermonters, whereby 50% of those impacted children will suffer cognitive learning disabilities. In addition, the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke for all who are subjected to the F35s impact will increase.
No problem, say Sen. Leahy! He says the “honor” of bringing the F35s to Vermont is worth it, despite the health impact on vulnerable populations and loss of property values. What a tragedy for our state and its people!
Once the basing decision was announced, our best means to continue fighting this inappropriate and out-of-scale basing are our legal options.
F-35 opponents in December 2012 requested that Burlington, which owns the airport, obtain an Act 250 permit in order to require the Air Force to mitigate the noise impacts of the new jet. The Act 250 permitting process is Vermont’s landmark land-use law that is designed to “mitigate the effects of development through an application process that addresses the environmental and community impacts of projects.”
Recently, Vermont State’s Environmental court judge denied the request by F35 opponents that Burlington obtain a land-use permit to host the fleet of F-35 fighter jets. The judge decided that proposed changes at the Vermont Air National Guard base that would be made to accommodate the jets do not warrant an Act 250 permit.
In reality, according to the US Air Force’s study, the F35s will make over half of the city adjoining the airport “unsuitable for residential use”! If ever there was a case for Vermont’s Act 250 law addressing an environmental impact of a project on a community, this is it!
We will continue this fight to the Vermont Supreme Court to appeal the decision, as well as working to raise the awareness of the fraudulent, corrupt waste of the F35s program on a national level. Please click here to donate to help fund this fight!
We are not alone in our fight! We are encouraged to note that opposition from other densely-populated residential communities against these loud, untested aircraft is being organized in places like Valparaiso, FL., Boise, ID., Tucson, El Mirage and Wittman, AZ, Beaufort, SC, Key West and N. Tampa, FL, as well as western Maine. The list is growing as other states organize to protect their neighborhoods against the projected intense damage from the proposed basing of the F35s in their areas.
In addition, anti-F35 campaigns are being waged internationally as seen in protests in Italy, Australia and the Netherlands that have been attended by thousands of residents fighting against the colossal waste of the over-budget, under-performing, problem-plagued F35s program that is corporate welfare for the military defense contractor, Lockheed Martin.
So please keep voicing your opposition, and keep our mission of stopping the F35s basing alive with your words and donations! By signing petitions, contacting your Congressional delegation and newspapers, the Governor of Vermont, the Mayor of Burlington and your local elected representative to give your feedback and concerns, you will continue to work towards protecting Vermont and its people from the devastation of the F35s.
Give money for the legal campaign, keep your voices strong, and don’t give up the fight!
- If you haven’t seen it yet, even Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have highlighted the waste and fraud of the F35 and wasteful military spending on their shows. We are reaching out to more national media outlets to continue to expose this flawed and unnecessary squandering of your taxpayer monies and our country’s misplaced priorities.
Stephen Colbert looks at the latest examples of this absurd way of spending money, especially a fighter jet called the F-35:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead