Boise airport noise concerns

DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

The F-35 has friends in high places.

By Sue Prent for Green Mountain Daily, August 14, 2018

Jasper Craven deserves kudos for his well-researched and insightful look (Vermont Digger, April 13) into political forces driving the rather incongruous choice of Burlington Airport for the Air National Guard’s F-35 program..

With three surrounding cities opposing the F-35 plan, a considerable grassroots opposition force, and all the issues of locating in the midst of a bustling city, one must really ask…why?

Mr. Craven’s article synthesizes the interest factors into a landscape of political blackmail, over which Governor Phil Scott bashfully presides.

Like so much that unseats environmental and ethical concerns these days, jobs are at the heart of the matter. More precisely, it is the threat of jobs disappearing.

It’s the kind of political blackmail we’re regrettably used to from DC, but it’s pretty disheartening to the good people of Chittenden County, Vermont.


7/27/18 Letter from Leahy’s Office to SOS VT

A letter dated July 27, 2018 and addressed to Lt Col. Roger Bourassa (Ret.)

Download full PDF

South Burlington Progressive Party Resolution Requesting cancellation of F-35 and an alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington Airport.

Whereas, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 (55.3%) to 5237 (44.7%), the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen-initiated ballot item:

“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, within weeks of that vote the City Councils of Burlington, Winooski, and South Burlington all approved similar resolutions; and

Whereas certain real estate developers and political authorities seek to force F-35 basing on three unwilling cities, creating a crisis for democracy; and

Whereas, the US Air Force Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) highlights abuse of children living in the noise danger zone of the F-35 in a section entitled, “Effects on Learning and Cognitive Abilities:”

Download full PDF

Ehlers, as governor, says he’d ‘unequivocally’ work to stop the F-35 jets slated for Vermont

By Stewart Ledbetter
July 13, 2018

The F-35 controversy is now a campaign issue in the race for governor.

Democrat James Ehlers said Friday if he’s elected this November, he’ll “absolutely, unequivocally” work to oppose the F-35 fighter jets from coming to the Vermont Air National Guard base in late 2019.

The candidate said residents living in the region most directly impacted by airport noise have voted to oppose the new jets, and Ehlers agrees they are a poor fit for the urban neighborhood.

A former Navy officer, Ehlers said he’s also concerned about the F-35’s nuclear-weapon capability, something he said Russia’s military would be well aware of.

“I don’t think it’s good for the people of Burlington, Winooski, Essex Junction, Colchester and South Burlington, and many of those people have gone on record in the form of a ballot,” Ehlers said. “As governor it’d be my responsibility to find the common ground. That is the way to support our men and women in uniform and advocate for an alternative mission.”

Ehlers said he’s spoken with a number of Vermont Guard members and is convinced the Air Force’s plan to send 18 F-35 fighters to South Burlington next year is “far from a done deal.”


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.


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.”


Decision on F-35 not up to Vermont Air National Guard: Analysis

By Aki Soga
May 24, 2018

Update: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sent a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger confirming “We expect the first F-35 aircraft to arrive in Burlington in 2019.”

In the letter dated May 22, and tweeted by Weinberger the following day, thanks the mayor for his “letter supporting the Air Force decision to base the F-35 at Burlington Air National Guard Base.”

Weinberger affirmed his support for the F-35 basing following the City Council passed a resolution in March by a 9-3 vote asking the Air Force to replace the F-35 with an alternative plane.

F-35 alternative not up to VT National Guard
F-35 opponents are finding a reason to hope in the words of Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, which seem to make clear that the plan to base the stealth fighter with the Vermont Air National Guard was an all-or-nothing proposition.


WCAX broadcast on VTANG interference in basing process

By Darren Perron
May 20, 2018

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.
A one on one interview with the woman making the allegations, plus we’re going to get the guard’s response. Major James Lewandowski is here, he will discuss the guard’s Charlie company, which will act as a medical evacuation unit.


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.”


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).


Winooski F35 Resolution

April 16, 2018



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;


2018 F35 Resolution

March 26, 2018

Resolution Relating to



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]

Meaghan Emery: Replace the F-35 with a quieter, safer aircraft

By Meaghan Emery

April 25, 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meaghan Emery, of South Burlington, who is the vice chair of the South Burlington City Council.

In 2010 (I was on the council at the time), the first public meeting to discuss the proposed basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport was held in Winooski. Later, when the draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued in 2012, I read with consternation the data indicating a 50 percent increase in the number of homes that would fall in a zone around the airport deemed incompatible with residential use (rising from 1,900 to 2,900 homes, or over 6,600 people). Over the six years since, I have only become more convinced that the F-35 is incompatible with a densely populated, residential area. This remains the case, in spite of the federal judge’s finding last year. As history as shown us — with the suffrage and civil rights movements, for instance — because something is legal does not necessarily mean that it is right.

South Burlington residents object to, if not the noise, then the impacts of the noise and the noise compatibility programs, which have been decimating our affordable housing stock, putting the future of one of our three elementary schools in jeopardy, and overall disrupting the peace of mind and quality of life of many who reside here. We have two federal agencies at work here. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has stated and restated his desire to stop the buyout program and pursue other mitigation programs. The regional director of the FAA, however, has stated that, other than home acquisition, no noise mitigation exists to lessen the impact of these high-powered jets. For us in South Burlington, there is no win-win with the F-35.


Open letter to Miro about F-35 by UVM sophomore Lena Connolly

By Lena Connolly
April 20, 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Lena Connolly, a sophomore at the University of Vermont and a lifelong Burlington resident.

My name is Lena Connolly. I am a sophomore at the University of Vermont, and I have lived in Burlington for my entire life. Surrounded by a loving and compassionate community, unbeatable natural beauty, and numerous activities both in the city and the outdoors, I am sure you know that Burlington is a phenomenal place to live.

However, like any place, Burlington is not perfect.

My family’s house lies under the flight path of the F-16 fighter jets, based in Burlington since 1986. I remember one day very distinctly, when I was five years old: My sister and I were playing in the backyard of my family’s home on a cloudless day in spring. The usual sounds of a Saturday morning echoed through the neighborhood: The warm breeze blowing through the trees, dogs barking, neighbors conversing, children laughing, and just like every other Saturday morning, the locally stationed F-16 fighter jets taking off for their training drills directly above my house. The noises of the neighborhood were drowned out by the overbearing roar of the planes. The dogs barked louder, the houses shook, neighbors ceased conversation, my sister and I ran inside, covering our ears and crying.

This is just one example from a lifetime of living in the shadow of the F-16s. They have affected my summer job at the Intervale Community Farm, where the noise from the jets terminates countless conversations between my co-workers and I. They have affected the many times I have sought peaceful refuge in Centennial Woods, where the noise of the F-16s pierces the stillness of the forest, disrupting countless animals and ecosystems. They have affected my father, who is highly sensitive to loud noises and whose stress levels rise every time the F-16s fly overhead. They have affected my mother, who supports my family by teaching music lessons to children at our home; the F-16s force her to interrupt these lessons.

Now, it is 2018, I am 20 years old, and the F-16s have the same looming presence in Burlington that they have had my entire life. It baffles me that the city is currently trying to bring to our town F-35 fighter jets that are four times louder, have a higher safety risk, will affect cognitive development in children and the mental and physical health of those within the noise zone, and make thousands of homes uninhabitable, forcing eviction for countless locals.


Corrupt Democrats Trash Constituents Over F-35 Basing in Vermont

By William Boardman
April 19, 2018

Author’s Note: Since the Burlington mayor’s non-veto veto of his city council’s anti-F-35 resolution, two other affected towns have acted. On April 16, the city council in Winooski, which sits in the airport’s flight path, voted unanimously for a resolution opposing the F-35. Also on April 16, the city council in South Burlington voted 3-1 for an anti-F-35 resolution. No Vermont town is on record supporting the warplane.

Burlington mayor betrays majority of constituents for what?
And why?

On April 11, the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, announced that he was betraying a 55% majority of Burlington voters and a 75% majority of his city council that had opposed basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Burlington Airport in South Burlington. The mayor betrayed his constituents in the limpest way, not by vetoing the popular resolution opposing the F-35, but by sending it on without his signature, while appending a dishonest and misleading cover letter inviting unelected leaders to have their way with Vermont. The third-term Democratic mayor has now asked the Air Force to impose its deafening fighter-bomber on a neighboring city for no cogently articulated reason, following a process bereft of integrity, rigor, or honor.

Earlier this year, when Miro Weinberger was in a challenging, three-way race for re-election as mayor of Burlington, he seemed to make promises. He said things that sounded like promises, things that voters reasonably understood to be promises. One of those promises was a deceptively worded non-commitment commitment to reconsider the justice of basing the nuclear-capable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the neighboring city of South Burlington, even though South Burlington has no say in the matter.

Weinberger was slip-sliding his way along the F-35 question because he has a long, unambiguous record of supporting the military escalation of the airport in the most populated region of Vermont, and this year voters had finally put the question on the ballot, against serious opposition from officialdom. Weinberger, a former airport commissioner, apparently needed to sidestep a question on which he had never shown any official doubt despite health, safety, military, economic and other evidence that the world’s most expensive weapons system was going to do more harm than good to Vermont.


South Burlington and Winooski city councils oppose F-35 basing

By Gail Callahan
April 18, 2018

The Winooski and South Burlington city councils have joined their Burlington counterpart in passing a resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter that are set to arrive at the local airport next year.

The resolution was adopted on a 3-1 vote in South Burlington and unanimously in Winooski, 5-0.

The action Monday night came nearly a month after Burlington’s City Council passed a similar measure, following a Town Meeting Day referendum in which city voters opposed the F-35 basing by 55-45 percent. The council vote was 9-3.

After a period during which Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said he was studying the issues raised by the public and in a VTDigger investigative series, he announced he was sticking to his earlier position supporting the F-35 and declined to sign the resolution.


Two Chittenden County Communities Pass Resolutions Asking USAF To Cancel F-35 Basing

By Pat Bradley
April 18, 2018

In the wake of Burlington city voters approving a resolution asking that the U.S. Air Force cancel plans to base the F-35 fighter jet at the Vermont National Guard base, two nearby city councils this week passed similar resolutions to forward to military officials.

The Burlington City council approved the Town Meeting Day ballot item passed by city voters. Mayor Miro Weinberger refused to sign it but did forward the resolution along with an analysis of the ballot question, which calls into question its validity, and a series of questions for the Secretary of the Air Force to answer.

On Monday, both the Winooski and South Burlington city councils considered similar resolutions. Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard described their resolution mirroring the recent Burlington action.  “The city has consistently said we think Burlington should be passed over in this round of basing until those questions can be addressed or answered.”


The F-35 is the wrong fit for Vermont

By Rosanne Greco
April 16, 2018

On a recent warm sunny morning, I had a beautiful daydream. It went like this: I was sitting on my front porch peacefully gazing at the blue sky when I saw an aircraft rising into the eastern sky, after having taken off from the airport in South Burlington. It was being flown by a pilot from the Vermont Air National Guard. I knew what she was about to do … and I smiled.

