A letter from South Burlington teacher, Kathy Buley, against F-35

By Kathy Buley

I have been a teacher in the South Burlington school district for over thirty years. I have taught in all three of the elementary schools, and have been here at Chamberlin for twenty years. I have also lived in the Chamberlin neighborhood since 1980. I have, therefore, had a considerable amount of time to witness the changing dynamics of the airport and military aircraft during both my work day and at home.

When I first moved into the Chamberlin neighborhood, the sounds of the airport were a slight nuisance to which one could adjust. Over time, however, the growth of the airport and the introduction of the F-16s has created a significant intrusion into the lives of those in the neighborhood. The level of disturbance has become a reality that no one could have predicted when we bought our homes or built our school.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Noise Isn’t Just Annoying — It Can Kill – WhoWhatWhy

July 7, 2018

When considering the long list of pressing public health problems, a number of examples may come to mind — air pollution, drug addiction, contaminated water. Not getting enough exercise. Maybe even too much screen time. But one issue in particular may not seem immediately obvious — a noisy environment.

It’s no secret that being around constant noise can affect our hearing — hearing loss is the number one disability in America, affecting 25 percent of the population. But scientists from the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have shown that changes in our blood biochemistry from exposure to traffic noise can have life-threatening consequences.

It is thought that exposure to sudden loud noises triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which damages blood vessels over time, leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Opponents of the F 35 jet call for an investigation on the Vermont National Guard on “You Can Quote Me”

By Darren Perron
May 20, 2018

Right now on “You Can Quote Me,” opponents of the F 35 jet call for an investigation on the Vermont National Guard.
They’re alleging unethical and possible illegal conduct that resulted in Vermont landing the controversial plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 opponents claim basing decision rigged by Vt. National Guard, Leahy

May 18, 2018

Opponents of bringing the F-35 to Burlington are raising new allegations of wrongdoing by the Vermont National Guard and Senator Patrick Leahy. They are demanding a federal probe into what they call unethical, and perhaps illegal conduct, in key decisions to base the fighter jet in Vermont. Both the Guard and Leahy are calling the charges bogus.

Longtime F-35 opponent Rosanne Greco and a group she calls the ‘Search Party,’ claim to have uncovered damning information about the Vermont Guard and Senator Patrick Leahy in 68,000 pages of military correspondence.

“You can see the actual emails and who’s talking to who,” Greco said. “We finally decided if we didn’t go through this, the truth would be buried forever.”

She got the emails after a failed lawsuit to stop the next generation fighter jets from coming to Vermont. Although the suit was unsuccessful, it led to the release of emails between the Guard and the Air Force about the F-35. Greco’s group started to pour over them.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Summary of the Problems with the Burlington F-35 Basing Process

May 25, 2018

The process by which the United States Air Force selected the Vermont Air National Guard Station — co-located with the Burlington International Airport located in South Burlington, Vermont — involved an extensive analysis as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  It also involved highly inappropriate, unethical, and possibly prohibited, activities on the part of the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) and Vermont’s Senator Patrick Leahy including:

  • interference in the process through manipulation of facts and data, such as, (intentional?) scoring errors designed to misrepresent facts on the ground,
  • orchestration of public comments,
  • inappropriate attempts by military personnel to intimidate members of the public, and
  • withholding crucial information that directly affects public safety.
Download full PDF

Air Force Statements Expressing Doubt about Basing F-35As in Burlington

Marek to Faaborg (4-5-10) “Have no comments on the environmental sections for the F-35 three locations. I would question the statement that noise will not be a problem at Burlington, VT. This will be proven by the follow on scoping meetings and public hearings at Burlington. The airport does not have a big land foot print and sensitive receptors are located not far off the airport runway ends. I am not suggesting changing the statements made in this site survey. The EIAP with final EIS will provide the needed inputs for the decision makers.”  #40928

{The following three email exchanges are part of #46447}

Unidentified Sender to Penland (12-10-10) HAHA! But the toughest part of this exercise is for anyone with integrity is that it IS a freakin’ loud aircraft! The only aircraft I have ever flown formation with that I can hear in flight from route position. (Now…forget I said that, and delete this email, and empty your trash. And the double-secret network trash cache, too!)

Download full PDF

Senator Patrick Leahy’s Interference in the F-35 Basing Decision

Cray to Clark (3-12-10) “Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who, as one of the most senior members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, has led a decades’ long effort to ensure that the Vermont Air National Guard has the finest facilities, equipment, and training, and, in doing so, position Vermont to compete well for this important aspect of our national defense system.”  #40700

Bacon to Blankenship (7-27-10) “I heard from Sen Leahy’s staff today and they are looking at a 9 Aug date to meeting here in DC.  The point of this meeting is to get all players together (Burlington ANG, ACC, and Air Staff) to [sic] all to the personal staffers (JP Dowd and Will Goodman) about noise abatement as it relates to the city of Burlington, VT… Sounds like Burlington already has all the answers.  Pooter has been working this issue for a while.”  #43700

Download full PDF

Quotations from the Administrative Record showing VTANG Interference in the F-35A NEPA Basing Process

Rose to Wright (5-14-10) “We still have time to discuss your concerns regarding the changes since the 2006 Part 150 but just as an FYI, this is the same approach we were going to take with the JAX airport.”  #41588

Clark to Rose and Caputo (5-18-10) “…they are using our operational data from our latest noise study.  We do not want that—correct?  You may have this all under control, just wanted to check.”  #41607

Rose to Clark (5-18-10) “Sir, we are just in the data gathering and review mode.  We will confirm the approach we are taking with you (and get your input) before initiating our evaluations.  Just so you know, we need to be consistent (as much as possible) about how we model the bases and need to be able to justify/tell the story if we decide on different model approaches.”  #41607

Wright to Clark (6-30-10) “I asked Kevin Marek about the profile data used in the VTANG 2005 Noise Data Resource Book (NDRB).  He called the two main contractor POCs who worked on the report and both said the same thing:  that the base provided all of the data and had at least one shot at reviewing a draft document before it went final.  I also called John Ferraro, the former EM, and he recalled the same thing – all data came from the base, and he routed it internally for review.” #42541

Download full PDF

Air Force, state officials stand firm on F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
June 4, 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has told federal and local leaders that the Vermont Air National Guard has essentially one viable flying mission — the F-35 fighter jet.

Wilson told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in an interview last month at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that it was “highly likely” Vermont would lose the Guard base if Burlington doesn’t host the F-35.

Shortly after, Wilson reiterated her position in a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s,” Wilson wrote to Weinberger. “The Air Force is much smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Former Air Force leaders demand probe of ‘unethical’ conduct by Air Guard officials in F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
May 6 2018

Two retired Air Force officials have called on federal watchdogs to investigate the Vermont Air National Guard over what they allege is unethical and, perhaps, illegal conduct.

Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco, the leader of an activist group that opposes the F-35 fighter jet, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Bourassa, submitted letters to the inspectors general of the Air Force, Department of Defense and Air National Guard demanding investigations into “unprofessional, inappropriate, and possibly illegal conduct of some senior military officers of the Vermont Air National Guard” that appear “to violate military ethics and regulations.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG Political Engagement

May 24, 2018

Political Participation of Vermont Air National Guard Senior Officers 

MG Cray says “a vote of no” shows support for the Guard (2-9-18)

https://vtdigger.org/2018/02/09/air-guard-pushes-back-f-35-ballot-measure/

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MG Cray claims ballot item misleads the voters (2-9-18)

http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/2018/february/12/air-guard-responds-anti-f-35-burlington-ballot-question

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BG Clark says their press conference was held because of upcoming vote on ballot measure (3-1-18)

https://vtdigger.org/2018/03/01/vermont-air-guard-details-f-35-plans-ahead-contentious-ballot-measure/

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BG Clark says a vote of ‘no’ supports the Vermont Air National Guard (3-3-18)

http://freebeacon.com/issues/burlington-vt-prepares-vote-f-35-base/

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Vermont Air National Guard gives reporters a tour of base a week before Burlington vote stepping up their outreach efforts.  BG Clark called ballot item “inaccurate” (3-1-18)

http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermont-air-national-guard-prepares-f-35s-amid-burlington-vote-stop-them

Download full PDF

Individuals Involved In the F-35A Basing Discussions

May 25, 2018

Members of the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG)

Ahmann, Michael L – LtCol USAF ANG 158 FW/XP “Torch”

Baczewski, David P – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/CC “Baz”

Caputo, Christopher P – LtCol USAF ANG 158 OSF/CC, F-35 Program Integration Ofc “Pooter”

Clark, Joel A – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/FW

Cray, Steven A – MajGen USAF ANG, Adjutant General, Vermont, ”Wonder”

Dubie, Michael D – MajGen USAF ANG, Adjutant General, Vermont

Fick, Douglas E – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/FW

Finnegan, Daniel P – LtCol USAF ANG 158 MXS/CC “Gump”

Goodrow, Lloyd J – LtCol USAF ANG 158 LRS/LRS

Gookin, Christopher J – CPT USA VTARNG, State Public Affairs Officer

Harder, Henry U – Col USAF ANG “Boneman“

Harris, Richard N – BGen USAF NGVT

Jackman, Thomas W – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/CV

Villemaire, Jason R – Capt USAF ANG 158 CES/CE

Wright, Adam G – Civ USAF ANG 158 MDG/SG, Environmental Manager

 

Members of the Congressional Delegation and Staffers

Carnes, Alex – Office of U.S.Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Copans, Jon  – Office of Representative Peter Welsh, Vermont

Goodman, Will – Legislative Fellow, Office of Senator Patrick Leahy

Leahy, Patrick – United States Senator, Vermont

Sanders, Bernie – United States Senator, Vermont

Tracy, John – Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Weinstein, David – Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont, Senior Policy Advisor

Welch, Peter – United States Representative, Vermont

Download full PDF

Will nukes accompany F-35s to Vermont? No one’s saying

By Jasper Craven
June 3, 2018

In an undated internal analysis of press coverage tied to the proposed basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport, Vermont Air National Guard leaders detailed five potential media questions “We Hope We Don’t Get.”

The first four dreaded questions were often asked throughout the years-long debate over the controversial plane’s basing, and included “Why is the F35A four times louder?” and “Why would you be in favor of bringing a plane here when the Accident Potential Zone extends two miles into Winooski?”

But the fifth and final question is one that has been rarely discussed, and is almost impossible to answer: “Where are you planning on storing the nuclear weapons that are part of the F-35 arsenal?”

Opponents of the F-35 in Burlington have long raised the specter of nuclear weapons coming to Chittenden County along with the F-35, and the plane was designed with nuclear payload capability. In May 2013, when the plane’s opponents asked the Vermont Air Guard about nuclear bombs being based in Burlington, even military officials seemed unsure of the answer.

“We haven’t talked about nuclear capabilities of the F-35A yet so this may take us some time,” wrote an Air Force public affairs officer at the Pentagon to her Vermont counterpart. “We’re asking about it.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Ballot Ads

  

 

Democrats and Progressives Push US War Machine in Vermont – World Beyond War

By William Boardman
February 1, 2018

Donald Trump loves the F-35 and so does Burlington City Council – that is the real state of the union

his 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. And you wonder how we got Trump as President.

