Save Our Skies (SOS VT) is an alliance of Vermonters opposed to the basing of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters at Burlington International Airport. We are homeowners, renters, and landlords; real estate agents and appraisers; doctors and nurses; veterans; educators; artists; business-owners; designers; tradespeople; homemakers; retired seniors; and parents. We value the natural beauty of Vermont, the growing diversity in our local communities, and the freedom we all enjoy to shape meaningful lives for ourselves and our loved ones. And we have great respect and gratitude for those who devote their lives to protecting these things, most especially our Vermont National Guard, who responded heroically after both 9/11 and Hurricane Irene.[learn_more caption=”More”]
Like every Vermonter, we want to see the National Guard, both Army and Air, serve essential missions for our state and country. They have always had a mission, and we believe that the excellence of our Guard will ensure its future health.
Save Our Skies took shape this past summer, after the Air Force released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). It started with a group of individuals in Winooski, who were very concerned about the negative impact on residents living around the airport. We began working with the Stop-the-F35 Coalition, and meeting on our own as “the Winooski Group.” Soon, people from all around Chittenden County became involved. Save Our Skies believes that Vermont is not the right home for the F-35A’s. While Burlington Airport is located in the most densely populated area of our entire state, the other 5 basing options are located in much more remote areas. At these other bases, few if any residents will be negatively affected by the exceptionally high noise levels of the F-35A’s, and in most places, the noise level improves for a large number of residents. In Vermont, more than 7,000 residents will be living in a noise zone that the FAA and the Air Force DEIS deem “not compatible with residential use.”
We agree that the preservation of jobs is essential for the health of our local economy; therefore, we are concerned by reports that maintenance jobs will be lost if the F-35A’s come or that most of the jobs created will be part-time. And we feel strongly that the impacts on the real estate market and people’s life-savings should be weighed more fairly alongside the possible impact on jobs. We are troubled by the studies on education and on health, which argue that even momentary exposure to extreme noise levels impedes learning in schools, damages hearing, and even causes high blood pressure and other serious physical ailments. We are concerned about the reality that the greatest negative impacts of the basing of the F-35A’s at BIA will fall disproportionately on low-income and minority communities, as clearly stated in the DEIS.
Save Our Skies is committed to grounding our judgment on the facts. We are engaged in on-going investigations into some potentially significant errors in data collection and reporting in regard to the impact on residents and properties in Winooski, South Burlington, Williston, Burlington, and Colchester. We are continuing to expect, and ask for, absolute transparency from the Air Force and our elected Congressional delegation. We think it is unacceptable that the recent Freedom of Information Act request, asking for scoring data, filed by the Burlington Free Press, was denied by the Air Force. So we are advocating, on behalf of Vermonters, for the truth to be revealed to us. And we are advocating, on behalf of Vermonters, for our leaders to base their judgments on what is fair and just. If you are interested in learning more, or if you are ready to volunteer, please contact us at: sosvt.org.[/learn_more]