In my daydream, this is a military transport/cargo aircraft with a mission to provide supplies to our military serving overseas, or to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people in the United States and around the world. I swell with gratitude and pride, knowing our Air Guard is providing food, water, water filtration devices, clothing, bedding, home rebuilding supplies and maybe even medical assistance to people in need.

Sadly, this is only a daydream. It is not our current reality, nor will it be our future if the F-35 fighter-bomber is based in Burlington. The mission of the F-35 is to attack and destroy. Worse still is that this kind of mission sometimes kills innocent human beings. The purpose of an F-16 and an F-35 is to destroy. That is what pilots of fighter bombers do — in our name.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can demand a change in the mission of our Vermont Air National Guard. We can demand a mission that is more in alignment with Vermonters’ values.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


National Guard dismissed environmental justice

By Maria Powell
March 9, 2018

Last night the National Guard and U.S. Air Force held a “scoping” meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that must be developed before “beddown” of F35s at Madison Truax military base. The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is managing the EIS process with a consulting firm. The purpose of the meeting was to gather public input on the range of issues the military should consider in the EIS. See more details in Steve Verburg’s Wisconsin State Journal article.

Unfortunately, the NGB did very little to inform or engage the people in neighborhoods very near the military base who are already negatively affected by the F-16s currently at the base, and will be most impacted by the F-35s–especially the low income Truax apartments about half a mile to the southeast the base and the trailer park about half mile west.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations ( §989.18) the NGB is required to follow for the EIS: “Where it is anticipated the proposed action and its alternatives will have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority populations or low-income populations, special efforts shall be made to reach these populations. This might include special informational meetings or notices in minority and low-income areas concerning the regular scoping process.”


Military doublespeak

By Maria Powell
March 11, 2018

How loud will supersonic F-35 fighter jets be? What munitions will they carry?

Throughout the National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping session on March 8, a video showed clips of different kinds of F-35 jets, including the F-35A jet that the U.S. Air Force wants to “beddown” at Madison Truax Air National Guard base.

A Madison resident who lives very near the base sat next to me watching the video. Halfway through it she turned to me, noting “it’s interesting they don’t have sound, given that it’s the biggest concern.” “Good point,” I responded. Ironically, all you could hear while watching the video was people at the meeting talking. If the F-35 video had included the actual sound levels produced by these jets taking off, or even flying low overhead, nobody in the room would have been able hear anyone else—they wouldn’t even be able to tolerate being in the room for very long.

I would know. I live about 2 miles west of the base, under one of the frequent F-16 flight paths as they arrive or depart Truax field. When they fly over our house and we are outside on our screened porch (where we spend a lot of our time in warm weather), we have to stop all conversation while they pass over and are some distance away. Since they often fly over in formations of several planes, this means having to start and stop conversations many times for a while until the whole formation has gone over.


Democracy 1, War Machine 0 |

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.”


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018


Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel):

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother:

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School):

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): and earlier at M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor):

Dr. John Reuwer:

Ben Cohen:

Closing (Rosanne Greco):

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center):

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.”


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.


Burlington group seeks to put F-35 challenge on March ballot

By Cory Dawson

January 5, 2018

A group of city residents is gathering signatures for a petition that would put an item on the March ballot asking the City Council to oppose basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute over the new warplanes. Since the Air Force first sent notice in 2009 that it was considering the airport as one of the locations it would send F-35’s, groups of residents have sought to oppose them.

Charles Simpson, a local activist, retired professor and Progressive City Council candidate, is leading the charge to get the ballot item to voters in March. Simpson is part of a group opposed to basing the planes in Burlington.

Several members of that group, along with the City of Winooski, lost a court battle in 2016 challenging the findings of a U.S. Department of Defense environmental study that gave a green light to deploying the planes at the airport.

The Vermont Air National Guard’s current fleet of 18 F-16 aircraft will begin to be replaced with new F-35’s as early as next year. The F-35 will be used in Burlington nearly 5,500 times per year — a slower pace than current F-16 flights — and will be significantly louder than F-16s. Houses closest to the airport have been vacated and sold through a Federal Aviation Administration program that buys homes severely affected by noise pollution.

The ballot item language, which is advisory and non-binding, asks the City Council to request cancelling the warplanes coming to Burlington and to request quieter military equipment.


Toward a Livable City: the F-35 Question (filmed on 12-12-17)

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.

What Every Vermonter Should Know about the Decision to Base the F-35s in Chittenden County

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) conducted by the U.S. Air Force, on the planned F-35 basing
in Vermont states that:

Our area would be negatively affected in the following categories:

Noise, Safety, Climate Change, Air Quality, Socioeconomics, Land Use, Transportation, Environmental
Justice, and the Protection of Children.

More information available in this brochure in PDF format.

F-35s in Boise Idaho

By Sven Berg
October 14, 2017

The first F-35s ever to land in Boise arrived Friday from Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, crew members said.

The two jets were parked Saturday on the tarmac at Gowen Field, the Idaho Air National Guard base that shares the Boise Airport’s runways, for thousands of Gowen Thunder 2017 air show spectators to see.

And the cutting-edge warplanes were a big attraction, even when popular aerial performances were taking place, such as the show put on by the Royal Canadian Snowbirds and the Air Force Thunderbirds. Pilots, mechanics and maintenance experts chatted with people who stopped to ask questions about the F-35s. Security forces monitored the taped-off area around the planes to make sure the public didn’t get too close.

The crowd didn’t hear the F-35s on Saturday, though, because they remained parked for the duration of the show. In order to fly in air shows, the F-35s and their pilots must be part of a demonstration team, Idaho Air National Guard spokeswoman Cassidy Morlock said. Such a team exists and has performed at 14 events this year, Morlock said. Gowen Thunder’s organizers requested that the team come to Gowen Thunder, she said, but were unsuccessful.


From Burlington to Boise, How to Fight the F-35

By Colonel Rosanne Greco Ret.

I’m writing from the Burlington, Vermont area to tell the people of the Boise, Idaho area that you are not alone. Although we are thousands of miles apart, we are close in our shared concern about a threat to our cities: the basing of the F-35. This is not hyperbole. We have seen here in South Burlington the destruction of entire neighborhoods solely because of the noise of Air Force jets. Our airport tore down over 200 homes because of the noise produced by the currently based F-16s. The F-35 is over four times louder, and its scheduled to arrive here in 2019.


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.


With F-35 decision looming, Boise Airport gets federal money to monitor noise


By Sven Berg
June 19, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration will cover 93.75 percent of the $300,000 cost to design, acquire and install a noise-monitoring system at the Boise Airport.

The airport, which the city of Boise owns, will cover the remaining $18,750.

The monitoring system will allow the airport to compare the amount of noise planes produce when they take off and land on its runways to models that predict the impact and reach of that noise.

Some of the noise at the airport comes from military planes, including a squadron of 18 active A-10s that the Idaho Air National Guard operates. The U.S. Air Force plans to decommission all A-10s in the next five years or so, leaving the question of what aircraft, if any, will replace the A-10s at Gowen Field, the Guard’s base


Boise officials heard the F-35 up close

By Sven Berg
August 20, 2017

On Aug. 7, Elaine Clegg stood at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, and listened to the roar of F-35s taking off and landing a couple hundred yards away.

Clegg, president of the Boise City Council, also witnessed F-16s and other planes at the base. She said she couldn’t tell that much difference between the various aircraft.

“They’re jets,” she said Wednesday. “They’re loud.”

Amid a yearslong, sometimes ugly debate over basing F-35s in Boise, the Utah trip was a rare opportunity for city officials to hear in person just how loud the jets are.

Lauren McLean, Clegg’s second-in-command on the council, was at Hill, too. Her impression of the F-35s aligned with Clegg’s.

Clegg and McLean said the F-35s in Utah were using afterburners — acceleration devices that substantially increase aircraft noise.

F-35 in Boise: We don’t know what we don’t know

By George Prentice
July 19, 2017

The city of Boise and a grassroots neighborhood group are in a dogfight over proposed mission

Listen to enough people argue about the possibility of an F-35 mission coming to Gowen Field in Boise and you’ll soon realize the only common ground you hear is an agreement that only a fully vetted, Boise-based scientific analysis will reveal how the mission might impact the livability of the community. The divide of opinions over the proposed mission is already as wide as the runway at Gowen Field is long. As an example, comments on an informal online poll by Boise Weekly were strident. “Don’t like the noise? Don’t live near the base,” wrote Mark Dewey. “It’s the sound of freedom, baby,” wrote Todd Woodell.

State of Idaho and City of Boise officials—from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Mayor Dave Bieter on down—have voiced full-throated support for keeping the Idaho Air National Guard airborne above Gowen Field. Both Otter and Bieter winged their way to Washington, D.C., this past March to lobby on behalf of Boise, one of five cities on the U.S. Air Force’s shortlist, each vying to be the home base for somewhere between 18 and 24 F-35 jets.

A number of citizens, primarily from the Vista neighborhood in Boise, are doing some lobbying of their own. They’ve created a group called “Citizens for a Livable Boise,” punching holes in the effort to lure the F-35 mission.

“It’s a terrible thing. We’ll never get used to it, and if it comes here it would tear this community apart,” said Monty Mericle, retired Idaho Power engineer and CLB member.


The F-35 is much louder than the F-16 and A-10

The Arizona Star reported that the F-35 fighter projects 121 decibels (db)
of noise to the ground, 25 decibels more than the F-16, at the same speed
and altitude. Later, the Star corrected the estimate of the F-35 noise to 98 db,
based on numbers provided by Davis-Monthan.

But D-M’s numbers are contradicted by 6 years of consistent Air Force reports.

Five independently prepared Air Force documents show that at most
altitudes and speeds, the noise on the ground below the F-35 will be
an average of 16 decibels louder than the loudest F-16 currently flying
from D-M/TIA (a difference of roughly 60 times the physical energy
& more than three times as loud perceptually).


Anti F-35 Noise Group Launches Website (Boise, ID)

April 14, 2017

In a subtle maneuver that would have any fighter pilot pulling extra G’s, a group organized to fight the noisy F-35 jet has co-opted Mayor Dave Bieter’s favorite line about making Boise the “Most livable city in America.”

CITIZENS FOR A LIVABLE BOISE” now has a central “meeting place” on-line. They even qualified for the “.org” designation.

While rather restrained in their approach, CLB presents information and news stories from around the nation not likely to be produced by local media outlets or shared by proponents of basing at least 18 of the loudest fighter jets in the Air Force at Gowen Field.


Letters to the Editor on VTANG pilot crash (Price) and noise maps (Powell)

By Rich Price, and Ellen Powell
Feb. 8, 2017

No-Reporting Zone
I write to express my disappointment in the editor’s decision to run a story about Lt. Col. John Rahill [“F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash,” February 1]. Poorly written and mean-spirited, the article appears to be an attempt to bring negative press upon the Vermont Army National Guard during a time when many of its men and women are deployed in the service of our country…

By Rich Price

Noise Map Needed

[Re Off Message: “South Burlington Councilors Want Airport Buyouts to Stop,” January 23; Off Message: “SoBu Council Passes Resolution Critical of Airport Home Buyouts,” January 24; Off Message: “Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts,” January 24]: There’s a big lack of affordable housing in South Burlington. Due to increased decibels from F-16s, the airport has purchased and demolished more than 150 affordable houses in the vicinity of the airport. There are 40 more homes on the chopping block…

By Ellen Powell



Save the Guard – The Big Lie

By Richard Joseph
Sep. 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.
We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.