Opposition to basing the F-35 in a residential neighborhood is at least as old as the mindless official support, and the opposition has been much more articulate, thoughtful, and detailed. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and Burlington native, has been enthusiastic about militarizing his hometown from the start, treating it as if it should be seen as an honorable piece of pork from the military-industrial complex. Independent senator Bernie Sanders, like Democratic congressman Peter Welch, has hedged slightly in his support, but neither has come close to a cogently articulated position, much less opposition. Governors of both parties have been cheerleaders, especially Peter Shumlin, who took a junket to Florida to listen to an F-35 and decided it wasn’t all that loud (which was shortly before he decided universal healthcare wasn’t all that necessary).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski F35 Resolution

April 16, 2018

CITY OF WINOOSKI CITY COUNCIL

RESOLUTION ON THE BASING OF THE F-35S AT THE BURLINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Whereas the City of Winooski wishes to address the Air Force decision to base F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport, doing so through Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson, and ;

Whereas the City of Winooski remains steadfast in our support and commitment to the value of the Vermont Air National Guard to our community, the region, and the state, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of each member of the Guard and their families, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski formally requests the Vermont Air National Guard continue to have a mission that reflects their high level of commitment and professional expertise each member brings to our service, and;

[FULL ARTICLE]

2018 F35 Resolution

March 26, 2018

Resolution Relating to

REQUESTING THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MISSION FOR THE VERMONT AIR NATIONAL GUARD AT BURLINGTON AIRPORT

CITY OF BURLINGTON

In the year Two Thousand Eighteen…
Resolved by the City council of the City of Burlington, as follows:

That WHEREAS, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 to 5,238, the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen-initiated ballot item by 55.31% of the total votes cast:

“Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, 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,’ advise the City Council to:

1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?;” and

WHEREAS, the Vermont National Guard provided valuable service to the community and to the country that is gratly appreciated by the City of Burlington;

[FULL ARTICLE from Burlington Free Press, PDF also available HERE]

South Burlington F-35 resolution as adopted 4-16-18

South Burlington City Council Resolution in Solidarity with the cities of Burlington and Winooski regarding replacing the F-35A with a safe and quiet aircraft

WHEREAS, South Burlington values the women and men of the Vermont National Guard and endorses their mission to protect the citizens of Vermont;

WHEREAS, South Burlington is the city out of which the Vermont National Guard flies;

WHEREAS, the city of Burlington owns the Burlington International Airport, which is geographically located in the city of South Burlington;

WHEREAS, South Burlington has no legal authority over the flight operations, including those of the Vermont National Guard, at the Burlington International Airport;

WHEREAS, according to the Final United States Air Forces F-35A Operational Basing Environmental Impact Statement, there are over 1,900 homes and over 4,600 people in the F-16 65dB DNL, an area the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use;

[FULL ARTICLE]

Request to halt F-35 goes forward without Weinberger’s support

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto “would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely,” Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on VTDigger.org that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger’s six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

The council considered the resolution after 55 percent of Burlingtonians, on an advisory Town Meeting Day ballot question, voted to halt the basing of the F-35s and request a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport. The F-35s are currently scheduled to arrive in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger won’t sign off on Burlington City Council F-35 resolution

By Anne Galloway
April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Wednesday morning that he will not support a Burlington City Council resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets, which are slated to be based at the local airport in 2019.

Weinberger consulted with the Vermont Air National Guard and federal officials who he says satisfactorily addressed noise and public safety concerns raised by the public and a series of investigative stories by VTDigger.

Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day rejected the basing of the fighter jets at Burlington International Airport and asked that city leaders urge the Air Force to give the Vermont Air National Guard an alternative mission.

A City Council resolution passed on March 26 reflected the will of city voters.

Weinberger will not sign the resolution. While the mayor previously said he would reconsider his backing of the F-35 basing if voters opposed the fighter jets, he is now reiterating his support for the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council Votes to Request Replacement of F-35

By James Ehlers

April 10, 2018

Here is my position on the F-35. Besides my past study and experience, the DOT&E Report and analysis from the Project On Government Oversight offers further basis for the James Ehlers for Vermont position on this controversial issue.

I applaud the Burlington City Council for their resolution to replace the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport (a site that was not supported by many in the Air Force at the time).

The people of Burlington spoke out on Election Day, and it is essential that we as leaders respect and promote the will of the people. We have to work together to find a reasonable replacement.

We cannot and MUST not allow whole communities–our schools, businesses and homes– to be degraded by massive noise impacts and extreme environmental risks in the event of a crash. Many of the most affected communities had no say at all in the basing process. Let’s invest in Vermonters, not unproven, financially irresponsible weapons of war.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont Congressional Delegation Opposes Vermont Voters

By William Boardman
March 29, 2018

What happens when the lives of citizens get in the way of political egos?

he politics of American imperialism are alive and well in Vermont, where elected officials are defending the military-industrial war-making machine against voters who reject ruling class priorities. At the symbolic center of this democratic confrontation is the notorious F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most expensive weapons system, designed to kill in many ways, including a nuclear first strike. And the few times Vermonters have had the chance to vote, they’ve voted against basing this loud, health-harming, housing-destroying offensive war machine in the state’s most densely populated area. Now it’s coming to a head in a people versus career politicians face-off.

At a Town Meeting on March 6, Burlington voters chose, by a 55% majority, to ask the Air Force to base the F-35 in some other state. On March 26, the Burlington City Council, by a 9-3 vote, forwarded that request to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson to “replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record….” For whatever reason, the council request left out the rest of the ballot resolution’s request: “… proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area” (perhaps because that densely populated area is NOT Burlington). The City Council asked Secretary Wilson to respond by May 1.

Vermont’s quisling Congressional delegation – Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Independent senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic congressman Peter Welch – made what looks like a cheap shot effort to influence the council vote at the last minute. Late on the afternoon of March 26, Vermont’s “representatives” issued a joint statement saying they stood by their years of pushing for the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport, which is in South Burlington (which has no voice in the decision).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council to ask for F-35 plane alternatives

By Tom Garris
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 in favor of a resolution to send a letter to the secretary of the United States Air Force asking for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets that are set to arrive in 2019.

The measure passed after hours of public comment and council debate and requests a response from the secretary by May 1.

This comes after Burlingtonians voted in favor of a Town Meeting Day advisory question, also known as ballot question No. 6, asking the council to request a cancellation of the planes.

City Council President Jane Knodell said she voted in favor of the resolution because it’s what the voters in her district wanted, but she noted that there is a risk.

She said the Vermont Air National Guard could pull out altogether.

“But they might say that we want the Air Guard to really work very hard on noise mitigation, because people are very concerned about that,” Knodell said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger could veto city council vote on F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 28, 2018

The Burlington City Council passed a resolution on Monday night requesting an aircraft less noisy than the F-35 fighter jets — but it may be premature for opponents of the jets to celebrate.

Mayor Miro Weinberger can sign or veto the resolution, according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for the mayor. A veto would then require two-thirds of the council to vote to override the decision.

Weinberger needs to “take action or provide a response” by the council meeting on April 16, according to Vane, and he plans to make a decision by then.

On Tuesday, the mayor indicated that he’ll be deliberate.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” Weinberger said in a statement.

Weinberger, who has previously expressed support for the jets, “is still digging into the repercussions of the city requesting an alternative mission,” Vane said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger says he may take 20 days to decide on F-35

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said Tuesday he will need up to 20 days to decide whether to support a City Council resolution asking the Air Force for an alternative to the controversial basing of the F-35 jet fighter.

Weinberger said he expects to use as much time as he needs before the council’s next meeting on April 16. Under the city charter, he must decide within that time frame.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” he said in a written statement.

Weinberger has long been a supporter of the F-35 basing, but he told VTDigger in February that he would reconsider his stance if voters opposed it.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council approves resolution calling for F-35 cancellation

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 Monday in support of a resolution requesting the cancellation of a planned F-35 fighter jet basing at the Burlington airport in favor of an aircraft that is quieter and has a proven safety record.

The City Council vote follows a ballot measure passed by Burlington residents on Town Meeting Day demanding that the City Council ask the Air Force to cancel plans for basing the F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

The motion states: “the Burlington City Council values the Air National Guard’s contributions to our community and respectfully requests the Honorable Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson, replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record, consistent with the ballot question previously cited.”

Like the ballot measure, the letter is advisory in nature. With the basing already approved, the Air Guard has the final say on whether to cancel the basing.

“We obviously have no authority over the Air Force, but we are clear on what we’re asking,” said Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, who drafted the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council wants F-35 based elsewhere

March 26, 2018

City councilors in Burlington want the F-35 to be based somewhere else.

Public comment on the issue lasted for hours at a packed City Hall Monday night. People on both sides of the debate stepped up to share their opinions about whether the Queen City should support the Air Force’s latest fighter jet set to land in Vermont in fall 20-19.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a non-binding ballot item saying they do not want the jets here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council could vote to request cancelation of the F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 26, 2018

The Burlington City Council will take up a resolution Monday that asks the U.S. Air Force to base a safer alternative to the F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

The proposed measure comes after 55 percent of Burlingtonians voted on Town Meeting Day to ask the council to “request the cancellation” of the planes and find a less noisy, less risky option.

“The voters asked us to take action, so we’re going to take action,” said Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who sponsored the resolution.

It includes a lengthy list of questions for Air Force secretary Heather Wilson: whether an alternative mission would be plausible, the safety and environmental risks of the F-35s, how often pilots would use afterburners and whether Burlington is the only populated area where F-35s will be deployed. The resolution asks for a written response from Wilson by May 1.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Testing the Impact of Jet Noise on South Burlington School

By Cory Dawson
March 20, 2018

School officials will begin conducting noise pollution tests soon at a South Burlington elementary school that sits about a half mile from Burlington International Airport runways.

For years, teachers, students and staff at Chamberlin School — with 250 students from kindergarten through 5th grade — have endured jet noise from the nearby airport, said South Burlington Superintendent David Young.

“Our teachers often have to just pause for a few minutes, because it’s just difficult to talk over,” Young said. “This is particularly when the F-16s, or prior to that when the F-4s were flying over. It was kind of known as the ‘Chamberlin pause.’”

Young said he has been asking for years to use money from a Federal Aviation Administration grant program that allows for noise insulation for buildings that are affected by high noise levels.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democracy 1, War Machine 0 | SocialistWorker.org

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, last week approved a referendum directing local officials to oppose the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in Burlington.

While majority opposition to the basing has been clear in neighboring towns, the referendum marked the first time the issue has been put to a popular vote. “This is a huge victory for democracy,” said organizer Jimmy Leas, “All the congressional delegation, the entire political establishment of Vermont was addressed by this electorate today that, with 55 percent of the vote, said ‘Yes,’ we want to cancel the F-35.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

VPR VT Edition on F-35 Burlington vote

By Jane Lindholm & Matthew F. Smith
March 12, 2018

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We’re looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to “request the cancellation” of the F-35 basing decision, and “request instead” alternate “low-noise-level equipment” for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won’t change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington school officials race to test for noise ahead of F-35 arrival

 

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 11, 2018

An elementary school near the Vermont Air National Guard base will be tested for sound levels in April, a year after a federal manager warned that the 1960s-era structure required modifications to protect students from jet noise.

“So long as sound insulation is provided and the windows are shut in the school it should be fine,” Federal Aviation Administration Environmental Program Manager Richard Doucette said at a Burlington International Airport community meeting on Feb. 21, 2017.

Doucette surprised the school district that evening when he told airport neighbors that the FAA was looking into the safety of the 65-decibel sound level for children. Chamberlin Elementary School, four blocks or 2,000 feet from one of the airport’s runways, sits within that sound level zone. Residents within the 70-decibel noise zone in 2016 were offered federal funds to abandon their homes because the government believes that level of sound to be unlivable.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Seven State Legislators Call to Cancel F-35 Basing

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Burlington Representatives and Chittenden County Senators, have signed a group letter urging Burlington voters to vote “Yes” on ballot question #6 regarding the F35s. The letter follows:

To whom it may concern,

We stand together in favor of Burlington’s ballot question #6 to oppose the basing of the F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard. The issues are as follows:

1. Noise/Housing: The F-35 is over four times louder than the current F-16, which will put over 6,600 people’s home in a high decibel noise zone that the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use.1

2. Crash rate: The planes are still new and as such have an eight times higher crash rate than the F-16s. Typically the Air Force chooses a remote base for the new military aircraft. With 1,400 homes in the crash zone, we cannot take this risk. The current runway aims directly at the largest shopping area in Vermont with two dozen big box stores one mile away in Williston. This is not an abstract issue. In 1965, a military jet crashed in Williston. Fortunately, the area was an open field at the time so the casualties were limited to the two people on board.2…

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Ballot Discussion at Burlington’s North End NPAs

February 28, 2018

Each of Burlington’s neighborhoods has its own unique history, resources and problems to be solved, and the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies reflect this diversity. Because many of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies grew out of existing neighborhood groups, each has a different character and a different approach to resolving issues.

The February meeting of the Ward 4 & 7 NPA (North End NPAs) addresses ballot items for Town Meeting Day, candidates running for office, and other neighborhood issues.

Scroll to 25:00 mark in the video above for coverage of the F-35 ballot item.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: I knew I was disturbing the peace

March 4, 2018

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream knew he was disturbing the peace with a noisy demonstration against fighter jets.

Ben Cohen told the Burlington Free Press that’s exactly the point.