Now is the time to Rebel

By Jimmy Leas
March 5, 2017

South Burlington is being roughed up every day by a bully to the north. We must stop collaborating. Now is the time to rebel.

Burlington is the bully. Burlington hosts an otherwise well-regarded tenant at its airport that operates screamingly loud F-16 fighter jets that cause serious health and safety misery, and property losses to families in South Burlington.

The misery is visible: 200 affordable homes near the airport bulldozed since the arrival of the F-16.

The misery is also invisible: The noise is so awful it causes cognitive impairment of half the children living in the remaining 961 South Burlington homes in the F-16 extreme noise zone.

Burlington gets millions of dollars in grants, primarily from the FAA but also from the state of Vermont, to do its vicious deed on South Burlington neighborhoods.


Five-Way-Win Solution to Airport Noise Problems

By Rosanne Greco
March 8, 2017

There is a solution to the airport noise problems in which all of the entities involved — the Vermont Air National Guard, the airport, South Burlington, Burlington and the surrounding communities — will survive and thrive. It’s simple, aligns totally with Vermont values, won’t cost a dime, may result in more jobs coming to the Air Guard, and everyone wins.

Most folks would agree that airport noise is causing significant problems in our area. But to make sure we are all on the same page, I’m providing the information upon which this solution is based. All of the facts I cite are taken from official government documents and can be verified.

Facts related to the impact of the problem: The primary source of the unlivable airport noise come from military jets — not commercial airliners; because of this noise, Burlington is using FAA money to purchase and then demolish homes in South Burlington; home demolition reduces South Burlington property taxes, which then results in tax increases for the rest of the city’s homeowners.


F-35 program capital would be better spent on infrastructure

By William H. Sample
December 21, 2016

There is an increasing concern about the F-35 fighter plane (identified by the Department of Defense as “fifth generation”) and its role in military readiness. Having served for three years during the Korean War, I came to appreciate and understand the armed forces’ importance in American life.

Although I did not remain in the service, I have followed military activities which have been conducted over the years (at the direction, sometimes ill-advised, of their civilian leadership) with competence, loyalty, enthusiasm and pride.

As the 21st century started, I became alarmed about the F-35. I recalled Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s admonition for us to be wary of the excesses of the military/industrial complex. It would be clear to him, I think, that the F-35 project is the military/industrial complex run amok.


Vermont doesn’t need F-35: A Letter to Editor of Burlington Free Press

By Sophie Quest

December 21, 2016

I believe that it’s time to take another careful look at the F-35 warplane (officially called a “weapons system”). Over the 50 year life span of the F-35, America’s newest warplane, we will spend $1.4 trillion on production and maintenance of this one weapons system. That is enough to feed all the world’s hungry ($30 billion per year) and provide everyone on earth with safe drinking water ($11 billion per year).

Even short of provoking war, its production and deployment misdirects vast amounts of precious metals and fossil fuels. This stealth airplane is specifically designed for offensive use. It can carry the B61-12 nuclear weapon deep into foreign territory undetected, making its first-strike use more likely.


Why Didn’t You Ask? A Letter to Editor Seven Days

By Eileen Andreoli
November 2, 2016

It’s patently absurd that reporter Paul Heintz’s second major reflection on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s career in three years does not once mention the extremely controversial F-35 debate in Vermont [“Forty-Two Years a Senator,” October 12].
The F-35 issue has been one of the most divisive of Leahy’s campaign and has tarnished his image for thousands of Vermont residents. Heintz’s piece doesn’t ask any hard questions about Leahy’s decision to trade off the projected damage to the homes, health and safety of thousands of Vermonters for his untenable desire for the basing of the dysfunctional and dangerous F-35s in our residential neighborhoods.
Who is to blame for this glaring omission of concern to many Vermonters? Was it Leahy’s arrogance in refusing to talk about the F-35s or a lack of reporting skills on Heintz’s part?

[Full Article]

What Keeps the F-35 Alive

By David Swanson
November 2, 2016

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it’d be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn’t safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.


Fearing Noise Impacts, Residents demand better representation

By Monty Mericle
November 26, 2016

It was made clear again Nov. 16 to the 150 residents attending the Boise Airport Master Planning meeting that the Boise Airport and Boise City officials have no intention of addressing the noise impacts of the expanding airport operations. The recently completed FAA sponsored Noise Study projects the “Not Suitable for Residential Use” zone on private property surrounding the airport will expand from the current 105 homes to 419 homes if F-15 aircraft replace the current A-10 aircraft, and over 1,100 homes if the city is successful in attracting F-35 aircraft to Gowen Field.

Navy pollutes water system

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.


Save the Guard — The Big Lie

September 12, 2016

This commentary is by Richard Joseph, who is an artist, a member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition and a plaintiff in the F-35 lawsuit against the Air Force.

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.

We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he’d “never put his finger on the scale” to convince the Air Force to select Burlington for the F-35 basing.


Vermont’s Golden Calf

The following is a letter to the editor of from Roseanne Greco

August 31, 2016

As a child I believed most of the Bible stories I was taught. But there was one story I found hard to believe … until recently, that is. The story was of people (the Israelites) building a statue of a golden calf from their riches (their melted jewelry), which they then worshiped as a god and to which they sacrificed. The Israelites believed this idol would save them from their enemies. They revered those who created and paraded their idol, and criticized those who dared to doubt the idol or its high priests. How could individuals be so enamored of an inanimate object? It was difficult for me to believe that rational people actually believed something built by human beings was a god.

However, over the past few years, I’ve seen Vermonters come to worship an object made by human beings. Devotees adorn their vehicles with images of their idol and post phrases claiming that their idol will save Vermont. They contribute their riches to create their golden calf, to promote its presence, and to proselytize its message. And, they are willing to sacrifice to their god.


The F35 fight is far from over


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosanne and the Stop the F-35 Coalition

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

Tucson, AZ F-35 related information

f35noisedataedwards2013By Bob Logan
July 29 2016

In May, Consultant Lt. Gen. (Ret) Gene Santarelli traveled to Lockheed Martin Co. manufacturing
facility in Dallas to get an update on F-35 noise and safety data.

F-35 Noise data in Comparison to F-16 C/D From Edwards AFB tests Sept., 2013

[FULL ARTICLE – Pages 14-17]

F-35s in Vermont the Elephant in the room by Eileen Andreoli

By  Eileen Andreoli

July 25, 2016

Did you see it? The State of Vermont’s official website now displays the banner, “Welcome to Vermont – Future Home of the F-35 Stealth Bomber/Fighter Jet!!!”

Yes, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch and all the way down to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger — all these progressive, pro-environmental, green-loving politicians — have heartily endorsed the virtues of the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport. They are proud of the basing decision and can’t wait to announce it in their marketing campaigns. All new state promotional and marketing material will carry the new slogan.

The F-35 basing will be the first-ever basing of a newly operational warplane in the midst of our state’s most densely populated residential community. The crash risk from any new warplane in military history is the highest in the first few years of flights. The F-35s will arrive in Vermont in 2019 as immature planes. Despite the dangers and risks to Vermont’s residential populations, these politicians have declared it “an honor” to be chosen.


Air Force expanding into communities

By Stephen Stuebner
Nov. 28, 1994

The Air Force’s decision Oct. 6 to back off on building a new bombing range in the Owyhee canyonlands is a victory – and therefore shocking.

Who would have thought that a coalition of local and national environmentalists, hunting groups and a few members of Congress could stop the military and Idaho’s forceful Gov. Cecil Andrus?

Members of this informal coalition enjoyed clinking glasses to their momentary success. “We toasted in hopes that we had driven the pointy end of the spear through this proposal,” said Bob Stevens, a Ketchum bighorn sheep hunter and former military pilot, who flew many opinion-makers over the remote canyon. “The problem has always been location, location, location.”

A look back at this long-debated project suggests that Andrus may indeed have doomed it by choosing the most environmentally sensitive area in Owyhee County, trying to pull an end-run on Congress and pledging Idaho’s support without asking the people first.


Open Meeting law violated regarding VTANG-called meeting

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 30, 2016

Community members cried foul at being denied entrance to a publicly announced meeting last week.

Vaughn Altemus of Williston, who was not admitted to the Vermont National Guard meeting last Wednesday, wrote of his concerns to Free Press on Sunday following a story written by staff regarding South Burlington’s support of a sound and safety lawsuit against the U. S. Air Force.

“I continue to be unaware of any way I could have gained access to that meeting,” Altemus wrote.


Surprising similarities between EB-5 and F-35 programs by Eileen Andreoli

By Eileen Andreoli

May 8, 2016

With his recent reversal of his support of the EB-5 program, Sen. Patrick Leahy seemed to declare that he has realized the errors of his ways. His denouncement of the program is admission that the EB-5 project is corrupt and has harmed both the investors and everyday Vermonters.

Now is the time for Leahy to also acknowledge the same regarding his support of the F-35 basing in Vermont!

Similar to the political contributions that Leahy collected from the EB-5 investors, he has accepted thousands of dollars from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the over-budget and poorly performing F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet.


Burlington Free Press My Turn: F-35 decision followed Flint model

By James Marc Leas
June 16, 2016

The F-35 basing decision followed the Flint, Michigan, model – eyes closed to the foreseeable catastrophic consequences.

The Air Force Environmental Impact Study (EIS) says the F-35 is expected to have a crash rate like the F-22, which has a much higher crash rate than the F-16.

The number given in the EIS indicates that we can expect an F-35 crash in Burlington, on average, every 3 years.


Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding dangers of advanced composite materials

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 15, 2015

Dear Councilors,
Once again, I urge all of you to support joining the NEPA lawsuit, which is simply to get the Air Force to comply with federal law and provide the necessary information on the basing impacts of the F-35. Many people tried – unsuccessfully for years — to get the Air Force to provide this vital information. Legal action was the last recourse.

What we are seeking is not “nice-to-know” information. Literally, this could be life-saving data when we consider the very real possibility of an F-35 crash in our community. The noise of the F-35 will assuredly alter the lives of thousands of people in South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester. But the consequences of an F-35 crash in any of these cities is unimaginable. As horrendous a thought as that may be, given the crash statistics for new military aircraft, the likelihood of that happening is quite real.

Last Monday, you heard from a gentlemen who told you there was no difference in crash consequences between the F-16 and the F-35…or commercial airliners…or even household items. He was wrong. Numerous scientific reports produced by the Air Force contradict his statements.
You may decide to trust him, and disregard the data produced by the Air Force which refutes his opinion. However, if you decide to go with one man’s opinion over the Air Force, then at least, do some research and verify what he said. The arms control admonition is appropriate here: “trust, but verify.”
Through Internet searches, we discovered three Air Force reports from experts in the field of composite materials. All three reports, despite the dates (1995, 2001, and 2015), come to the same conclusion on the dangers of advanced composites and advanced aerospace materials. Because many people are unlikely to actually read the reports, I’ve summarized them using direct quotes, with page references. I will gladly send this to you, if you wish.

And, keep in mind that the Air Force did not disclose these reports or their findings in the EIS or during the comment period! We found these reports on our own. Perhaps there is more information that we have not found.

This is the reason for legal action. The Air Force didn’t inform us of these impacts (and other impacts including noise mitigation measures). The Air Force did give us detailed information in the EIS about the F-35 impacts on migratory waterfowl, and what would happen if an F-35 flare ignited vegetation; but they never told us ANYTHING about what we could expect should an F-35 crash!

Military first responders on an Air Force Base in Guam were unprepared when an Air Force bomber with advanced aerospace composite materials (similar to the F-35) crashed in 2008. This mishap report (along with a link to a video of the crash) appears in the 2015 document. You may choose to believe that our first responders will be better prepared to handle the catastrophe associated with a F-35 crash than the military first responders. Perhaps you will be right. But, what if you are wrong?

Please make your decision based on the truth, the facts, and science; and not on speculation, personal opinions, or emotion. And please, don’t let politics guide your decision. Lives could be at risk. Think of the people. Thank you.

All three Air Force composite hazard reports are attached.

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding NEPA lawsuit

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 11, 2016

Dear South Burlington City Councilors,

I would like to first express my gratitude to the council chair for being willing to address the serious issue of the safety and noise impacts of the F-35 basing in our city.

Secondly, I would like the council to know that I support South Burlington joining the NEPA lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Thirdly, I would like to address some of the concerns expressed by councilors, starting with informing/reminding the council of past city actions regarding seeking information from the Air Force on the impacts of the F-35 basing, particularly in light of Councilor Chittenden’s comment “Lawsuits are a last resort, not a first resort.” In light of the actions taken by municipalities and residents over the past four years, any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that every other method to acquire information on the negative impacts of this basing decision had been taken; and that filing a lawsuit was the last resort.

Specifically, on at least five occasions, local municipalities wrote to the Air Force requesting information, primarily related to noise, but also regarding other impacts of the basing. These formal letters came from the SB City Council, the SB School Board, and the SB Planning Commission. The City Council of Winooski twice requested this information from the Air Force. The Air Force did not respond to any of these requests.

Additionally, over the past four years, on numerous occasions, South Burlington and area residents from South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston, and Colchester requested assistance and intervention from our Congressional delegates, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welch. Our elected representatives chose not to discuss the matter with any of those who were concerned with the negative consequences of the basing. I think it would be foolhardy to expect that, at this point in time, the Air Force, or our Congressional delegates would be forthcoming with information or assistance.

Regarding Councilor Chittenden’s comment that “The Vermont Air National Guard will be constricted in their permitted interactions with us on the important matters of first responder readiness & noise mitigation if we are in a lawsuit suing them on these two issues” the lawsuit is against theSecretary of the Air Force, not the Vermont Air National Guard. The lawsuit is about requiring the Air Force to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules. This information can only come from the United States Air Force.

This same answer applies to Councilor Nowak’s comments about getting information from the Guard. The VTANG is not obligated by law, as is the Air Force, to provide this information; and in all likelihood, does not even possess the information we need. However, Councilor Nowak’s comments about our first responders’ fine reputation in past incidents is pertinent to this discussion; as they are among those the lawsuit seeks to protect. We want to insure that they are able to continue their invaluable work by making sure they have the proper information, technology, equipment, protective garments, and training to combat a totally different type of danger than they have experienced in the past.

The material composition of the new F-35 is vastly different from the current F-16. The F-16 is made up of a tiny fraction of composite materials as compared with the F-35, which the Air Force categorizes as a “high-risk aircraft” because of the amount and percentage of composite materials in its airframe. Moreover, the F-16 has no chemical stealth coating. The entire F-35 is coated with these additional toxic chemicals.

Our lawsuit is to get the information on these dangers, so that our first responders are properly equipped and trained to protect nearby civilians, the military members involved, and to protect themselves. Councilor Nowak is suggesting that the city and its taxpayers ought to be the ones to expend personnel time and money researching the magnitude of the dangers and how to address them, and then paying for the needed training and equipment. She also favors spending taxpayer money to identify noise mitigation actions, and seems to trust that the FAA will allocate all the money needed for noise mitigation work. The Air Force is the one who will be causing these dangers and burdens. It is the Air Force’s responsibility, not the residents of South Burlington, to provide noise information and remedies.
Regarding putting a lawsuit decision to a city-wide vote, in my experience on the council that has never happened. SB has never asked the voters to decide whether the city initiates, or joins, or defends itself through lawsuits. Legal matters are one category that Vermont allows councilors to discuss in executive session.

Lastly, I appreciate councilors’ concerns as to the timing of this matter. But, new information only just became available to the council. To ignore that would be a dereliction of their duties as our elected representatives. Good governance requires acting on information in a timely manner. In this case, waiting to gather more information or input, means the council would miss their last opportunity to act in a meaningful manner. As we used to say in the military, ‘complete information coming too late is useless’.

Unfortunately, councilors do not have the luxury of only working on easy issues. Governing sometimes means taking on controversial topics. Once again, thank you for taking on this controversial, but essential issue. The future of our city and citizens depends on your actions on Monday.

Pentagon waste hampers military readiness: Citizen-Times Letter to the Editor

By R. Michael Erwin, PhD, Weaverville
February 5, 2016

I read retired Col. Ric Hunter’s guest column (Jan. 31 AC-T) concerning the outlook for military readiness in an era where rapid response is needed in response to rogue forces. He lists a number of serious deficiencies within the Air Force resulting largely from sequestration. Although the Air Force has suffered budget reductions, the same is true for most federal agencies. It is difficult to be sympathetic to the Pentagon when the budget for the military (including Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security) consumes about 70 percent of our annual budget.


The Truth about the F-35

By Eileen Andreoli
Apr. 18, 2016

This commentary is by a member of

In recent stories about the accelerated pace for the basing in Vermont of the under-tested and mechanically flawed F-35s, Gov. Peter Shumlin states, “This initiative will benefit the Vermont National Guard, create jobs, and spur economic development in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.”

Shumlin has repeated these same lies for the last three years. When challenged in 2013 to provide the source for his comments that the F-35s would create jobs, his reply was: “The specific quote you referenced should have referred to the more than one thousand direct and indirect jobs attributable to the air base that I strongly believe will be retained if we are chosen for F-35 basing.”

Retaining jobs does not equal creating jobs! Even after he was challenged on these falsehoods, and despite his excuse that he meant to say “retained” jobs instead of creating them, he is back at it again, repeating the same lies. His continued misrepresentation of the facts must be exposed for the outright lies they are.


F-35 is a Feminist Issue

By Rosanne M. Greco
April 15, 2016

I am a feminist. For over 40 years, I have supported feminist ideals. Four years ago, I started learning about the implications of the proposal to base the military’s newest fighter-bomber, the F-35, at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in South Burlington. The more I researched, the more I began to wonder: Is the F-35 a feminist issue?

Feminists work to achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. The F-35 will negatively affect the economic, personal, and social rights of women. Specifically, Vermont women (and their children) are disproportionally the ones who will be affected by the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport.


F-35 Deficiencies (Press Republican Letter to the Editor)

By Joe DeMarco
Feb 18, 2016

F-35 deficiencies

This is information about the F-35 that should interest everyone.

The contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin on Oct. 26, 2001 (15 years ago) for this $1.4 trillion program — yes, $1.4 trillion for one aircraft.

After many years of development and testing, this aircraft has serious maintenance and reliability problems. Testing found that the Marine Corps did not and could not show that its variant “was operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation or that it was ready for real world operational deployment.”

Combat requires a readiness rate of 80 percent, but during demonstrations, the F-35 struggled to maintain a 50 percent readiness level.



AF gets more time to respond to lawsuit in Arizona

March 23, 2016

The Air Force has been given an extra month, until late April, to respond to a federal lawsuit alleging that the service failed to adequately study the environmental effects of expanding a military training program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Three Tucson residents filed the lawsuit Jan. 22, challenging the Air Force’s finding last year that the expansion of its Total Force Training program would create ‘no significant impact’ and asking the court to order a detailed environmental impact statement.

The Air Force said it needed more time to file a detailed response.


Winooski seeks $5,000 for F-35 lawsuit

By Elizabeth Murray
March 28, 2016

The Winooski City Council unanimously approved spending $5,000 more on a lawsuit the city entered last year regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement regarding F-35 fighter jets.

The additional money was an agenda item at Monday’s council meeting at Winooski City Hall.

The City Council initially approved spending $7,500 on the lawsuit when the city decided to enter the case in April 2015. The council said at the time that if additional money were needed, a motion would come back before the council for public discussion and a vote.


F-35 opposition respects the Guard

By James Marc Leas
March 31, 2016

Supporting our Vermont Air National Guard is one thing. Supporting particular items of equipment is another.

Supporting our Green Mountain Boys does not require supporting the Air Force decision to base F-35 warplanes at the airport in South Burlington.

If our Guardsmen were lousy at their jobs, poor learners, lackadaisical, unprofessional and could only do one thing right, all right, to support them we might have to accept them doing just that one thing, whatever it is.

But, as is indeed the case, our Green Mountain Boys are “the best of the best.” Their skills and achievements mean they will do very well no matter what equipment or mission they are given.

Unlike Air Force bases immediately adjacent to wide open spaces and/or large bodies of water, the airport in South Burlington is immediately surrounded by thousands of homes and tens of thousands of people. Does anyone seriously believe the best of the best will be disbanded if they obtain a mission compatible with their location in the most densely populated part of Vermont?


VTANG has a future without the F-35

By Roger Bourassa
March 31, 2016

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Roger Bourassa, of Colchester, who served in the Marines and is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. He flew in the F-89, the C-97, and the F-101 and flew all over the world including several missions to Vietnam.

recent letter to a South Burlington newspaper from a retired Air Force colonel who claims to be an expert on base closings predicts the worst for the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) if the F-35A takes a pass on this first round of basing. He predicts a closing of the Guard and a local economic recession while offering nothing to support these claims.

A lawsuit against the secretary of the Air Force is on the docket for later this spring in the Federal District Court in Rutland concerning this issue. The decision may result in a reconsideration by the Air Force on basing the F-35 at VTANG.

The primary arguments used by supporters of the F-35A basing are that opponents are either, 1) unpatriotic and anti-military and, 2) without the F-35A, VTANG would be without a mission. The first argument is plain nonsense. There are many veterans numbered among the opponents to the basing of the F-35A, many of whom have served their country with honor with some serving during wartime, including Vietnam.

The second argument is without evidence and, to the contrary, is challenged by official Air Force statements. The Air Force Revised Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIS) states “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47). No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here.


Airplane Noise

By John Vogel
March 29, 2016

Recently I’ve been spending time in the Burlington area and wondering why we have to put up with the ear splitting noise of military planes as they take off and land. The good news is that they’re phasing out the F-16s. The bad news is they’ll be replacing them with F-35s.

In 1951 when the Air National Guard moved to Burlington, it was probably a sensible decision. But 65 years later, the community has changed and so have the planes.