Cohen was one of three activists arrested for disorderly conduct Saturday after blasting jet noise from a mobile public address system in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the goal was to simulate what it might be like for residents living under the flight path of Vermont National Guard F-35 fighters. He tweeted that if he violated the city noise ordinance then the fighter jets will, too.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An F-35 jet blast demonstration leads to noise complaint charges

By Dom Amato
March 3, 2018

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s led a public service demonstration Saturday, simulating the sound of an F-35 jet blast.

Cohen and other organizers were eventually arrested by Burlington Police, and charged with disorderly conduct by noise. The protestors drove a truck with multiple speakers throughout Burlington — to allow people to hear what they say over 6,000 people in the F-35 flight path will hear multiple times a day. Burlington Police issued at least one set of tickets to the organizers for a noise violation as well. Multiple residents and businesses were heavily impacted and complained to the group about the lack of warning.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder arrested in Burlington

By Rebecca Reese
March 3, 2018

A well-known Vermont businessman was handcuffed today in front of Burlington City Hall.

Police say Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested this afternoon. He was taken into custody after leading a public service demonstration intended to simulate the sound of the F-35 jet blast.

Lt. Matthew Sullivan explained a truck with amplifiers was pulled over multiple times throughout Burlington receiving tickets for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

“Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise so they were arrested,” Lt. Sullivan said. “Three protesters were arrested.”

Supporters of the demonstration such as James Leas said arresting protesters for noise proved their point about F-35 jet blasts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) arrested for noisy protest in Burlington, Vt.

By Lucas Phillips
March 03, 2018

Ben Cohen was reportedly driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport. One of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested after repeatedly violating noise ordinances in Burlington, Vt., as part of a protest Saturday, police said.

From 11 a.m. until his arrest at 3:20 p.m., 66-year-old Bennett Cohen of Williston (better known to the world as Ben) was driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport, according to Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan of Burlington police. Sullivan said Cohen was pulling a trailer with “speakers you’d find in a club . . . probably 6 feet . . . in height” and powered by four generators.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s cofounder arrested during F-35 protest

By Tom Garris
March 3, 2018

The cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested-along with two other people-Saturday, for disorderly conduct by noise.

Ben Cohen was among a group that staged a political demonstration in downtown Burlington.

They had a pickup truck hauling a trailer with heavy audio equipment, playing aircraft takeoff noises.

It was a form of protest to simulate F-35 aircrafts set to come to the South Burlington Airport in 2019.

“We are sorry to disturb people,” Cohen said. “We don’t want to do this, but it’s a disturbance once for people that are going to hear this demonstration.”

Sound levels peaked more than 100 decibels, and police received complaints about the noise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. co-founder Ben Cohen arrested during F-35 protest in Vermont

By Jess Aloe
March 3, 2018

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested Saturday in downtown Burlington for violating the city’s noise ordinances while holding a “public demonstration” about F-35 fighter planes, police said.

Activists opposed to the impending basing of the Air Force F-35s in Burlington played jet noise from speakers mounted on the back of a pickup truck at a decible level they said simulated what it would be like to be underneath the flight path of the planes

Cohen was one of three people arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after 3 p.m., said Lt. Matthew Sullivan. Cohen was escorted from a downtown intersection in handcuffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen Arrested for Protesting F-35 Fighter Jets – Breitbart

By Sean Moran
March 4, 2018

Burlington, Vermont police arrested Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen on Saturday after he repeatedly violated a local noise ordinance in a personal protest against the F-35 fighter jet.
Cohen, a supporter of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, attached several amplifiers to his car and drove through the city to simulate the sound of an F-35 fighter jet.

The protest began around 11 A.M. on Saturday and was cited numerous times before Cohen was arrested for violating the town’s noise ordinance.

Burlington Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan said, “Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise, so they were arrested, three protesters were arrested.”

Cohen tweeted on Saturday, “Getting ticketed. It’s either legal or it’s not, if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise 16 times per day, 52 wks a yr, for the next 50 yrs, it should b legal for us to do this limited demonstration of extreme jet blasts which are the subject of Item #6 on the March ballot.”

Supporters of the protest argued that by arresting the demonstrators, the police proved their point about the dangers of excessive noise pollution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35’s Harm to kids

By Linda Ayer
January 14, 2013

Attached is the two page resolution that the Burlington Board of Health is submitting to the City Council in regard to basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Air Guard Station at the Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Also, a link to a copy of Children’s Health and the Environment, by WHO (World Health Organization) Training Package for the Health Sector.

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

Save Our Skies VT is making public the dire health impacts—both physical and cognitive—to the
children in our area from the noise of the F-35. They will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM

on Monday, March 5, 2018 outside of Burlington City Hall (Church St side). Health care profes-
sionals, teachers, parents, Colonel Rosanne Greco, and Ben Cohen will be present to speak based on their expertise and personal experiences.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Jimmy Leas Interview with WCAX

March 4, 2018
By Darren Perron

Good morning everyone, I’m Darren Perron. Right now on “You Can Quote Me,” how much it will cost you. Federal Tax Changes hitting some Vermont families hard. The state’s Tax Commissioner joins me in just a bit.

Also, campaign countdown in the Burlington Mayors race. Meet the candidates making their final push before Town Meeting Day.

And progress report on the F-35, plus controversy surrounding a ballot question about the fighter jet.

[FULL ARTICLE Part One] [FULL ARTICLE Part Two]

Burlington Ward 6 NPA Meeting

March 1, 2018

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) are grassroots, neighborhood organizations that were established in each of Burlington’s seven Wards to empower citizen participation in City government. Working as neighborhood advocacy groups, Neighborhood Planning Assemblies facilitate communication between the citizens of Burlington and city government through regular meetings scheduled in each Ward.

Scroll to 87:03 in the video above for the segment about Ballot Item Regarding the Vermont Air National Guard Basing of F-35’s at Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Local 22 F-35 press conference coverage

By Torrance Gaucher
March 5, 2018

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day, and Vermonters can head to the polls starting at 7 am.

In Burlington, voters will be voting to elect a new mayor, city councilors, and seven ballot items. Those items range from recommending to raise the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. To the controversial ballot item, whether the F35 should be based in the community.

On Monday, concerned residents gathered outside of City Hall on Church Street to inform voters about the health impacts of the fighter jet.

Also, how the level of noise will disturb way of life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ice cream mogul Ben Cohen, activists arrested for ‘jet blasts’ in Burlington

By Anne Galloway
Mar 4, 2018

Demonstrators don’t often break the law to get their point across, but on Saturday, three activists who oppose the F-35 basing in Burlington, did just that.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ray Gonda, a military vet, and Richard Joseph broke the city’s sound ordinance to make a point: The F-35s that are coming to the Burlington area are loud. Extremely loud. So loud that when the three men blasted neighborhoods with the jet sound residents emerged from their houses (with their hands over their ears) to shout at the activists to stop the deafening roar.

The noise came from a set of speakers on the back of a pickup truck. It simulated an F-35 fighter jet flying at 1,000 feet — a booming rumble that hits a decibel level of 115 — about four times louder than the F-16, the fighter jets that have been based at Burlington International Airport since the 1980s.

“We cranked this thing up and it’s insane,” Cohen said. “A lot of people were pissed off, how could you make this much noise in front of my house?”

Cohen was apologetic. He said he knew the jet blasts were obnoxious in the extreme, but he said, “It was necessary to do this to prevent a greater harm.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018

TIME STAMPS:

Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother: https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=2m10s

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=5m8s

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=6m16s and earlier at https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXm M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=8m21s

Dr. John Reuwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=11m36s

Ben Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=13m30s

Closing (Rosanne Greco): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=15m58s

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=17m56s

F-35 opponents highlight children’s health risks in final ballot push

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

Activists opposed to the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets in Burlington made a final plea to voters Monday to consider the health effects of noise exposure on area children when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Question #6 on the Burlington ballot asks voters whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the planned basing and ask for quieter aircraft. Vermont Air National Guard officials and local economic development boosters have stressed that the ballot measure is non-binding and will not affect the military’s plans.

Environmental impact data compiled by the Air Force in 2013 states that the F-35 will be four times louder than the F-16s currently stationed at the Vermont Air Guard base. That volume increase will disproportionately affect young children at area homes and schools, opponents said at a press conference Monday.

Among the dozens of activists gathered at City Hall was Fiona Griffin, who lives under the airport flight path in Winooski. Griffin said that her two children, now ages 4 and 2, have been afraid of the F-16s since they were toddlers.

“Fighter jets have woken my babies while they slept, scared them while they played, and brought them to tears on more than one occasion,” Griffin said. “It’s just really disruptive.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy and staff had role in F-35 basing decision

By Jasper Craven
Mar 5 2018

In December 2012, more than 100 Vermonters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington office to voice their displeasure over his support for a plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

While many of the activists in attendance generally agreed with the senior senator’s political philosophy and that of his two fellow Vermont congressional colleagues, they found themselves at odds on the F-35 issue. One woman’s sign read: “Leahy, Sanders, Welch, You’re Breaking My Heart.”

According to a Seven Days report, protesters entered Leahy’s office and demanded the Democratic lawmaker hold a public hearing on the F-35. Leahy’s chief of staff, John Tracy, appeared on the senator’s behalf and dismissed calls for a forum.

Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington attorney long opposed to the planes, pointed out to Tracy that “so far, (Leahy) has only made himself available to speak with supporters of the plane.”

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

F-35 noise public service announcement

March 3, 2018

Stop the F-35! Give the guard a plane that doesn’t hurt our neighbors and their children. Vote YES on #6.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Former Air Force colonel commands F-35 opposition

Rosanne GrecoBy Jasper Craven
Mar 2 2018

For nearly three decades, Col. Rosanne Greco served her country in the U.S. Air Force. But for the past five years, she’s been engaged in a fierce battle with the military over the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

And while Greco looks back fondly on her service, her perspective on the military — and jet noise — has changed dramatically since she began asking questions about plans to base 18 F-35s in Burlington, scheduled to begin next fall.

“I just get sort of a thrill with that loud noise, so it never bothered me personally,” Greco recalled. “As a matter of fact, we used to run out and listen to it. Although I emotionally enjoy loud jet noise, now my head knows that it’s not really good for me. … Now when I hear the noise I connect it to the people who are trapped, who really have nowhere to go.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont officials steadfast in support of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Mar 1 2018

In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.

Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.

The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.

Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.

After touching down in sunny Florida, Democrat Shumlin and the rest of his delegation took a tour of an F-35. “It’s a pretty amazing machine,” Shumlin remarked to a Vermont Public Radio reporter who accompanied the officials.

After the tour, Shumlin listened to two idling jet models: one simulating an F-16, the military aircraft currently based in Burlington; the other mocking an F-35, the replacement. Shumlin and his colleagues also witnessed both planes taking off. “Volume, seems to me, is about the same,” Shumlin observed.

“Listening to this has been a real eye opener,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Problems have plagued the F-35 for many years

By Jasper Craven
Feb 28 2018

Many adjectives have been used to describe the F-35 stealth fighter jet scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year, and few of them are flattering.

The F-35 program has been pilloried in the national press as “flawed” and “failed.” It’s been called a “nightmare,” “a mess” and “a trillion-dollar mistake.” And just last month, a Bloomberg report bluntly stated: “The Pentagon Isn’t Happy with the F-35.”

Sen. John McCain, a longtime military stalwart, has been a consistent critic of the Joint Strike Fighter program over its years of development delays and cost overturns that continue to this day.

“The F-35 program’s record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” the Arizona Republican said when he chaired a 2016 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-35.

In 2013, the Defense Department inspector generaldetermined that the plane’s main developer, Lockheed Martin, was inadequately overseeing the F-35’s development, which “may result in nonconforming hardware, less reliable aircraft, and increased cost.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Already battered by thunderous noise, community braces for arrival of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Feb 27 2018

Conversations in Ray Gonda’s house came to an abrupt halt whenever the F-16s started roaring. As the growling grew louder, Gonda and his wife moved away from the windows, which vibrated as if they were possessed. As the plane took off and flew over their home, family pictures hanging side-by-side on the living room wall shook violently.

“I’d often have to readjust those pictures after the plane took off,” Gonda recalled recently.