Group vows to fight F-35 delivery

By Keele Smith
April 6, 2016

F-35 jets expected to arrive in Burlington in 2019f16

Air Force officials announced Monday that the first F-35 fighter jets are expected to arrive in Vermont in fall of 2019. But those fighting to keep them from coming here are not giving up hope.

“There are no benefits to the F-35 coming here. All negatives. One more risky and dangerous than another,” F-35 opponent Rosanne Greco said.

Greco has done her homework when it comes to bringing F-35s to Vermont.


Future operations and opposition to the F-35 at Davis-Monthan AFB

By Emily Bregel
March 10, 2016

As Davis-Monthan Air Force Base faces dual threats of cuts to its primary mission – its fleet of A-10 close-air support jets – and the specter of base closures nationally, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said its’future is bright.’

‘I couldn’t be more impressed with what I have seen so far,’ she told local reporterson Wednesday, during her first visit to D-M. ‘This is a very, very busy base.’

James praised the A-10 mission here and said proposals to retire the fleet nationally were rooted in budget constraints. She pointed to D-M’s new drone unit, which remotely flies MQ-1 Predator drones, and nearby training areas as platforms for expansion.

‘I think there’s room for growth, in terms of missions’ at D-M, she said.

James’ whirlwind visit to Tucson comes as D-M supporters tout a new survey showing strong local support for the base and for the controversial prospect of high-decibel F-35s flying more frequently in Southern Arizona.


An intrusion on our home

By Bruce S. Post
FEB. 1, 2016

The passionate disagreements about the F-35 and industrial wind share a commonality: the meaning of home.

“Home is the place,” wrote Robert Frost, “where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Home and hearth are rooted in our soul, private places of respite and retreat from the grinding gears of public life. The expression “if these walls could talk” symbolizes that our dwellings are more than simply structures; they are storehouses of memories, giving us a sense of our individual and familial selves.

That is the romantic vision. Less romantically, we are never completely safe in our homes. We are wary of the stranger at the door, fearful of the burglar and the thief. We fear the sense of violation that comes with a lock pried, window broken and drawers thrown about indiscriminately. We arm ourselves with dead-bolt locks, alarm systems, barred windows and bullets and guns. The claim “I never lock my door” seems naïve and foolhardy. “Be careful,” we caution, “you never know.”


Letter to the Editor of the Idaho Statesman, January 26, 2016

“We are among “those that live by the airport.” However, we have never complained about the noise, until this past summer (and only to each other). We’ve lived here 15 years, love the area and being close to everything. We moved in from Meridian after 17 years of the sprawl out there. Our home was built in 1954, 10 years before the first jet service to Boise. We expected airport noise: we did spend eight years on SAC and TAC air bases. But, the noise from the F-15s this summer was terrible. And the City of Boise potentially wants to allow F-35s with considerably more noise at Gowen? There is a reason for Mountain Home AFB: put them there. We tried to read the noise study, but not being a government bureaucrat, we were unable to decipher the data. Has the City of Boise become so dollar hungry that they are willing to sacrifice the quality of life for an expanded tax base? Finally, anyone familiar with USAF aircraft, must be aware of the noticeable noise difference between an F-15 and an A10.”

Al and Patti Crager, Boise

Tucson Residents file lawsuit against AF

By Bud Foster
Jan 26, 2016

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -Three residents who live in midtown Tucson in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base flight path have filed a suit against the U.S. Air Force.

The suit, filed by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Intereston behalf of Gary Hunter, Anita Scales and Rita Orneles, states the Air Force did not follow required federal protocols in preparing an environmental assessment on the impact its new training schedule would have on neighborhoods in the flight path.


David-Monthan residents sue over F-35 noise

By Caitlin Schmidt
January 23, 2016

Three residents of neighborhoods near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have filed for an injunction in federal court, seeking to require the Air Force to conduct a more detailed analysis of how increased training flights from the base will affect the community.

Rita Ornelas, Gary Hunter and Anita Scales filed the complaint Friday with the U.S. District Court of Arizona, saying that the Air Force failed to follow federal guidelines when it approved a plan last year to increase the number of operations.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, a nonprofit firm that focuses on government accountability, is representing the plaintiffs.


Boise airport noise concerns

DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.


Network of Communities Oppose Military Expansion on Public Lands

The network of communities standing up to current and proposed military activity continues to grow. Organizers from many communities share information, undertake joint projects and focus on the need for fiscal and programmatic accountability from the Pentagon.

Join us in demanding accountability from the Pentagon. It is past time for the Pentagon to pass an audit like every other federal agency. A recent study by Reuters found that the Pentagon cannot document what happened to more than $8 trillion in taxpayer money dating back to 1996.


F-35 Opponents Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

OCT 29, 2015

Opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base next-generation F-35 fighter planes at Burlington International Airport have taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Activists have asked the high court to hear their appeal of a March Vermont Supreme Court ruling, which said the airport did not need to obtain state land use permits to base the new jets at the airport.


South Boise, Idaho residents concerned about F-35

November 7, 2015

People who live near the Boise Airport are worried the Idaho Air National Guard’s next flying mission will damage their lives, though that new mission is probably years away.

They’re worried the U.S. Air Force will replace Gowen Field’s 21 A-10s, which are low-speed warplanes designed to attack ground targets, with F-15s or F-35s.


Dougherty LTE in Boise Idaho on F-35

This appeared in today’s Idaho Statesman newspaper (Boise) and relates to the Idaho Air National Guard’s operations at the Boise airport, also known as Gowen Field.

Michael DeJulis’ letter, Oct.18, confuses me. He talks of F-15s/ F-35s “higher altitude take offs,” “turning left upon exiting the runway,” “deafening noise” and “black exhaust droplets.” I am an Air Force brat, and served 20 years in USAF working as a Crew Chief on fighters, to include the F-15. First, Gowen and the airport share the runways. Keep in mind flight patterns and traffic. The E model 15’s require afterburner longer due to take off weight. Landing requires very little throttle adjustments at or near idle, same as airliners, for proper glide slope. If Michael lives three miles away, then how does he know they don’t turn until Nampa? Black exhaust droplets? If they are from jet exhaust, airliners are now in the jet age too. After a lifetime of living, working, and parking near these jets, I have never seen such droplets on clothes, cars or houses. I have however seen ash from range fires. Now the F-35. The F-15 has two engines, F-35 has one. It can takeoff vertically. Maybe louder on vertical takeoff, landings, and hovering, which would be at Gowen, not on Michael’s street. I have yet to see it fly. Have you?

Bruce Dougherty, Mountain Home

Garritano LTE on Canadian new Prime Minister’s intention to stop participating in F-35 buy

Hooray for Canada!

Liberals have won the majority in Canada’s election which should be front page news in America. These liberals walk the walk unlike the neoliberals that have taken over our Democratic party.

Canada’s new prime minister immediately called for an end to their participation in U.S. misadventures in the Middle East and the wasteful boondoggle that is the F-35 bomber.

Decades of military failure have not changed U.S. policy only strengthened our idiotic resolve. Canada has decided to focus on domestic issues with the money saved. What a concept!

Too bad Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch don’t see things this way. They appear to have a military industrial complex.



Andreoli LTE in Seven Days on Rabbi Chasan and Clergy opposition to F-35

[Re “Mitzvot Accomplished,” October 14]: Your article on Rabbi Chasan and his leadership of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue mentioned the 2013 open letter to U.S. senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, in which Chasan and 15 other area clergy and religious leaders expressed concern over the proposed basing of the F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet in Vermont.

These spiritual leaders beseeched our political representatives to advocate on behalf of the thousands of Vermonters who will be negatively affected by the planned F-35 basing, especially middle- and low-income, minority, and refugee populations. They urged the politicians to use their influence to withdraw Burlington from this first selection process and wait until the next round of basing, by which time the F-35s would have developed a track record on their impact on safety, health and property values.

Sadly, the politicians did not listen and they refused to meet with the clergy or any of those who would be impacted by the basing!

Then in February 2015, Rabbi Chasan and 45 other religious leaders again contacted these representatives to ask for a delay in the basing. “Common sense would direct the placement of these planes to airports with far fewer people in the vicinity; far fewer children whose young ears would be blasted, their learning disrupted,” Chasan said.

And again they were ignored. Shame on our elected officials for refusing to even discuss the clergy’s concerns about the morality and the social justice impacts of the F-35 on the poor and marginalized.

My sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to Rabbi Chasan for repeatedly speaking out about this planned injustice to our residential communities.

Eileen Andreoli

F-35 Update from Colonel Greco (July 2015)

F-35 UPDATE:  Help crossing the finish line

Dear F-35 activists,

I’m writing to ask your help in crossing the finish line and completing the job many of you started back in 2010 opposing the basing of the F-35A in the midst of our residential communities.  We have been phenomenally successful, and the end of our struggle is almost in sight.

While we were unable to convince our elected officials, we DID convince the U. S. Air Force.  They were about to choose another base, until Leahy forced them to select us.  It is deplorable that despite overwhelming evidence that basing the F-35A in the Burlington area will result in grave harm to the people living near the airport, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welsh favored the military-industrial-political complex over the people of Vermont!

So, we took legal action — perhaps not the course most of us would have chosen – but it was the only viable option available to us.  Fortunately, we have the highly respected lawyer Jim Dumont, who is working for us at a reduced rate.  Jim has developed strong arguments and strategies.  Our case is powerful, and we have a good chance of winning.  Let me explain why.

We have two ongoing lawsuits.  The first was filed against the City of Burlington for failing to have the F-35A basing reviewed under Vermont’s Act 250.  Our case was appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court, where the judges ruled against us.  But in an unprecedented move, one of the judges wrote a separate document saying (in lay-terms) that they sympathized with us; but had to rule against us, as they believe Federal government rights trump states rights, BUT that we have a good chance of winning a lawsuit if we sue under the Public Nuisance statute.  (See link below)

However, this loss was actually a win in that it gave us an incredible opportunity.

Jim Dumont was able to convince a prestigious Washington, DC legal firm, which specializes in arguing cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, to take our case – pro bonoWOW!  It is hard to over-emphasize the significance of this.  This firm routinely argues cases before the Supreme Court, and wins.  Their legal fees for a typical case are in the $350,000 range.

And, while it is astounding that they are going to handle our case pro bono, equally amazing is the fact that legal firms of this high caliber don’t take cases pro bono unless they think they can win the case.  DOUBLE WOW!   It gets even better.  Representing us before the U.S. Supreme Court is David Frederick — a former assistant U.S. Solicitor General, an expert in federal preemption law, and someone who has tried over 40 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He will be assisted by a team of lawyers at the Supreme Court Clinic of the University of Texas Law School. Each of these lawyers has served as a clerk to a U.S. Supreme Court justice.  To say the least, this represents an unusually high level of experience and expertise in matters before the Supreme Court.

Our second lawsuit against the Air Force is ongoing.  Jim identified nine counts in which the Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement violated requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  We expect the judge to rule on our case later this year.  And, our success in getting the City of Winooski to join the lawsuit against the Air Force will definitely help.

And, we’ve had more than just legal successes.  A few months ago, over 45 members of our local clergy signed a letter and about 20 of them held a press conference, urging our elected officials to re-think their support for the F-35A basing.

But, wait… there’s morewe received more national media attention.  In January, Al Jazeera America came to Burlington to cover our story, and they broadcast it on their “America Tonight” show on 14 May.  “America Tonight” is a half-hour news program like 60 Minutes, during which they report on two or three stories.  Our story led the broadcast, and took up half of the show that night.  (See link below)

All of this looks very promising…and the end is in sight.  You have done so much with your voices and letters and demonstrations.  But, the time for that is over.  What we need now is money.

To date we have raised over $75,000 in donations from a lot of individuals of modest means.  Your generosity has allowed us to pay all of our bills and legal fees.  Jim estimates that his costs for the rest of this year are between $25,000 and $35,000 depending on whether the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear our case.

In order to complete what we have started, and win this struggle for justice in our community, we need your donations now.  If you are able, please increase the amount you have given in the past.  And, remember donations are tax deductible Donate at   Or send a check made out to “Stop the F-35” to  The Peace and Justice Center, 60 Lake St, #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.

Victory is in front of us.  We are approaching the finish line.  Your dollars can help us cross it.  Let’s stop the F-35 FOR GOOD!

Colonel Rosanne M. Greco, USAF (retired)

Link to the Al Jazeera America report:

Vermont’s opposition to the F 35 reported on by international news company, Al Jazeera America

by Sheila MacVicar
May 15, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. – After years of delays and busted budgets, America’s most expensive weapons system – the F-35 fighter jet – is starting its service.

With its stealthy design and millions of lines of computer code that act as a kind of artificial intelligence, it’s being hailed as the future of combat aviation.

But many Burlington residents don’t see the jet as the future of defense. Instead, they see it as an imminent danger to their safety. The Vermont Air National Guard, based at Burlington International Airport, will be the first unit in the country to get the plane, replacing its aging F-16s. It’s scheduled to receive 18 of the fighter jets by 2020.

[Full Article]

Stop the F-35 Coalition on Vermont Edition: F-35 Landing In Burlington. Now What?

Rather than ending the debate, the decision may just change the discussion. Supporters and opponents of the decisions will weigh in on the Air Force’s choice.

Listen to full show at

Let’s Make History on the 28th! All Out For the City Council Meeting to Stop the F-35

Stop the F-35 Basing

The Law is on Our Side

Let’s Make History on the 28th!


WHAT:          Burlington City Council Public Hearing and Vote on Prohibiting the   F-35 Basing

WHEN:          Monday, October 28. Come early for the “People Before Planes” rally at 5:15. 

                            Public hearing begins at 6:00.

WHERE:        Burlington City Hall, corner of Church and Main

WHY:            This is one of the most significant local decisions of a generation


On Monday, October 28, the Burlington City Council will vote on a binding resolution (amended and strengthened based on the recent City Attorney’s legal opinion) to bar the basing of the F-35.

See Resolution to Bar Basing Approved by City Attorney

This is our best chance to stop the basing.

The Stop the F-35 Coalition will hold a rally for People and the Planet Before Planes at 5:15 pm

The public hearing on the resolution begins at 6:00 pm at Burlington City Hall.

A large attendance of people opposed to the F-35 basing from Burlington, Chittenden County, and beyond is essential and will make a difference. We expect a close vote. Bring friends, neighbors, and anyone else you can to stand up for priorities that put people before boondoggle warplanes.

Contact Burlington City Councilors now Ask the City Council to vote for the resolution to bar the basing and oppose sacrificing over 8,000 residents in airport neighborhoods.

Please go to for more information.

New Tactic To Restrict F-35 Gets City Attorney Approval

After reviewing the language, Blackwood said “I don’t see any legal impediment for them to pass that.”
VPR News
Wed October 23, 2013

New Tactic To Restrict F-35 Gets City Attorney Approval



A new proposal by Progressives on Burlington’s city council could effectively block the F-35, opponents say.

The resolution, crafted by Councilor Vince Brennan with input from F-35 opposition attorney Jim Dumont and City Attorney Eileen Blackwood, calls on Burlington International Airport director Gene Richards to develop noise and safety standards for the airport.

The resolution (seen here with Blackwood’s markups, which Brennan said he had no problems with) says the new standards must establish that “except for grandfathered uses, no commercial or government airplane using the airport shall have noise impacts from its routine use as measured by the federally recognized DNL noise impact measurement method that significantly exceed present noise levels at the airport. Including any significant expansion of the land area or number of residences within the 65 db or 75 db DNL day-night averages.”

Full article:


Pierre Sprey report–Facts about the safety of F-35 Basing in Burlington


Pierre Sprey is an internationally recognized expert on military aircraft and critic of the F-35. He was in Burlington on October 22, 2013.

                                                                                                Pierre Sprey   

Download full report here:  Pierre Sprey report–Facts about the safety of F-35 Basing in Burlington-1


  1. 1.    All new fighters have high accident rates, much higher than mature fighters and much, much higher than scheduled airliners.
  2. 2.    Basing a new fighter with significantly less than 1 million fleet hours of safety experience in an urban area is likely to expose the residents to accident probabilities that are irresponsibly high.




The F-16 at 100,000 fleet hours had a cumulative major accident rate (i.e., officially termed Class A Mishap Rate) of 17 per 100,000 hours. By 1 million hours (almost exactly the point when F-16s started operating from Burlington) its cumulative rate was down to 7 and the current cumulative rate at 12,000,000 fleet hours is 3.55. (Note that the current F-16 fleet major accident rate, that is, the non-cumulative rate, is actually running about 1.59, as averaged over the last 5 years).


Statistically speaking, there is not much point in looking at the accident rates of fighters with less than 100,000 fleet hours, simply because with such small accident sample sizes, the estimated rates bounce around too much, rendering the estimates too uncertain to be useful.


Thus, with only 4500 cumulative fleet hours for the F-35A (10,000 hours for all three variants), no useful direct estimate of the F-35A accident rate can be projected. Note that only F-35A fleet hours are germane to estimating the accident probabilities for Burlington; the accident experience of the F-35B and C is irrelevant because they only have 20{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} commonality with the F-35A. The fact that, so far, the F-35A has had zero Class A Mishaps is certainly commendable but uninformative. And the zero major accident score is certainly offset by having more early fleet-wide groundings to cure safety problems than any other fighter of the last 50 years.



The Air Force’s EIS agrees that the F-35 accident rate can’t be directly estimated because of the fighter’s newness.  Reasoning by analogy, the USAF does go on to say that the F-35 major accident rate may be similar to that of the F-22 because the size and technology are roughly comparable. This reasoning overlooks two relevant facts, both of which would increase the likely accident rate relative to the F-22. First, the F-35 has only one engine while the F-22 has two. Second, the F-35 flight computer, weapons system, cockpit/helmet display, control system, and cooling system are significantly more complex than the F-22 (for instance, 9 million lines of computer code versus 1.7 million for the F-22).


The F-22 cumulative accident rate, whether germane or not, is now running at about 7.34 major accidents per 100,000 hours with a fleet total of about 130,000 hours. At 16 years since first flight, these fleet total hours are remarkably low (at 16 years after first flight, the F-16 had 4 million hours). The F-35A will have similarly low total hours by 2020 for similar reasons: first, because both airplanes are so complex, they spend so much time in maintenance that they fly less than 12 hours per month; secondly, both are so expensive that the DoD budget can only afford to produce them at a slow rate (20 per year maximum for the F-22 at 11 years after first flight and only19 F-35As per year for the USAF out through at least 2014, with probably no production increase for 3 years longer under sequestration).


From the point of view of Burlington area residents, the real issue is the probability of a major accident in any given year. That, of course, depends on the fighter’s actual accident rate and how often it flies per year.


The current VtANG F-16s fly 2550 sorties per year (same as 5100 flight operations/yr) from Burlington at 1.3 hours per sortie and have a current (not cumulative) major fleetwide accident rate of 1.59 per 100,00 hours over the last 5 years. That yields a .051 probability of at least one major accident per year (Poisson probability calculation)—or roughly 1 accident every 20 years.


Just as an illustrative comparison, a guesstimate for the F-35A accident rate could assign it the same major accident rate as the F-16, since the F-16 is the single engine fighter that is closest in size and performance to the F-35.  When it came to Burlington in early1986 with 1 million hours of worldwide fleet flight time, the F-16 non-cumulative rate was about 7 per 100,000 hours, based on accidents experienced during the next million worldwide flight hours.  Assuming this rate for the F-35A and with the F-35A flying 2250 sorties per year (according to the USAF’s EIS Scenario 1) and about 1.54 hours per sortie (current average), the probability of at least one major accident per year would be .215—or nearly one accident every 4 years.


For scheduled airliners (no smaller than 10 passengers), the official NTSB Major + Serious accident rate (the rough equivalent of the military Class A Mishap) is .1217 accidents per 1 million hours over the last 5 years reported (2007 to 2011), about 132 times less than the F-16 hourly rate. These scheduled airliners flew 5681 flights (landing + departure) out of Burlington in 2012, averaging 1.53 hours per flight. That yields a .0011 probability of a major accident in a year—or roughly 1 accident every 945 years.


There are, of course, large numbers of flights out of Burlington by much smaller airplanes: air taxis (most of them well under 9 seats) flew 8862 flights (landing + takeoff) and private airplanes (most under 4 seats) flew 18522 flights in 2012, according to Sky Vector. These smaller planes need to be considered separately because their major accidents represent far less of an urban area disaster potential than the much larger scheduled airliners or fighters. Just to give a rough indication of accident likelihood for these smaller aircraft, the air taxi accident rate per flying hour is about 8 times that of scheduled airliners, so air taxis would still have a considerably lower major accident probability than F-16 fighters. Small private airplanes, however, have an accident rate about 40 times greater than scheduled airliners and fly 8 times as many flights out of Burlington, so their accident probability would significantly exceed that of the F-16s.




3. The VtANG claims that by 2020 the F-35 fleet will have accumulated 750,000 hours of safety experience and that will be adequate maturity to a) provide a good estimate of the fighter’s accident rate and b) ensure acceptably safe accident probabilities for basing in Burlington. Statistically speaking, 750,000 fleet hours is marginally adequate for purpose a). Purpose b) would be served if and only if the F-35A fleet demonstrated less than 10 Class A Mishaps in the interval between 250,000 and 750,000 hours.  


4. The arithmetic that led to the claim of 750,000 F-35 fleet hours by 2020 is wildly in error. In truth, a decision to base F-35As in Burlington in 2020 would be exposing the Burlington area to a fighter with only about 90,000 to 110,000 fleet hours of safety experience.






Given that current F-16 operations in Burlington are exposing the area to a Class A Mishap risk of about 1 every 20 years, it would be hard to argue that it is acceptable for a new F-35 fighter to significantly increase that risk, say by a factor of 2 or 3 or more—most particularly if that new fighter also adds the risk of a major toxicity disaster to any crash in a residential area (as will be discussed below).  The success of the F-16 basing in Burlington—arriving with 1 million hours of fleet experience and demonstrating steady and satisfying accident rate reductions thereafter—sets a convincing precedent for a conservative approach to the fleet hours needed to estimate and mitigate the risk to area residents. Thus, 750,000 hours of fleet experience is marginally acceptable.