For decades now, a fleet of F-16 fighter jets have flown out of Burlington International Airport. While the noise has become routine to many, the impact of the sound hasn’t lost its potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Town Meeting Day Burlington Ballot Forum: The F-35 Question

February 25, 2018

Advocates on both sides of the F-35 debate Nicole Citro, Bill Keogh, Jimmy Leas, and Roseanne Greco share their perspectives on the F-35 plane to be used by the VT Air National Guard slated for 2019 during this live call-in forum with Channel 17 Moderator Meghan O’Rourke

[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]

General Cray’s February 9, 2018 Press Conference

February 9, 2018

There seems to be some misinformation being circulated about where we are in the F35 basing process by the opponents of the F35. I also want to make a few comments about the non-binding ballot question being presented to the voters of Burlington.

I need to make it perfectly clear that I am the spokesperson for the Vermont National Guard, the opponents of the F35 are not…

There is no alternative mission being planned for the VT Air National Guard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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]

Association between the rates of low birth-weight and/or preterm infants and aircraft noise exposure

September 2003

OBJECTIVES:
Intense noise exposure having been observed in vicinal areas around the U.S. military airfields in Okinawa, Japan, suggests the possibility of adverse effects on fetal growth, as studies have reported such effects around other airfields. This study analyzes the birth records in Okinawa prefecture and investigates whether lower birth weights of infants and shorter gestation periods are observed around the airfields.

METHODS:
The records of 160,460 births in 15 municipalities around the Kadena and Futenma airfields from 1974 to 1993 were subjected to analysis. Average WECPNL among residents in each municipality was calculated as a measure of noise exposure, since the birth records did not contain information on precise birth addresses but only the municipalities. The odds ratios of low birth weight, i.e. under 2,500 grams, and preterm birth, i.e. less than 37 weeks, were obtained by multiple logistic regression analysis with adjustment for the primary factors that would be related to fetal growth. The factors included sex, maternal age, live birth order, occupation of householder, legitimacy of the infant, year of birth and interaction between maternal age and live birth order.

RESULTS:
The logistic regression analysis showed a significant dose-response relationship between low birth weight and noise exposure. The significance probability of trend test was less than 0.0001. The adjusted odds ratio was 1.3 in the highest noise exposure area

[FULL ARTICLE]

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]

Air Force Bases & Toxic Chemicals

January 8, 2018

For 25 years, Dan Cruz delivered mail at the Peterson Air Force Base and drank the water. Then came cancer – thyroid, prostate, testicular – he said never before seen in his family.

“I’m the only one that’s been diagnosed with cancer not once, not twice, but three times. People on my route… cancer has come upon them and sometimes stage 4,” Cruz told CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

The cause could be firefighting foam used since the 1970s at Air Force bases and airports across the country, something meant to save lives that may have harmed them instead. The foam contains highly fluorinated chemicals, known as PFCs. It is suspected of causing some cancers and underweight births.

[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}

F-16 and F-35 Bombers Threaten Cognitive Health of Children in Vermont Town

By James Marc Leas
July 19, 2017

A crisis plagues 976 families in a working-class neighborhood of South Burlington, Vermont. Eighteen screamingly loud F-16 fighter bombers based at Vermont’s main airport are the cause. Worse, the number of families in crisis from this jet noise is set to sharply increase in two years when the Air Force says it will replace the F-16s with four-times-louder F-35 fighter bombers.

The neighboring city of Burlington owns and runs the Burlington International Airport, even though that airport is fully located within South Burlington. The city council of South Burlington has so far restricted itself to adopting a series of polite resolutions regarding the health and safety of the 976 families living in tiny affordable homes in the screeching noise zone of F-16 fighter jets. But these resolutions were all dismissed by Vermont’s political elite who instead successfully lobbied the Air Force to bring on the F-35.

Nor did Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders come to the aid of the largely working-class residents living in the airport neighborhood of South Burlington. Both senators refused even to meet with residents, declaring jet-fighter basing a matter of patriotism or jobs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Physiological, Motivational, and Cognitive effects of Aircraft Noise on Children

Physiological, Motivational, and Cognitive effects of Aircraft Noise on Children,” by Sheldon Cohen, et al, American Psychologist, Vol. 35 No. 3, March 1980, Describes a peer reviewed study showing that children attending noisy schools – in an air corridor of Los Angeles International Airport – have higher blood pressures and perform more poorly on cognitive tasks than do children attending quiet schools. The study also shows that the negative effects of aircraft noise on the performance and health of these school children do not diminish over time.

A follow-up study of effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition

A follow-up study of effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition,” Mary M Haines, et al, International Journal of Epidemiology (2001)  30 (4): 839-845. “Results and Conclusions: At follow-up chronic aircraft noise exposure was associated with higher levels of annoyance and perceived stress, poorer reading comprehension and sustained attention, measured by standardized scales after adjustment for age, social deprivation and main language spoken.”

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment,”  UCLA Community Health and Advocacy Training Program, Adrian Castro, et al, February 2010, “Levels of noise due to plane and jet take-offs from Santa Monica Airport are above Federal Aviation Airport thresholds. Excessive noise is associated with: hearing loss, higher levels of psychological distress, and impaired reading comprehension and memory among children.”

Noise Exposure Standards to Prevent Hearing Loss

Occupational Noise Exposure,”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) noise exposure standards to prevent hearing loss. For the 115 decibel noise level of the F-35 (Air Force Environmental Impact Statement ES-11) the maximum exposure to prevent hearing loss is 28 seconds. These are adult standards. Children are far more vulnerable.

noise-exposure-durations solve-puzzle-noise

Children and Noise – World Health Organization

Children and Noise,” World Health Organization

The Revised Environmental Impact Statement Errors Discount F-35 Noise Health Impacts

What the Air Force tells us in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Important Update – Please Read This!

 

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{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} 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!  




SOSVT.org

  1. 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:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/433286/february-25-2014/the-word—jobsolete

“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

What to Believe:

Click here to download pdf.

WHAT (AND WHO) TO BELIEVE

ABOUT THE F-35A BASING

Positions on the F-35A can be based on objective facts or subjective opinions. Listed below are the facts and opinions as stated by the opponents and supporters of the F-35A.

 

The facts, as stated by the opponents, come from government documents and professional health organizations, which are based on research and scientific studies. All references are cited.

 

The opinions come from ads, letters, and statements in the press from individuals. Since no source documents were provided to substantiate their statements, one can regard their views as being their own personal opinions or conjecture.

 

 

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

Opinions

 

I would unquestionably object to the potential F-35 basing in Vermont if I believed F-35 noise would make Winooski or South Burlington unlivable. But I don’t believe that will be the case. I am not willing to sacrifice any Vermont community for a new fighter jet….In fact, I support the F-35 because I believe its impacts, taken together, will make local communities more vibrant through increased investment.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)

 

When asked by reporter, Mark Johnson “Is there anything you could hear that would change your mind and make you oppose this?” Leahy responded “Sure, if it was, if it came, if the report showed that this was a danger to our communities then, ah, of course, I would.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May 2013)

 

“…F-35 flight operations may represent 6 minutes of minimal inconvenience 4 days a week….”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)

 

 

 

 

Facts

 

There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health.”

(WHO p. xvii)

 

There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.” (WHO p. 105)

 

Noise is generally described as unwanted sound….Noise analysis thus requires assessing a combination of physical measurements of sound, physical and physiological effects, plus psycho-and socio-acoustic effects. The response of different individuals to similar noise events is diverse and influenced by the type of noise, the perceived importance of the noise, its appropriateness in the setting, the time of day, the type of activity during which the noise occurs, and the sensitivity of the individual.” (RDEIS p. 3-6)

 

There are several points of interest in the noise annoyance relation. The first is DNL of 65 dB. This is a level most commonly used for noise planning purposes and represents a compromise between community impact and the need for activities like aviation which do cause noise. Areas exposed to DNL about 65 dB are generally not considered suitable for residential use. The second is DNL of 55 dB, which was identified by USEPA as a level ‘…requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety,’ (USEPA 1974) which is essentially a level below which adverse impact is not expected. The third is DNL of 75 dB. This is the lowest level at which adverse health effects could be credible (USEPA 1974). The very high annoyance levels correlated with DNL of 75 dB make such areas unsuitable for residential land use.” (DEIS p. C-14/15)

 

“…Federal Interagency Committee (Department of Defense, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Veterans Administration) published guidelines relating DNL to compatible land uses…In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB…” (RDEIS p. C-12-13)

 

The Air Force recognizes that some individuals may feel that they have experienced a reduction in quality of life; however, impacts to quality of life are not possible to quantify, since any potential measurement would be based on a set of subjective experiences that are highly variable among individuals. The EIS does provide several indicators, such as the percentage of the population that would be highly annoyed by noise, as an estimate to predict quality of life impacts.” (RDEIS p GO-17)

 

The EIS quantifies areas and residential populations subject to noise levels of 65 dB DNL or greater in this manner because land use compatibility guidelines, as defined by FICUN and adopted by the DoD, indicate that residential areas subject to these noise levels would be considered incompatible unless additional noise level reduction measures were implemented. Individuals within areas designated as incompatible have an increased potential for annoyance….” (RDEIS p. GO-17)

 

Other studies have reported hearing losses from exposure to aircraft noise.”

(RDEIS p. 30)

 

Since the CHABA (a NIOSH and USEPA commissioned group) report (in 1981), there have been further studies that suggest that noise exposure may cause hypertension and other stress-related effects in adults.” (RDEIS p. C-26)

 

 

 

 

NOISE-RELATED HEALTH AND COGNITIVE EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

 

 

Opinions

 

When asked by reporter, Mark Johnson “Is there anything you could hear that would change your mind and make you oppose this?” Leahy responded “Sure, if it was, if it came, if the report showed that this was a danger to our communities then, ah, of course, I would.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May, 2013)

 

If the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or the Department of Education felt there was any impact on children…they would have closed down Chamberlin long ago.”

(Pam Mackenzie, South Burlington City Council Chair, July 2013)

 

…there will be no adverse health effects on citizens.”

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)

 

 

 

Facts

 

Children who were chronically exposed to aircraft noise…had modest (although significant) increases in blood pressure, significant increases in stress hormones, and a decline in quality of life.” (RDEIS p. 30)

 

The research reviewed does suggest that environments with sustained high background noise can have variable effects, including noise effects on learning and cognitive abilities and reports of various noise-related physiological changes. “ (RDEIS p. C-28)

 

In 2002 ANSI refers to studies that suggest that loud and frequent background noise can affect the learning patterns of young children. “ (RDEIS p. C-28)

 

It is generally accepted that young children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of background noise. Because of the developmental status of young children (linguistic, cognitive, and proficiency), barriers to hearing can cause interference or disruptions in developmental evolution.” (RDEIS p. C-28-29)

 

It has been suspected for many years that children’s learning and memory are negatively affected by noise. Over 20 studies have shown negative effects of noise on reading and memory in children…” (WHO p. 45-53)

 

Exposure during critical periods of learning at school could potentially impair development and have a lifelong effect on educational attainment.”

(WHO p. 45-53)

 

The Haines and Stansfield study indicated that there may be some long-term effects (to children) associated with exposure….” (RDEIS p. C-29)

 

“…there is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning. This awareness has led the WHO and a NATO working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports, and industrial sites.”

(RDEIS p. 29)

 

A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks.”

(Executive Order 13045)

 

PROPERTY VALUES

 

Opinions

 

In my opinion, based on local history, a subjective assessment that it will not have negative impact in the future can be made.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, 16 July 2012)

 

We have concluded that the basing of the F-35 will not add any significant negative impact to real estate values…”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)

 

A GBIC analysis of data over a ten-year period showed “that property values within the current 65 DNL area have followed and reflected the overall trend of the County and of the real estate markets outside of the 65 DNL areas.”

(GBIC letter to SB City Council Chair, 24 July 2012)

 

Facts

 

In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB, and the extent of land areas and populations exposed to DNL of 65 dB and higher provides the best means for assessing the noise impacts of alternative aircraft actions.” (RDEIS p. C-13)

 

The study concludes that noise by itself has been shown to decrease property values by a small amount.” (RDEIS p. SO-67)

 

Property within a noise zone (or Accident Zone) may be affected by the availability of federally guaranteed loans. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) guidance, sites are acceptable for program assistance, subsidy, or insurance for housing in noise zones of less than 65 dB DNL, and sites are conditionally acceptable with special approvals and noise attenuation in noise zones greater than 65 dB DNL. … HUD, FHA, and VA recommend sound attenuation for housing in the higher noise zones and written disclosures to all prospective buyers or lessees of property within a noise zone (or Accident Potential Zone). (RDEIS p. C49-50)

 

One paper…suggested a 1.8 to 2.3 percent decrease in property value per dB (increase)….their reviews found that decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2 percent per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure. “

(RDEIS p. C-50)

 

“…the EIS acknowledges the potential and extent of noise from the F-35A has to affect property values.” (RDEIS p. GO-17)

 

Regarding the GBIC study: “The data on which the Winooski analysis rests are ‘extremely small’ and thus ‘statistically unreliable’. In seven of the 10 years studied, no more than five residential properties changed hands (in Winooski). Only nine homes in (South Burlington) were sold to private buyers during the years included in the GBIC study….Over the past decade, the FAA has purchased about 90 houses in that designated excessive-noise zone. Subsequently, they were either demolished or slated for demolition.” Thus, virtually all of the homes used in the GBIC study were purchased with federal money for demolition because of the noise. Dozens of legitimate studies on the impact of airport noise on property values all come to the same conclusion: property values are damaged by high noise.

(Allen & Brooks Inc.)

 

NOTE: “The appraisal of the property to be acquired shall disregard any decrease or increase in the fair market value of the real property caused by the project for which the property is to be acquired…”

(FAA)

 

An analysis of 110 home sales in and outside the Burlington noise zone found the average difference in sale prices was 15{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} or $33,534. Homes within the noise zones sold for 15{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} — or on average $33,534 — less than comparable homes outside the noise zone. “The difference is identified as the average amount per property attributable to the negative impact of airport noise on residential property value.”

(Larson Appraisal Company)

 

The seller has a duty to disclose any issues he or she may be aware of….the seller should disclose any problems as truthfully and accurately as possible (on the Seller’s Property Information Report—SPIR). The SPIR was developed by the Vermont Association of Realtors as a way to cut down on lawsuits by buyers against sellers. Whether or not a SPIR is filled out, if it is later discovered the seller was aware of problems and did not disclose them to the buyer, it could be considered misrepresentation or omission under Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451-2480” (Vermont Property Owners Report, Feb-March 2013)

 

A real estate disclosure policy would be developed for land uses within the 65 dB DNL contour, and implemented through revisions to zoning ordinances (ROA Section II. C. 15). Status: Not implemented. The Airport has not actively encouraged the use of Real Estate Disclosures for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour but will be working with the City of South Burlington and the City of Winooski in that regard.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 16)

 

 

 

NOISE LOUDNESS AND TIME

 

Opinions

 

One fact that is known is that that the F35 will be somewhat louder during take-off for approximately six minutes a day, four days a week.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)

 

It’s going to be similar to the annoyances and impacts we’ve had with the F-16 for the past 25 years.”

(Brigadier Dick Harris, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, VTANG, June 6, 2013)

 

“…I do not believe that the F-35 is significantly louder than the F-16, especially when the afterburner is not deployed.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)

 

“…the F-35 will create sound similar to the F-16, there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year…”

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)

 

Cioffi said he did not think the noise level of the F-35 would be any different from that of the F-16s that the new jets would replace, based on research by GBIC and on his own personal observation. ‘The two aircraft are so similar that we expect the experience of the F-35 to be the same as the F-16.’

(Frank Cioffi, Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. President, June 4 2013)

 

“…F-35 flight operations may represent 6 minutes of minimal inconvenience 4 days a week….”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)

 

Facts

 

Table 6.7 in the Executive Summary shows the F-35A would be between 17 dB and 20 dB greater in SEL and between 21 dB and 25 dB greater in Lmax than the F-16 during takeoff and arrival, directly over the receiver at an altitude of 1,000 ft and at an altitude of 1,500 ft over the receiver on a downwind leg of a local pattern operations. As explained in Appendix C, Section C1.1 a change in (single-event) sound level of 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness. Concur regarding sound pressure doubling with every 3 dB change and by a factor of 10 for every dB change.”

(RDEIS p. NS-40)

 

The effect of the reduction in flight operations (referring to scenario 2) would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS…The contribution of civilian aircraft would be negligible compared to the military aircraft contribution.” (RDEIS p. BR4-33)

 

The effect of the reduction in flight operations (referring to scenario 1) would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 7 to 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS…The contribution of civilian aircraft would be negligible compared to the military aircraft contribution.” (RDEIS p. BR4-28)

 

A change in sound level of about 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness, and this relation holds true for loud sounds and for quieter sounds. “ (RDEIS p. C-2)

 

The cumulative nature of DNL means that the same level of noise exposure can be achieved in an essentially infinite number of ways….Areas exposed to noise levels between DNL 65 dB and 75 dB are “normally unacceptable,” and require special abatement measures and review. Those at 75 dB and above are “unacceptable” except under very limited circumstances.”

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 5)

 

Pages C1 through C58 of the RDEIS explain noise, noise modeling, noise metrics, and noise effects. Damage from noise is based on amplitude, frequency, time averaging, maximum sound level, peak sound level, sound exposure level, equivalent sound level, day-night average sound level, number of events above a threshold level, time above a specified level, duration, intensity, unpredictability and the cumulative effect of the noise. (RDEIS p. C1-58)

 

USEPA (in 1974) identified DNL of 55 dB as ‘ requisite to protect public health and welfare….” (RDEIS p, C-18)

 

When considering intermittent noise caused by aircraft overflights, a review of the relevant scientific literature and international guidelines indicates that an appropriate criteria is a limit on indoor background noise levels of 35 to 40 dB Leq, and a limit on single events of 50 dB Lmax.” (RDEIS p. C-20)

 

The Time Above (TA) metric quantifies the amount of time the noise level would be equal to or greater than a selected threshold Maximum Sound Level (Lmax); but the DoD noise model used for this EIS is not yet capable of estimating TA. The EIS provides Maximum Sound Level (Lmax) data for the F-35 and F-16; Table BR3.2.1 as an example.” (RDEIS p. NS-32)

 

There are several points of interest in the noise annoyance relation. The first is DNL of 65 dB. This is a level most commonly used for noise planning purposes and represents a compromise between community impact and the need for activities like aviation, which do cause noise. Areas exposed to DNL about 65 dB are generally not considered suitable for residential use. The second is DNL of 55 dB, which was identified by USEPA as a level ‘…requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety,’ (USEPA 1974) which is essentially a level below which adverse impact is not expected. The third is DNL of 75 dB. This is the lowest level at which adverse health effects could be credible (USEPA 1974). The very high annoyance levels correlated with DNL of 75 dB make such areas unsuitable for residential land use.” (DEIS p. C-14/15)

 

 

JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

 

Opinions

 

Basing the F-35A in our state would create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase investment opportunities for Vermont businesses.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)

 

Job losses are always hard, but it is important to remember that Vermont currently has the third lowest unemployment rate in the country. Many employers in Vermont are ready to hire those with the skills and education….”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 12, 2013 regarding the IBM layoffs)

 

My opinion on the F-35 has not changed…All I can tell you is my support for the F-35 is based upon the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)

 

 

Facts

 

Under ANG Scenario 1 there would be no net change in the number of military personnel. Therefore, there would be no change to military payrolls or any subsequent impacts to regional employment or income …Additional taxes would accrue…as a result of the increase on construction activities. These impacts, while beneficial, would be minor.” (RDEIS p. BR 4-77)

 

ANG Scenario 2 would result in an increase of 266 military personnel: an increase of 83 full-time and 183 part-time traditional guardsmen…Traditional guardsmen generally hold full-time jobs outside the ANG and train at least one weekend per month and two additional weeks per year with the ANG. …As any increases in secondary employment as a result of the increase in personnel would also be minor and ….would not affect short-or-long-term regional employment and income trends.… Additional taxes would accrue…as a result of the increase on construction activities. These impacts, while beneficial, would be minor (RDEIS p. BR4-78-79)

 

MG Dubie said that the Air Guard would lose maintainer jobs if the F-35A were to be based at the VTANG. At least half of the full-time Air Guard jobs are maintainer jobs.

(Public Hearing, April 19, 2010 at the 45-minute period of the hearing)

 

 

MITIGATION OF THE NOISE

 

Opinions

 

We feel strongly that we can mitigate those impacts (noise problems) by working with the community on the noise issues.”

(Brigadier Dick Harris, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, VTANG, June 6, 2013)

 

Facts

 

Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 29)

 

“…noise barriers provide little, if any reduction, of noise from aircraft that are airborne and can be seen over the barrier.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 35)

 

Therefore noise barriers are not recommended for inclusion in the Part 150 program at this time.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 36)

 

Therefore, soundproofing is considered the least desirable alternative for addressing sound in residential dwellings.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 46)

 

“…the Air Force and Air National Guard have no plans to acquire or demolish residences as part of the F-35A beddown.” (RDEIS p. BR4-17)

 

“…the Burlington AGS would continue to undertake the voluntary restrictions outlined in the Burlington Noise Compatibility Program Update (BTV NCP 2008). The F-35As would maintain the quiet hours, keep within the specified arrival and departure routes and procedures, as well as ensure that single F-35A flights are flown out of the airport as opposed to simultaneous (or formation) takeoffs.” (RDEIS p. BR4-17)

 

No other extra-ordinary mitigation measure are required beyond those prescribed under existing federal and state laws, regulations, and permit requirements to minimize, avoid, or reduce impacts. “ (RDEIS p. BR4-18)

 

“…the Air National Guard is one of the dominant noise contributors to the DNL contours, as documented in the August 2006 NEW Update…”

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 21)

 

 

FUTURE OF THE VERMONT AIR GUARD

 

Opinions

 

“…over six hundred members of the Air Guard live in the surrounding communities of the airport….and there are over four hundred full time jobs and six hundred part time jobs at the VT Air Guard.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)

 

I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard and maintain 1,100 jobs here in Vermont rather than in South Carolina or Florida.”

(Senator Bernie Sanders, April 20, 2013 and July 26, 2013)

 

The Vermont Air National Guard is a key driver of Vermont’s economy with 1,500 jobs currently attributable to its strong presence.”

(Representative Peter Welch, July 26, 2013)

 

Although I cannot predict what will happen to the Air Guard if the F35 is not based in Vermont, I can definitely say that the unit’s mission will be different and most likely will require a lot less personnel.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)

 

 

 

Facts

 

Therefore, if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington AGS the current mission would continue.” (RDEIS p. PA-47)

 

At each location, there are on-going and currently planned activities and programs that would continue, whether or not the location is chosen for beddown of the F-35A operational aircraft.” (RDEIS p. 2-29)

 

The Air Force plans to upgrade all 1,018 of its F-16s and 175 F-15C/D Eagles to keep them flying until the F-35A joint strike fighter is fully operational and new weapons systems on the F-22 Raptor are installed, according to the 2014 budget request released April 10. In the fiscal 2014 budget request, the Air Force states the service life extension for all F-16s will add eight to 10 years to each airframe, along with upgrades to the fighter’s radars, cockpit displays and other communications interfaces.” (Air Force Times, April 23, 2013)

 

The Air Force is already using service life extension programs to keep F-16s flying while the F-35A are delayed. These jets have seen extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan and will continue to fly until at least 2030 while the F-35As stand up.” (Air Force Times, May 13, 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POLITICAL INFLUENCE

Opinions

I feel strongly that none of our state’s Congressional delegation should put our fingers on the scale. All Vermonters deserve to be heard, and I do not want to tamper with the fair and open public comment process.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)

 

What I’ve seen of it, there’s nothing that changes my mind.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 4, 2013, responding to the Revised Draft EIS)

 

My opinion on the F-35 has not changed…All I can tell you is my support for the F-35 is based upon the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)

 

Facts

 

Other basing factors include, but are not limited to; aircraft production, government budget constraints, national defense policy and political considerations.” (RDEIS p. PI-54)

Prior to the scoping meetings, the Air Force initiated contact with possible interested and affected government agencies, government representatives, elected officials, and interested parties in the states potentially affected…” (RDEIS p. 1-8)

The Air National Guard and the Air Force are working with local and state officials to address specific questions and issues associated with the proposed basing of the F-35A at Burlington International Airport.” (RDEIS p. PI-51)

“…federal, state and local agencies, as well as members of the public, are invited to comment on the Draft EIS.” (RDEIS p. PI-55)

 

 

 

 

 

Source documents for facts:

  • WHO: World Health Organization: Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise, 2011
  • DEIS and RDEIS: Revised 2013 Draft (and 2012 Draft) United States Air Force F-35A Operational Basing Environmental Impact Statement
  • Executive Order 13045: Presidential Order on the Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 2003
  • USEPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • FAA: Federal Aviation Administration
  • Vermont Property Owners Report
  • Air Force Times
  • Allen & Brooks, Inc.
  • Larson Appraisal Company (July 2013)

Source documents for opinions:

  • GBIC Report (July 2012)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The facts come from government and health care organizations. The U.S. Air Force Environmental Impact Statement took years to prepare, and millions of dollars to complete. It was prepared by “resource and technical experts in their various fields as noted by their education and years of experience.” (RDEIS p. PI-54) The WHO report contains over 300 scientific meta-analysis studies, which then underwent peer reviews.