To keep the risk of the new F-35A fighter close to the 1.59 accident rate of the currently flying F-16s means that the new fighter needs to demonstrate less than 2 Class A Mishaps per 100,000 hours during an adequately long period before the date the F-35 is to be based in Burlington. From a statistical viewpoint, a sample of 10 accidents is barely acceptable for forming an adequately accurate estimate of the true accident rate. Thus, to ensure with adequate confidence an accident rate of no more than 2 per 100,000, it is essential to set a threshold of no more than 10 F-35A accidents in the 500,000 hours before the decision date for basing in Burlington.


With regards to correctly estimating the number of F-35 fleet hours accumulated by 2020, the arithmetic is quite simple. Our starting point is the 10,000 hours reported this October 13 by Lockheed for all three variants; the F-35A comprises 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the 63 F-35A/B/Cs flying in October and about 45{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the hours or 4500 hours. For those in-service 27 F-35As–plus for every newly produced F-35A delivered thereafter–we calculate that 10 hours per month (present fleet average) gets added to the 4500 hour starting point. The delivery schedule is fixed out to 2017 by the existing LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production) contracts. LRIP-5 delivers 22 F-35As (includes export planes) by second quarter 2014, LRIP-6 delivers 23 by second quarter 2015, LRIP-7 delivers 24 by 2Q 2016 and LRIP-8 delivers 21 by 2Q 2017 (these deliveries may well get cut back by the exigencies of sequestration). For our arithmetic, we assume a slight increase to 25 F-35As per year for the following years, 2018, 2019 and 2020 (even this slight increase may not materialize due to continuing budget pressures and large competing programs in USAF procurement plans). The total F-35A fleet hours by second quarter 2020 therefore total 89,460 hours. Should the monthly F-35 hours improve to 12, the 2020 total would be 107,352 hours. Note that only a quarter of the factor of 8 error in the 750,000 hour calculation is due to the VtANG’s mistake of counting all three F-35 variants as providing relevant accident experience.




5.  All largely composite-based  (that is, laminated plastic and carbon fiber cloth) aircraft—whether new generation airliners or fighters—release large volumes of extremely toxic gases and fibers when the flammable plastic burns unextinguishably in a crash. These gases and fibers can blanket an entire neighborhood or can touch down in “hot spots” as far away as 10 to 50 miles, depending on atmospheric conditions.  




There is a large and growing body of research and technical papers on the fire dangers of composite airplanes, authored by engineers, toxicologists, chemists and combustion scientists. Based on both laboratory experiments plus the real world experience of the 2013 Dreamliner fire in London and the disastrous 2008 B-2 crash on Guam (which burned for two days despite massive fire fighting efforts), there is direct evidence of the flammability of composite fuselages and wings, and of the dangerous toxicity of the clouds of resulting combustion products.


The aircraft that pose this new crash danger are the latest generation airliners (Boeing 787 and Airbus A350) and military aircraft (F-22, F-35, B-2 and almost all current drones), all with 30{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} to 60{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} or more of composite structure. Many older planes (F-16, F-18) have small composite parts—wing and tail tips, fairings and housings–comprising 2{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} to 5{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the structure; these planes are not at issue here.


The composite fire problem is simple: the plastic adhesives that glue the carbon fiber cloth layers together (mostly related to epoxies or polyurethanes), unlike aluminum structure, can be ignited at well below the temperature of burning fuel. And once ignited, the inner layers continue to smolder (sometimes for 24 to 48 hours) even after firefighters have extinguished the external fires. Epoxies and polyurethanes and their solvents are high on OSHA’s list of dangerously toxic industrial chemicals, even at room temperature; after burning, the combustion products of these same chemicals can become significantly more toxic and corrosive to the lungs and other organs, as well as more carcinogenic. A further risk comes from the clouds of tiny carbon fibers, breathable like asbestosis fibers and laden with adsorbed toxic combustion products.


Viewing a video of any crashed airliner or military aircraft burning immediately establishes that there are towering clouds of smoke from the burning fuel that can easily blanket dozens or even hundreds of blocks of residential neighborhoods—particularly in still weather or, even worse, during an inversion. Then consider the effect of mixing in the toxic fumes of 12,300 pounds of burnt F-35 plastic composites (42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the 29,300 pound empty weight of the F-35 is composites). Just the prompt evacuation problem for residents downwind of such a crash is a nightmare, not to mention the subsequent disastrous load on local medical facilities.


Less obvious is the problem of  “hot spots”; these are touchdowns of the crash site’s smoke plume that create locally toxic concentrations many, many miles downwind. Such hot spots have been widely observed in situations as diverse as toxic releases from incinerators or smelters, radioactive plumes from Fukushima and toxic smoke from the Twin Towers of 9/11.


At this early point in the history of composite aircraft crashes, the health consequences for people exposed to these toxic gases and fibers are, needless to say, poorly understood or quantified. But the OSHA and toxicological literature do establish some rough safety thresholds for some of the toxins involved, with respect to effects such as pulmonary tissue damage, neurotoxicity and cognitive dysfunction, liver damage, asthmatic crises, kidney damage and/or carcinogenicity.




6. All stealth coatings are highly toxic during manufacture and even more so when they burn, much more so than the already dangerous toxicity of standard composite fires.





There is a long history, dating back to before 1988, of stealth production line workers sickened and sometimes permanently disabled after breathing the toxic fumes of assembly line stealth materials. Some of this history is documented in dozens of lawsuits brought by afflicted workers, most of them unsuccessful because the defendant companies and government agencies invoked national security classification to withhold evidence. The 1980s open pit burning of failed F-117 stealth coating panels at the then-secret Area 51 airbase in Nevada killed two of the pit workers and permanently disabled at least five more who were working at the pits or downwind. This turned into a high profile lawsuit that won a favorable federal court ruling, ultimately blocked by a secrecy directive issued by President Clinton.


After the disastrous F-117 experience, the USAF started taking somewhat more responsible health precautions for mechanics repairing B-2 and, subsequently, F-22 coatings. Stealth aircraft manufacturers, however, varied greatly in taking responsible precautions. According to whistleblowers working there, Lockheed was notably irresponsible in exposing F-22 workers, engineers and even office workers to alarmingly toxic fumes from stealth constituents.   As is to be expected, the exact toxic constituents are kept secret by high classification levels. However, it is known that di-isocyanates  and mercury at particularly dangerous levels were involved in the F-22 stealth coatings. Di-isocyanates are one of the most important OSHA listed toxins in the plastics and fiberglass industries, with known long term pulmonary, asthmatic and neurotoxic/cognitive function effects at concentrations so minute that their usually acrid odor can’t even be detected. The F-35 uses yet another generation of stealth coatings, different than the F-22 but known to be very toxic—even though, once again, the constituents are classified.


The classification/secrecy problem, in itself, considerably increases the already seriously elevated risks and health consequences of a crash involving the F-35’s stealth coatings. Doctors treating people exposed to known toxins from an unclassified aircraft crash can focus on therapies for specific chemical pathways, particularly as toxicological and medical research in this area continues to make progress. But when a classified aircraft crashes, the doctor is denied knowledge of the toxins released and thus can only treat victims with generic, all-purpose therapies.


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See video:{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}7Cvideo


I have to say, I have grown weary of being on the other end of the “that jet noise is the sound of freedom” argument every time I express my concern over the basing of the F-35 here in Burlington.
It is not the sound of freedom. Freedom is a concept, an intellectual construct, and it has no sound. Saying that it is the sound of freedom is a way to make dissenters like myself look unpatriotic and as if we do not care about those who choose to serve in our armed forces. I love the United States and I have the highest respect for those who choose to put themselves on the firing line. I also don’t want the F-35 roaring over my community with any regularity.
The F-35 is louder than the F-16. The Air Force does not dispute this fact. This is from an article on VT Digger:
“The Green Ribbons postcards [in favor of basing the F-35 here] state that the F-35 will create noise levels similar to the current F-16, that there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year, and there will be no health effects on citizens.
The Air Force responded that while this comment will be noted in the decision-making process, the content is proven false by the EIS. The Air Force’s response states that the F-35s are projected to create more noise than the F-16s, and that there would be fewer operations only if 18 F-35 jets were based in Burlington.”
Anyone who says that the F-16’s don’t fly everyday, or thinks that it’s only noisy for 6 minutes a day clearly doesn’t spend enough time in the flight paths of these jets. I work in Williston, directly in flight path of the F-16 squadrons when they take-off and land. It is consistent; at least two jets, usually four, spaced about 30 seconds apart, and it happens about three or four times a day, during the work week. The sound is totally overwhelming. If you are having a conversation, even inside, you have to stop and wait until the jets are far enough way. It is frustrating and intrusive. Each squadron, coming and going, eats up about 5 minutes per take-off or landing. That is my experience.
The idea that this noise would get louder is hard to imagine. My co-worker jokes when the F-16’s go overhead, that “these are the quiet ones.” Sure, we also hear the commercial air traffic going overhead; however, the noise and disruption of the non-military aircraft produces is nowhere near that of the fighter jets. It’s comparable to the noise of being near a busy roadway.
So, let me say this: Stop with the sound of freedom nonsense. I support our troops. My father is an Air Force veteran. This is not about the quality of the job they do or making sure they have the best equipment. To imply that I don’t support our service men and women is inaccurate and mean spirited. This is about quality of life and whether or not this particular jet belongs in the heart of Vermont’s most populated and prosperous county. This is a highly populated area. It’s too loud for this area and has too unproven a safety record for this area. This jet does not have to be based here. It can be deployed in an area that is not as densely populated as Chittenden County.
There are other ways to support our troops and the VTANG without bringing in the F-35.
If we must assign a sound to freedom, I would like to see more sounds on the list than only those generated by combat vehicles.

Cohen: The Myth of Mitigation


The Free Press’ September 28 editorial on the F-35 – which essentially said, learn to live with it— plays into the disinformation campaign that has been waged by politicians and the GBIC.

They consistently talk about “mitigating” the dangers to our area from basing this fighter-bomber in a densely populated neighborhood.

But the whole problem is that the dangers cannot be mitigated. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.

The reason why the Air Force states that 8,000 people will end up living in a zone that is “incompatible for residential use” is because mitigation is impossible. That’s why they conclude, “land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative.”

The fact that intense noise blasts from existing F-16s cannot be mitigated is the reason why many homes near the airport are now vacant. The noise blast from F-35’s will be 3 to 4 times louder.

Not one of the politicians or the GBIC has offered any facts to dispute the harm to residents that is detailed in both the Air Force and World Health Organization reports. They have chosen to stonewall and refuse to meet with residents in the area.

But extreme noise blasts are not the only problem. Newly designed fighter jets have a very high crash rate during the first years after they become operational. The Air Force has confirmed this.

That’s why a newly designed fighter-bomber has never before been based at a residential airport such as Burlington’s. They have always been based at military bases in remote areas until the bugs have been worked out.