The opinions come from those who would benefit economically or politically from the F-35A basing.

The opinions contradict the facts. Both cannot be correct.

Believe government and health organizations — or politicians, big businesses, and developers.

It is your choice. Make an informed one. (August 2013)

Download the F-35A Basing Fact Sheet

Click here to download the pdf: Fact Sheets on F-35A Basing 8-9-2013

Burlington Vermont Air Guard Station

F-35A Basing

Fact Sheets

_________________

(August 2013)

 

 

I. NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS of F-35A Basing at Burlington Air Guard Station

 

A. BASIC FACTS2013 Revised Draft Environment Impact Statement (RDEIS)

 

  1. McEntire JNGB in South Carolina is the environmentally preferable alternative base (Page 2-30).

 

  1. There are negative impacts to the Burlington area in the following categories: noise, air quality, land use, socioeconomics, environmental justice/protection of children, community facilities and public services, ground traffic and transportation, climate change, cumulative effects, and irreversible commitment of resources (RDEIS).

 

  1. LAND USE

 

  • Noise levels increase under both scenarios (scenario 1 bases 18 F-35As; scenario 2 bases 24 F-35As). “In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB….” (Page C-13).

 

  1. Baseline conditions (current F-16s) and F-35A impacts (based on 2010 U.S. census data) are as follows:

 

  • Baseline (F-16s) affects 1,963 acres; 371 residential acres; 1,966 households; 4,602 people; 463 (10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) low-income and 581 (13{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) minorities; 11 receptors
  • Scenario 1: 2,252 acres; 564 residential acres; 2,963 households; 6,663 people; 1,064 (16{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) low-income and 748 (11{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) minorities; 16 receptors
  • Scenario 2: 2,635 acres; 667 residential acres; 3,410 households; 7,719 people; 1,224 (16{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) low-income and 856 (11{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) minorities; 17 receptors

 

NOTE: AF reports that 4,692 children live in South Burlington and Winooski; but they did not report how many children live and/or go to school in the noise zone. Local assessors estimate there are about 1,500 children in the noise zone.

 

  • Today: 1,963 acres; 1,966 households; 4,602 people; 463 low-income; 581 minorities; 11 receptors
  • Scenario 1: 2,252 acres; 2,963 households; 6,663 people; 1,064 low-income; 748 minorities
  • Scenario 2: 2,635 acres; 3,410 households; 7,719 people; 1,224 low-income; 856 minorities

(Pages BR 4-22, 4-28, 4-33, 4-66, 4-80-83)

 

  1. Of the other Air Guard bases under consideration in the RDEIS, only Burlington has an increase in base residential land use impacts. For example, the residential impact increases by 80{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} in Burlington. It decreases by 100{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} at McEntire, SC, and decreases by 71{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}at Jacksonville, FL (Page ES-70).

 

    • At Jacksonville AGS: 45 households and 170 people (scenario 1); or 57 households and 210 people (scenario 2) will be affected by the F-35A basing (Page ES-29).
    • At McEntire JNGB: 91 households and 245 people (scenario 1); or 120 households and 321 people (scenario 2) will be affected by the F-35A basing (Page ES-37).

 

 

 

B. SAFETY IMPACTS

 

  1. The F-35A is a new type of aircraft; historical trends show that mishaps rates of all types decrease the longer an aircraft is operational and as flight crews and maintenance personnel learn more about the aircraft’s capabilities and limitations….” (Page ES-12).

 

  1. Accident Protection Zones are established at military airfields to delineate recommended surrounding land uses for the protection of people and property on the ground.” These areas in the vicinity of an airfield “have the highest potential to be affected if an aircraft mishap were to occur.” “Similar to APZs, but used at civilian airports, RPZs (Runway Protection Zones) are trapezoidal zones extending outward from the ends of active runways at commercial airports and delineate those areas recognized as having the greatest risk of aircraft mishaps (crashes), most of which occur during take-off or landing” (Page 3-26).

 

  1. “…there have not been enough flight hours to accurately depict the specific safety record for this new aircraft” (Page 3-28).

 

 

C. HEALTH IMPACTS of Noise on Adults and Children

 

  1. The RDEIS uses decades old studies regarding the health impacts to adults and children. More recent studies show overwhelming evidence that noise causes physical and psychological harm to human beings. In the case of children, there is convincing evidence that noise, in particular, aircraft noise, cause cognitive impairment in children.

 

  1. A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks” (Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 2003).

 

  1. Even using old data, the RDEIS still cites studies reporting physical harm from noise.

 

  • Other studies have reported hearing losses from exposure to aircraft noise” (RDEIS Page 30).

 

  • Since the CHABA (a NIOSH and USEPA commissioned group) report (in 1981), there have been further studies that suggest that noise exposure may cause hypertension and other stress-related effects in adults” (RDEIS Page C-26).

 

  • Children who were chronically exposed to aircraft noise…had modest (although significant) increases in blood pressure, significant increases in stress hormones, and a decline in quality of life” (RDEIS Page 30).

 

  • The research reviewed does suggest that environments with sustained high background noise can have variable effects, including noise effects on learning and cognitive abilities and reports of various noise-related physiological changes“ (RDEIS Page C-28).

 

  • In 2002 ANSI refers to studies that suggest that loud and frequent background noise can affect the learning patterns of young children“ (RDEIS Page C-28).

 

  • It is generally accepted that young children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of background noise. Because of the developmental status of young children (linguistic, cognitive, and proficiency), barriers to hearing can cause interference or disruptions in developmental evolution” (RDEIS Page C-28-29).

 

  • The Haines and Stansfield study indicated that there may be some long-term effects (to children) associated with exposure….” (RDEIS Page C-29).

 

  • “…there is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning. This awareness has led the WHO and a NATO working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports, and industrial sites” (RDEIS Page 29).

 

  • More recent studies including those compiled and reviewed in the 2011 World Health Organization Report, “Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise” show overwhelming evidence of harm caused by noise.

 

  • There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health” (WHO Page xvii).

 

  • There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population” (WHO Page 105).

 

  • It has been suspected for many years that children’s learning and memory are negatively affected by noise. Over 20 studies have shown negative effects of noise on reading and memory in children…” (WHO Page 45-53).

 

  • Exposure during critical periods of learning at school could potentially impair development and have a lifelong effect on educational attainment” (WHO Pages 45-53).

 

 

D. ECONOMIC IMPACTS of Noise on Residents

 

  1. In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB…” (RDEIS Page C-13).

 

  1. HUD, FAA, and VA recommend written disclosures to all prospective buyers or lessees of property within this noise area (RDEIS Pages C-49-50).

 

NOTE: “The seller has a duty to disclose any issues he or she may be aware of….the seller should disclose any problem as truthfully and accurately as possible (on the Seller’s Property Information Report—SPIR). The SPIR was developed by the Vermont Association of Realtors as a way to cut down on lawsuits by buyers against sellers. Whether or not a SPIR is filled out, if it is later discovered the seller was aware of problems and did not disclose them to the buyer, it could be considered misrepresentation or omission under Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451-2480” (Vermont Property Owners Report, Feb-March 2013).

 

  1. Properties in noise areas over 65 dB DNL may not be eligible for federally guaranteed loans, program assistance, subsidy, or insurance (RDEIS Pages C-49-50).

 

  1. One study showed a 1.8 to 2.3{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} decrease in property values per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure (RDEIS Page C-50).

 

  1. Another study showed decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure (RDEIS Pages C-50).

 

6. “…the EIS acknowledges the potential and extent of noise from the F-35A has to affect property values” (RDEIS Page GO-17).

 

7. There are dozens of economic studies related to noise on property values. Virtually every study, including an FAA study, concludes that airport noise has a negative impact on property values.

 

    • Locally, an independent appraisal company conducted an analysis of 110 South Burlington homes purchased under the FAA buyout program. The average home in the 65 dB DNL noise zone lost 15{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} (approximately over $33,000) in value because of its location (Larson Appraisal, Airport Noise Impact on Residential Property Values, July 2013).

 

    • A study, conducted by the GBIC, who has been outspoken in favor of the F-35A basing, concluded that noise levels did not affect property values. The study was seriously flawed.

 

      1. It did not address whether the homes were located in the noise zone.

 

      1. Its sample size was extremely small: (15 homes in 10 years in Winooski and 9 homes in 10 years in South Burlington sold to private individuals).

 

      1. It included the FAA buy-out sales in South Burlington as “evidence” that homes are selling well and at market value.

 

        • FAA buyouts require market value purchases; and the appraisal value of the house specifically excludes the fact that the house is located near an airport.
        • These homes were purchased because they were the noise zone of the F-16.

 

      1. It grouped all sales (condo, single family homes, etc) together, thus distorting the sale price of single-family homes.

 

 

8. In South Burlington, 180 homes were identified as being in the 65 and higher dB DNL noise zones for the F-16 (2008 FAA report Page 29).

 

  • The FAA Part 150 Update, dated April 2008, states “…the Air National Guard is one of the dominant noise contributors to the DNL contours, as documented in the August 2006 NEM Update….” (FAA Page 21).

 

  • Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” (FAA Page 29).

 

  • “…noise barriers provide little, if any, reductions of noise from aircraft that are airborne and can be seen over the barrier” (FAA Page 35).

 

9. The FAA report states what the Burlington airport was required to do…and then finds it did not take the appropriate action. “A real estate disclosure policy would be developed for land uses within the 65 dB DNL contour, and implemented through revisions to zoning ordinances (ROA Section II. C. 15). Status: Not implemented. The Airport has not actively encouraged the use of Real Estate Disclosures for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour but will be working with the City of South Burlington and the City of Winooski in that regard” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 16).

 

  1. To date, over 127 affordable homes in South Burlington have been demolished because of their proximity to the airport and the noise from military aircraft. Another 54 are awaiting demolition because of F-16 noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MYTHS

 

II. ECONOMIC MYTH: It will bring jobs and benefit the area economically.

 

  1. RDEIS states there is NO economic gain under scenario 1. There would be no increase in jobs (Page BR4-77).

 

  1. RDEIS states there would be only “minor” economic effect from the 266 additional military persons (83 full-time and 183 part-time) that would be added under scenario 2 (Page BR4-78 and 4-79).

 

        1. Some or all of the 83 full-time military could be transferred here from other places around the U.S. (Page BR4-78).
        2. The 183 part-time jobs would likely be filled through local recruitment (Page BR4-78).

 

  1. MG Dubie said that the Air Guard would LOSE maintainer jobs if the F-35A were to be based here, but he did not say how many jobs would be lost (public hearing, April 19, 2010).

 

    1. The F-35A will not be maintained at the Burlington Air Guard Station, as is the F-16. The F-35A will be maintained at a centralized location.
    2. At least half of the full-time VT Air Guard jobs are maintainer jobs.

 

 

III. NOISE MYTHS

A. TIME MYTH: The F-35A will cause noise for only six minutes a day, four days a week, and this is a minor inconvenience.

 

  1. The RDEIS spends 58 pages, and cites 184 references and studies explaining noise, noise modeling, noise metrics, and noise effects (Pages C1-58). The noise metrics include:
  • maximum sound level (Lmax)
  • peak sound level
  • equivalent sound level (Leq)
  • sound exposure level (SEL)
  • day-night average sound level (DNL)
  • onset-rate-adjusted monthly day-night average sound level (Ldnmr)
  • number-of-events above a threshold level (NA)
  • time above a specified level (TA)

 

2. The RDEIS analyzes noise effects on the following:

  • non-auditory health
  • annoyance
  • speech interference
  • sleep disturbance
  • hearing impairment
  • performance
  • learning and cognitive abilities
  • children
  • domestic animals and wildlife
  • property values
  • structures
  • terrain
  • cultural resources

 

3. The F-35A will fly 7,296 operations annually under scenario 2, and 5,486 operations annually under scenario 1, with all occurring during environmental daytime hours (between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.) 260 days per year (Page BR4-4).

 

4. Using Air Force projections of 7,296 F-35A operations over 260 days per year, residents will experience unsafe noise levels 28 times per flying day, or one-to-two times per waking hour.

 

5. Ads claiming six minutes of noise per day count only F-16 takeoff noise, ignoring noise produced on landing and during overhead pattern events from F-16s and other aircraft. But even just six minutes a day is more than 12 times the safe standard.

 

 

 

B. NOISE LOUDNESS MYTH: The F-35A will sound similar to the F-16.

 

1. The RDEIS states the F-35A would be between 17 dB and 20 dB greater in SEL; and between 21 dB and 25 dB greater in Lmax than the F-16 during takeoff and arrival….” (Page NS-40). F-16 take-off noise in military power setting is 94 dB Lmax; F-35A take-off noise in military power setting is 115 dB Lmax (Page BR4-21).

 

2. “A change in sound level of about 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness….” (Page C-2).

 

3. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that the safe time for 115 dB (assessed F-35A noise on take-off) is 14 seconds. 

 

4. The RDEIS says even though F-35A flight operations would be less than the F-16 flight operations, “The effect of the reduction in flight operations would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS” (Pages BR4-28 and 4-33).

 

5. Any claim that draws conclusions from a single incident of noise ignores science and health studies that show damage from noise is cumulative; and even just a few minutes of tremendous noise, repeated over time, has significant health consequences.  Recent scientific analysis clearly shows that extended exposure, even at small intervals, to excessive noise causes irreparable health damage. 

 

  • Damage from noise is based on amplitude, frequency, time averaging, maximum sound level, peak sound level, sound exposure level, equivalent sound level, day-night average sound level, number of events above a threshold level, time above a specified level, duration, intensity, unpredictability and the cumulative effect of the noise (RDEIS Pages C1-58).

 

  • The cumulative nature of DNL means that the same level of noise exposure can be achieved in an essentially infinite number of ways….Areas exposed to noise levels between DNL 65 dB and 75 dB are “normally unacceptable,” and require special abatement measures and review. Those at 75 dB and above are “unacceptable” except under very limited circumstances” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 5).

 

  • When considering intermittent noise caused by aircraft overflights, a review of the relevant scientific literature and international guidelines indicates that an appropriate criteria is a limit on indoor background noise levels of 35 to 40 dB Leq, and a limit on single events of 50 dB Lmax” (RDEIS Page C-20).

 

  • USEPA (in 1974) identified DNL of 55 dB as ‘ requisite to protect public health and welfare’….” (RDEIS Page C-18).

 

 

 

 

C. NOISE MITIGATION MYTH: The Vermont Air Guard can mitigate the noise.

 

  1. According to the FAA Part 150 Report, “Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 29).

 

  1. Neither the Air Force nor the Air Guard has “plans to acquire or demolish residences as part of the F-35A beddown” (RDEIA Page BR4-17).

 

  1. The only mitigation measures listed in the Air Force report are to operate the F-35A in the same manner as the F-16s: keeping the same flight schedule, employing single takeoffs, and not flying at night (Page BR4-17).

 

  1. Yet, F-35A supporters claim the Air Guard pilots can fly the F-35A quieter than the F-16.

 

  • The Air Force report clearly states the F-35A is 3-4 times louder than the F-16.
  • The Air Guard cannot reduce the noise of the F-16, which they have flown for decades.
  • In fact, the noise of the F-16 has increased in recent years, and the pilots are unable to mitigate the noise of the plane they now fly.
  • How credible then is their claim to alter the noise of a plane they have never flown?

 

 

 

IV. FUTURE OF THE VERMONT AIR GUARD MYTH: If the F-35A does not come here, the

Guard Station will close.

 

  1. The Air Force stated that “…if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington AGS the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47).

 

  1. No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here. (Scare tactics imply the base will close.)

 

  1. MG Dubie said in a press conference in July 2012, that if the F-35A does not come here, the base MAY get SMALLER (meaning the Air Guard).

 

  1. BG Cray stated at a press conference in July 2013 that he could not predict what would happen to the Air Guard if the F-35A is not based in Vermont, but he did say that the unit’s mission would be different and most likely would require a lot less personnel.

 

  1. However, in April 2013, the Air Force announced it was upgrading all of the F-16s to keep them flying until the F-35A is fully operational. The Air Force stated it intends to keep the F-16s flying until at least 2030.

 

  1. Nonetheless, there are other missions for the Air Guard, including drones, anti-terrorism missions, and cyber security.

 

  1. The F-35A basing does not affect the VT Army Guard, which comprise the majority of the Vermont National Guard.

 

    • The Army Guard has approximately 4,000 members.
    • VT Air Guard is authorized 1,130 members: 730 part-time military (one weekend a month), and 400 full-time military and civilians members. BG Cray stated that over six hundred members of the Air Guard live in the surrounding communities of the airport.
    • Guard members often come from other states to serve their monthly weekend Guard duty. It is unclear how much of the reported $53 million in salaries are paid to Vermonters.

 

  1. Even were the Air Guard Station to close, it’s doubtful that it would have a significant economic impact on our area. Over the past three years, our area added 4,250 new jobs (1,400 new jobs per year).

 

9. Two possible outcomes are:

 

  • The Air Guard Station closes entirely 20 years from now, and 400 Air Guard members lose their full-time jobs, and 730 Air Guard members lose their part-time (one weekend a month) jobs.
  • The F-35As arrive here five years from now, and 1,500 of our children suffer physical and cognitive impairment, over 7,719 local residents lose their quality of life, a decrease in home values, and are trapped in houses that the federal government labels unsuitable for residential use.

 

10. Comparison to the closing of the former Plattsburg AFB is absurd.

 

    • Plattsburgh was an active duty base with over 5,000 full-time active duty personnel, in an area (Plattsburg) with a population of around 20,000.
    • The Burlington Air Guard Station has 400 full-time personnel, in an area with a population (Burlington and South Burlington) of around 60,000.
    • The economy of Plattsburgh recovered in half of the time expected (12 years versus the estimated 25 years).

 

 

 

V. NATIONAL SECURITY/ GUARD SUPPORT/ PATRIOTISM MYTHS: National Security, Guard Support, Patriotic duty depend on the F-35A being based here

 

A. National Security

  1. Military experts, politicians, and academics agree that the current major threats to the U.S. are terrorism and cyber-warfare.
  • Fighter-bombers have no role in countering these threats in the U.S.

 

  1. The only threat from military aircraft comes from Russia and China.
  • Vermont is a poor location to respond to these threats.
  • Current F-16s are more than sufficient to defend the U.S.; are more reliable, have better performance characteristics, and cost 75{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} less than the F-35A.

 

  1. The F-35A can and might carry nuclear weapons.
    • This makes an F-35A base a huge target for terrorists/other enemies.
    • AF has had recent problems with nuclear weapons security.

 

 

B. Vermont Air Guard Support

 

  1. Supporting the Guard means looking long-term. Actively recruiting and accepting new missions which counter current and future threats to our democracy is the best way to ensure a stable future for the VT Air Guard.

 

  1. Supporting the Guard means providing all the services our Guard families need when their Guard member is deployed, and most importantly all the services the guardswomen and guardsmen and their families need when they return to Vermont from war zones.

 

 

C. Patriotism

 

  1. Patriotism does not mean blindly accepting whatever weapon system defense contractors propose and politicians support.

 

  1. Patriotism does not mean bankrupting our country so huge defense contractors can stay in business.

 

  1. Patriotism does not mean that defense contractor executives and shareholders should be the ones who profit most from astronomically expensive weapon systems.

 

  1. Patriotism means supporting what is best for our citizens, including a good job for all who can work, a health system that cares for all regardless of economic status, education that allows all individuals to reach their potential, social security in their old age, and safe housing for everyone.

 

  1. Patriotism means supporting our troops and ensuring that they and their families are taken care of financially and medically. Yet our government is planning to pay for costly and questionable weapon systems, such as the F-35A, by reducing (firing) military personnel; eliminating civilian jobs; freezing military salaries; cutting our troops’ benefits; slashing their families’ benefits; increasing veterans’ health care costs; and cutting programs for homeless, disabled, and unemployed veterans.

 

 

 

VI. SCORING SHEET Problems

 

A. PURPOSE of the Scoring Sheet

 

  1. The Air Force devised a scoring methodology to explain how bases were chosen. This was done to preclude future disputes and lawsuits such as the one filed against the F-35A basing at Eglin AFB, in Florida. It was intended to bring more transparency to the process.

 

  1. The scoring sheet rated the bases in four areas: Mission, Capacity, Environment and Cost (Page 2-25).

 

    • Mission related principally to whether the airspace around the facility would be able to accommodate the flying sorties of the F35A, and how the weather impacted visibility. {60{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}
    • Capacity related to whether the existing facilities (hangers, maintenance units, simulator bays, munitions, runways, etc.) would be able to accommodate the F-35A. {25{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}
    • Environment related to existing air quality, zoning and land use controls, and existing encroachment (meaning “incompatible development”). {5{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}
    • Cost related to the base’s construction costs and is tied to the cost-of-living. {10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}

 

B. PROCESS Problem

 

  1. Unlike the other criteria, which evaluated whether the airspace and facilities could accommodate the futureneeds of F-35A, the encroachment area (under environment) was related to the current situation—what exists now for theF-16.

 

  1. Rather than ask if there would be incompatible development in the F-35A accident and noise zones around the airport, they asked if there was currently incompatible development in the F-16 accident and noise zones around the airport.

 

    • Since there are different accident and noise zones for the F-16 and the F-35A, (the F-35A noise and crash zones are much larger than the F-16s) it is not logical to assume that the presence or absence of buildings, or the numbers of buildings, for the current F-16 would be the same for the F-35A.

 

C. DATA Problem

 

  1. Two questions in the ‘Encroachment’ area under the ‘Environmental’ category were answered incorrectly. Those questions were:

 

    • Is there incompatible development in clear zones and/or accident potential area?” and
    • Is there incompatible development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL?”

 

  1. The answer marked for both questions was ‘No’ meaning that there were NO incompatible buildings in either area (accident and noise). Burlington thus received 3 points for each question (6 total).

 

  1. But, there is incompatible development in both areas (accident and noise); meaning Burlington should not have received 6 points.

 

  1. Burlington Air Guard Station received a total score of 91.021 on the scoring sheet given to Senator Sanders in June 2012.

 

  1. For over a year, citizens, the media, and lawyers have been requesting to see the scores of the other Air Guard Stations, especially Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida and McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina, to confirm whether or not another Guard base scored higher than Burlington.

 

    • South Burlington City Council requested this from the Vermont Congressional Delegates in July 2012, and was told that the Air Force would not release it to them.
    • The Air Force denied two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get the scoring sheets for other bases.

 

6. In June 2013, a slide from an Air Force briefing was leaked. This showed the scores of all six bases (three active duty Air Force bases, and three Air Guard bases) under consideration. According to a New York Times press report, this slide (and score) came after the scoring sheet that was provided to the VT congressional delegation in June 2012. And, both scoring sheets preceded the creation of the EIS. On this slide, Burlington received an overall score of 87.1, which was lower than either of the other two Air Guard bases, Jacksonville and McEntire. No explanation was given for why Burlington’s scores were lowered, or why an outdated scoring sheet was given to Senator Sanders.

 

Center For Media And Democracy: Video Interview of Dr. Jean Szilva on F-35’s Health Concerns to local populations around BIA

Friday, June 12th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Richard Kemp interviews Dr. Jean Silva on F-35 health concerns and health impacts to the local populations around the Burlington International Airport.

Please click here to watch this video interview.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: Air Guard Sticking to Its Guns on Basing F-35 in Vermont

6a00d83451b91969e20192abf826d3970d-350wi

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Colchester VT

Seven Days journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports from Camp Johnson interviewing both General Dick Harris and Lieutenant Col. Finnegan who say, “The F-35 remains “the right fit” for the Vermont Air Guard, its top officer declared on Thursday — one day after the Winooski city council voted unanimously to oppose local basing of the plane.

During a 90-minute press briefing at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Gen. Dick Harris (pictured) and other Air Guard officers disputed that the F-35 would be significantly louder than the existing fleet of F-16s.

They also challenged the assertion by Vermont medical experts that many local residents exposed to noise levels now produced by the F-16 will suffer negative health effects.”

Click here for the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: F-35 Foes Pile on the Data as Battle Builds over Local Basing Plan

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

South Burlington

Click here for the entire article.

Seven Days Journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports on last night’s “At a forum entitled “Last Call for Kids,” three Vermont medical experts warned that the F-35 will have potentially acute physical and mental consequences for those living in areas subject to the highest decibel outputs.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: F-35 critics who say noise harms kids will hold public meeting Tuesday 7pm Chamberlin School in SB

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Sam Hemingway, reports, “Greco and other F-35 opponents are hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Chamberlin Elementary School in South Burlington to discuss the studies and hear from several area doctors on the impact of aircraft noise on young children.

Chamberlin School, on White Street, is less than a half-mile from Burlington International Airport, the closest of five schools in the designated noise zone for the F-35”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Last Call For Kids

WHO studies on children

Download the pdf of the list of WHO studies on children, or just view it here.

WHO_studies_on_children

Maps and Downloads

See the “unfit for residential use” map.

 

See the crash and safety zone map.

 

Download Fact Sheets on F-35 Basing (August 2013)

click here: Fact Sheets on F-35A Basing

 

What and Who to believe on the F-35 8-10-2013 (August 2013)

click here:  What and Who to believe on the F-35 8-10-2013pdf

Report

Endangered Health: The Threat to Public Health from the Proposed F-35 Basing at Burlington International Airport

Current scientific consensus confirms that health effects of aviation noise, in both children and adults, are far more severe than the Air Force acknowledges
Click here to download full report:  Endangered Health- Threat From F-35 Basing

 

 

VT Board of Health Report

Click to download pdf.

VT_BOH_F35_Report

Burlington Board of Health F-35 Resolution

Click to download the pdf.

Burlington_Board_of_Health_F_35_Resolution_to_CC_w__Cover_ltr_1_14_13

World Health Organization: Burden of disease from environmental noise

We’re hoping the folks at the Burlington Board of Health read this study that just came to our attention, put out by WHO in 2011. Can’t get more authoritative and up to date than that. Please see the study attached below. Note this is a large file and may take a while to download.

Noise is a serious issue and this authoritative study documents its serious effects on different segments of society. See page 45 for the effects on children. We’re tired of the “six minutes a day…” mantra from fans of the F35. We’re tired of hearing about the F4s years ago. Smoking and DDT used to be generally acceptable too. We’ve learned a few things recently. Get informed. Read this study. We’re not making it up.

Health Impacts of Noise on Children

Hopefully we can all agree that we’re concerned about our kids’ health, whether they are rich or poor, hippie or patriot, black or white. Our research committee has done some digging into the details of noise and its effect on children.

For those who “love jet noise” or “love the sound of freedom”, you are welcome to your opinions. The noise generated by the F-35s will effect us all in the 65DNL and the surrounding communities. These are PUBLIC HEALTH issues. For those who say “Aw shucks, it’s just some loud noise for 6 minutes a day,” we invite you to do the research. Very few of us are experts on these matters, but expert research has been done. Please see the pdf attached for some of the facts. We cite the original sources and welcome you to dig further into this topic.

As boards of health in Burlington and beyond study this topic, there is no room for the “Aw shucks” argument.

Noise Pollution Takes Toll on Health and Happiness

(This informative article describes research documenting the harmful effects of airport noise on children, students, and others–editor)

Everyday Noise Can Overstimulate the Body’s Stress Response

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In the beginning there was silence, and it was good.

From silence came sound, not all of which was good. And the sound that was not welcome was called noise. And there got to be more and more of it, because who wants to rake when you can blow?

Let me be honest. I don’t get along with noise. I see it, or rather hear it, as the essayist Ambrose Bierce did around the turn of the last century: as “a stench in the ear.”

And by “noise” I don’t mean only the noises that everyone agrees are bad for your hearing — those ear-splitting sirens and the stand-right-next-to-the-speaker heavy metal concerts. Even everyday noise eats away at my nerves.

You may say I’m thin-skinned, but I have science on my side. A growing body of evidence confirms that the chronic din of construction crews, road projects, jet traffic and, yes, those ubiquitous leaf blowers, is taking a toll on our health and happiness.

Providing scientific proof of this has not been easy — in part because noise, defined as “unwanted sound,” is to a large degree a matter of personal taste and sensitivity. The romantic hears a train whistle differently from the insomniac. And no small number of Americans pay good money to hear the same rock-and-roll music that was used to torture the holed-up Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, and Waco’s David Koresh and induce cooperation from prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But study after study has found that community noise is interrupting our sleep, interfering with our children’s learning, suppressing our immune systems and even increasing — albeit just a little — our chances of having a heart attack. It is also tarnishing the Golden Rule, reducing people’s inclination to help one another.

“Everyday noise is under the radar, yet it affects everyone’s life,” said Louis Hagler, a retired physician in Oakland, Calif., and an advocate for quiet, who recently published in the Southern Medical Journal a review of studies linking noise exposures to health problems. “We don’t say to people, ‘You just have to learn to live with sewage in your water,’ ” Hagler said in an interview. “Why should we tolerate sewage coming into our ears?”

As I write — from home today, the better to concentrate, I told my editor — there is a person up the street blowing leaves and dust from one part of his property to another. To accomplish this task, he is generating a sound that is only a little less intense than the 85 decibels that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says is physically damaging over a period of hours, and more than loud enough to make it almost impossible for me to think.

Leaf blowers may be my pet peeve, but it is modern transportation — cars, motorcycles, trucks and air traffic — that accounts for most of the background noise that disturbs and even sickens people.

More than 40 percent of Americans whose homes have any traffic noise at all classify that noise as “bothersome,” according to the 2005 American Housing Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. One-third of those say the noise is so bothersome they want to move. All told, more than 100 million Americans are regularly exposed to noise levels in excess of the 55 decibels that federal agencies have recommended as a reasonable background intensity.

Here in the Washington area, a battle over airport noise is posed to erupt this summer as the Senate considers adding as many as 20 new daily takeoffs and landings at Reagan National, a move opposed by neighbors already fed up with the steady roar of low-flying jets.

A now-classic study conducted in the 1970s was among the first to indicate that such noise is more than an annoyance. It found that children living on the lower, noisier floors of an apartment building overlooking a busy Manhattan bridge had lower reading scores than those living on higher floors.

But was noise really the major factor explaining that difference? After all, people tend to move away from extremely noisy neighborhoods if they can, and those who don’t are more likely to be poor, which by itself is a risk factor for delayed educational advancement and ill health.

To answer such questions, scientists have taken advantage of unusual situations in which people’s exposure to noise changed over time while other factors remained relatively constant. In a study of students attending an elementary school near noisy train tracks in New York, for example, researchers showed that by the time the students reached sixth grade, those whose classrooms faced the train were a year behind those whose classrooms were on the quiet side of the building. After noise reduction materials were installed in the classrooms and around the tracks, reading scores in the two groups equalized, strengthening the case that noise was the culprit.

Another clue came from a study of children whose schools were located near West London’s busy Heathrow airport.

“We found a straightforward linear effect from aircraft noise and impairment in reading on standardized tests,” said study leader Stephen A. Stansfeld, a professor of psychiatry at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, noting that the close correlation strengthened the case that noise was to blame.

But it was a “natural” experiment in Germany that helped clinch the case, when the old Munich airport was shut down and a new one was opened at a distant site. Tests done on third- and fourth-graders — before that switch, soon after it and again later on — showed that students near the old airport initially scored lower than others on tests of memory and reading but improved after the airport closed, while their counterparts living near the new airport saw a decline in scores after the switch occurred.
A Chronic Emergency

Noise that invades a classroom may make it hard for students to hear the teacher, of course. But blood tests done on the Munich children helped reveal a more insidious biological mechanism through which noise wreaks much of its havoc. Children near the working airports had significantly higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol — the body’s so-called stress hormones.

Those hormones are part of the body’s “fight or flight” response, which helps a person deal with sudden emergencies. Blood pressure and heart rate go up in preparation for action. The blood becomes thick with oxygen-toting red blood cells. And the immune system gets suppressed as part of the shift toward fulfilling short-term needs rather than longer-term health.

That response can be lifesaving in an attack, but it is counterproductive when activated chronically. Over months and years it can literally corrode the body, eating away at blood vessels and other organs and predisposing a person to other medical woes.

“This is the most disturbing thing about noise, because it means you are being exposed to this reaction all the time,” said Roberto Bertollini of the World Health Organization’s Special Programme on Health and Environment.

As a result of that hormonal activation, children near the working Munich airports had significantly higher blood pressure than children in quieter neighborhoods — adding to their risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life. Similar impacts have been documented among adults near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, where chronic noise as low as 55 decibels correlated with more doctor visits, high blood pressure and treatments for heart troubles.

Whether traffic noise actually increases one’s chances of having heart disease or a heart attack has been harder to determine, because such studies require large numbers of people. But the evidence for at least a modest effect is growing.

A highly respected Dutch analysis combined the results from 43 studies that tracked chest pains, heart attacks and related problems with community noise levels. Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, it concluded that there is “a slight increase in cardiovascular disease risk in populations exposed to air traffic and/or road traffic noise.”
Face the Music

Even if chronic exposure to noise is unlikely to kill you, it can simmer under the surface and take a toll on your well-being.

Studies have shown that chronic night noise not only leaves you shrouded in a fog of fatigue, irritability and poor concentration, but also activates the stress response as you sleep. And while the number of awakenings per night may decrease as you adjust to the din, the increased heart rate, blood pressure and breathing changes persist.

“The idea that people get used to noise is a myth,” the Environmental Protection Agency has reported. “Even when we think we have become accustomed to noise, biological changes still take place inside us.”

The Health Council of the Netherlands found that high levels of mechanical noise, such as that from a hospital’s own air-conditioning equipment, can delay recovery in patients — a reflection, perhaps, of the immune suppression that comes with an activated stress response.

Another insidious effect of noise is its cultivation of what scientists call “learned helplessness.” Children given puzzles in moderately noisy classrooms are not only more likely to fail to solve them but are also more likely to surrender early.

“They just give up,” said Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University who studies noise and behavior. The implications of learned helplessness on a child’s success in life “are potentially pretty powerful,” he said.

Perhaps most disturbing in these times of political and economic polarization is that noise undermines generosity.

In one study, people were less likely to help someone pick up a bundle of dropped books when the noise of a lawn mower was present. Another showed that in a noisy environment, people playing a game were more likely to see their fellow players as disagreeable or threatening. Yet another found a drop in helpful behavior when loud “annoying music” was played.

Interestingly, helping behavior increased when similarly loud “uplifting music” was played. Which gets to the weird thing about noise: its mysterious psychological component.
Something to Yell About

Researchers still know very little about how attitudes toward noise affect its impact on health. It may be that people with upbeat attitudes — people, for example, who do not believe that this blowhard up the street ought to be jailed — will live longer, healthier lives than I will. After all, anger alone is a potent producer of stress hormones. Am I killing myself by caring?

Some research suggests so. People report being far less annoyed by noises they willingly accept or actively select (riding a motorcycle, for example) than by those they have no control over (the car alarm outside your window).

On the other hand, the hormonal systems of even the mellowest of people in noisy places may still be quietly seething.

After runway patterns were changed at an airport in Australia, researchers studied two neighborhoods — one that was now noisier because of the change and one that got quieter — both of which now had the same noise levels. People whose neighborhoods had become quieter were less anxious, angry and depressed than those whose neighborhoods had grown noisier. But the two groups’ stress hormone levels were indistinguishable, suggesting that a good attitude may not be powerful enough to save you — and a bad one won’t necessarily kill you.

As an inveterate ranter against noise, I find that last point gratifying. It means I can complain as noisily as I want without losing the benefits of whatever quiet I win. ·

Comments:weissr@washpost.com.
© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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