The F-35 is particularly problematic should a crash occur because it is loaded with 18,000 pounds of fuel and is made from highly flammable composite materials–42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} by weight–that emit very toxic fumes and fibers when burned. Moreover, the fire produced from composite materials is far different from fire from a burning metal aircraft.

As the Boston Globe reported, Burlington would not have been selected were it not for political pressure from Senator Leahy. He has stated that he believes it is an honor for the Vermont Guard to be the first recipient of the new Joint Strike Fighter.

I support and respect the men and women in the Guard. However, if being the first to have this plane is an honor, it is one that dishonors the people who live near the airport. This is not being a good neighbor. This is not something whose dangers and noise can be “mitigated”. And it’s a strange kind of honor that seeks to have Vermont be the first base for a botched fighter-bomber that Senator John McCain has called “one of the great national scandals.”

I don’t know if it’s a developer’s bonanza, or honor, or pride, or politics that has caused Leahy/Sanders/Welch/Shumlin/Weinberger to act in lockstep, but I am actually shocked at their callousness in failing to protect the children and adults that will be harmed physically, cognitively, and financially.

The Air Force will not be liable for all of these damages, and neither will the politicians. The City of Burlington will be left holding the bag.

As the landlord of the airport, the City of Burlington has the right to prevent its tenant, the Air Force, from basing F-35s on the City’s property. On October 7, the Burlington City Council has the opportunity, the responsibility, and the obligation to act on a resolution to protect the health and welfare of the citizens living near its airport. May they act in a spirit of care and compassion and reason.

–Ben Cohen, Burlington

Greco: A Letter to Vermont’s Congressional Delegation on the F-35

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rosanne Greco, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who is now a member of the South Burlington City Council.

Dear Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Welch,

For years, people have been asking you to meet with those who will live in the noise zone of the F-35A, and who have grave concerns about its impact on their lives. Most of us are trying to understand why such caring, social justice-minded men, such as yourselves, are acting so out of character by supporting the basing of the F-35A in our neighborhoods; and why you refuse to meet with us. It is baffling to many to think that you would choose the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about, over the health and financial well-being of thousands of average Vermonters.

People are guessing at reasons for your position. Here are some of them:

Assumption 1: You don’t know the facts, since your statements contradict what the Air Force has stated unequivocally.

Read full article

Residents Speak Out to Stop the F-35 Warplane Basing in Burlington

In coming months the Burlington City Council will be deciding whether to authorize the basing of the F-35 warplane at its airport. The basing of this super loud plane would be in the middle of Vermont’s most populated and diverse residential community. Residents asked the City Council to take action at this August 2013 meeting.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.20.52 AM

WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate: F-35 Opponents Take Message To The Street

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

WPTZ-TV reporter, Vanessa Misciagna, reports “hundreds march against the (F-35) fighter jet” (today in a Rally held at Burlington City Hall aimed at Mayor Miro Weinberger. The protestors then marched down Main Street to Congressman Peter Welch’s office, back up Main Street to Senator Patrick Leahy’s office, and down Church Street to Senator Bernie Sanders office before concluding back at City Hall).

Click here to watch Ms. Misciagna’s complete video report here.

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: Protesters rally in Burlington against the basing of F-35s


Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Matt Ryan, reports, “The rally began with a collective booing of Vermont’s congressional delegation, Burlington’s mayor and the South Burlington City Council, who have all voiced support for the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport. When a woman in the crowd shouted out, “And Shumlin!” the protesters proceeded to also boo Gov. Peter Shumlin.

They also cheered for the Winooski City Council, which voted unanimously Friday to ask the Air Force to remove the South Burlington airport from a first-round list of basing options for a fleet of F-35s.”

Please click here to read Mr. Ryan’s complete 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!


BFP: Winooski City Council finalizes vote against F-35 basing


Friday, July 12th, 2013

Winooski VT

Burlington Free Press journalist, Joel Banner Baird, reports from tonights Winooski City Council meeting that, “The Winooski City Council voted 5-0 Friday evening to ask the Air Force to remove the South Burlington airport from its first-round list to base a fleet of F-35 fighter jets.

The council’s decision — finalized after meetings Monday and Wednesday nights — does not preclude the possibility of basing F-35s in the future, but rejects basing the aircraft at this time. Winooksi Mayor Michael O’Brien also said that he would vote against basing F-35s while the issue is still debated.”

Click here to read Mr. Baird’s entire article here.

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!


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!

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!

stop the F-35 documentary Movie excerpt: Vermont F-35 Sound Demonstration

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Burlington VT

Film documentarian, Corey Hendrickson, released this short 3 minute 12 second excerpt which details the recent F-35 Sound Demonstration directed at Burlington Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin respective offices in Vermont’s largest city and the state capitol.

Click here to watch the video excerpt.

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!

The Worker’s Center Video: People Before Planes Stop The F-35 Warplanes

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

The People’s Media Project based in Vermont produced a 9 minute 24 second video for the Vermont Worker’s Center which has just been released for public viewing.

Please click here to watch the entire video:

The producers say, “For over 40 years, the US Air Force has based the F16 planes at the US national guard station at the Burlington airport in South Burlington, VT. The Burlington airport is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, with many families and low income people living in the area.

Five years ago, the air force modified the way the F 16 planes took off, dramatically increasing the noise levels. As a result, many residents surrounding the airport could no longer live in their homes. Through a federal program, 200 homes in South Burlington have been bought and families moved out. These homes now sit vacant.

Now there is a proposal for the Air Force to base the F35 at the Burlington airport. The F 35 is a new warplane under development that would be up to 4 times as loud as the F16s. Basing the F 35s at the Burlington airport would result in 7,700 people living in an area that the Air Force deems not suitable for residential use” In addition, residents in Winooski and Williston would live in the crash zone for the F35.

Millions of dollars from corporate developers and business groups have been spent to bring the F-35’s to Burlington. These developers are interested in expanding the airport and building hotels and other commercial properties. This will be much easier when thousands of working class people are forced to leave their homes because of the impacts of the F 35s.

This is the story of everyday people organizing to stop the F 35s, and demanding that their elected representatives put people before planes and corporate interests.”

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!


Vermont Commons: Citizens’ Hearing on F-35 draws hundreds

Citizens Hearing (Burlington, Dylan Kelley, 2013)011-420x280

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Burlington VT

(sorry folks I missed this earlier but very well crafted article by journalist Dylan Kelley)

Vermont Commons Dylan Kelley reports on the recent Citizens’ Hearing held to a capacity crowd at Burlington’s Unitarian Universalist Church (atop Church Street) on May 30th, 2013.

Click here for the complete article.

An excerpt: “Most compelling of the speakers on Friday evening was “Gramma” Carmine Sargent, a resident of the South Burlington and emerging leader of the growing movement to stop the expensive aircraft so near to affected communities. “There could’ve been a better way to do this” said Carmine as she acknowledged the false logic of the aircraft’s property de-valuing affect in a region already stressed by low housing availability and homelessness. Emotionally recalling the slow decline of her neighborhood on the 41st anniversary of moving into her home, Carmine recalled the feeling of a community hollowed out “I felt like my little area of the world became little Detroit. I felt like I was a bystander in my own life. The F-35 feels like the final act of bringing the wrecking ball to our neighborhood: Our homes are our greatest assets, we deserve a say in what happens.” In closing, Sargent set a new bar for both the tone of the movement to oppose the F-35 as well as those passionately taking stances on other issues around the Green Mountain State, underscoring the point of the growing movement was not about being anti-military or anti-development, but pro-community: “It’s time to talk about what we’re for, not just what we’re against” she said, drawing enormous cheers and a standing ovation from the packed sanctuary of the U.U.”

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!

Correcting a postcard…


Fox 44-TV ABC Affiliate: F-35 Protestors Play Sound in Downtown Burlington


Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

Fox 44 Journalist Kristen Tripodi reports, “Protestors with the group Stop the F-35 say they amplified the sound to 115 decibels; the sound level they say an F-35 would create flying one thousand feet overhead.

“There’s no way this is compatible with residential use,” said Richard Joseph, with Stop the F-35.

An issue the Vermont Air Guard has repeatedly addressed; stressing the planes can be flown in a way that minimizes noise.

But protestors say the issue is the day- after day exposure.

“It is the six minutes a day of all these planes taking off all the time. Four days a week at the minimum, 260 days a year that is the cumulative effect, that’s what we need to focus on,” said Chris Hurd, with Stop the F-35.

After the sound was played for six minutes, David Harrison who lives across the street from the demonstration was upset with the disruption.

“The walls were shaking; the pictures were shaking on the walls. I had dishes rattling. But isn’t it the same thing happening with the F-16s?,” ask Harrison. Protestors answered: “Yes, yes it is.”

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

Marine Corps Times: Vermont F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise at Vermont Governor’s Office in Montpelier

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Washington DC

In this report, Chris Hurd, organizer and member of the Stop The F-35 Coalition says,“Part of the role of government is to protect the people,” Hurd told Gov. Shumlin’s Secretary of Administration, Jeb Spaulding, “and therefore the government should prove the planes put nobody in harm’s way, including children.”

“Why doesn’t the (Vermont) governor come out and vet this entire process?” Hurd said.

Please 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

Politico: Vermonters Fight F-35 Noise With Noise

Wednesday June 26th, 2013

Washington DC

Politico reports: INDUSTRY INTEL — VERMONTERS FIGHT F-35 NOISE WITH NOISE: Some residents from South Burlington, Vt., are banding together to fight the possibility of the F-35 Lighting II being based in their backyard. Despite support from Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders for the plan to replace an F-16 plant with the fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighters, the South Burlingtonians complain the aircraft will be too loud.

Later today, the group will simulate how much noise the F-35s could make in a demonstration at the South Burlington airport, according to an event invitation circulated by Winslow Wheeler of the Project on Government Oversight. “We don’t want to do this, and we apologize upfront to all Vermonters,” the email says. “Unfortunately, we are forced into doing this demonstration so that you can hear for yourself with 2,200 pounds of extremely sophisticated audio equipment the actual colossal noise generated by an F-35 and so minimized by all our Vermont political, business and military leaders.”

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

WCAX-TV CBS Affiliate Video: F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise at City Hall in Burlington Vermont

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Burlington, VT

WCAX-TV Journalist, Kyle Midura, reports “Burlington residents heard a sample of what people living near the airport may hear if the Vermont National Guard lands the military’s newest fighter plane.

Click here for the full video.

Opponents of the plane blasted recordings of the F-35 for six minutes in downtown Burlington Tuesday morning. They say they set the volume at a level consistent with the level in the Air Force’s environmental impact statement.

Organizers of the event say they want to put things into perspective for those outside the flight path. But not everyone agrees.

“Those folks– this is what they experience right now, with the F-35s coming here. That noise contour will expand to 3,400 that will experience what that gentleman just experienced,” said Chris Hurd, who opposes the F-35.

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


WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate Video: F-35 Opponents Sound Off Against Plane – This Time Literally

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Burlington and Montpelier VT

Protestors publicly blast plane sound.

Journalist, Lauren Victory reports, “Members of the Stop the F-35 Coaliton gathered in Burlington’s City Hall Park around 11 a.m. and warned bystanders of a loud demonstration.

They then blared what they said is the recording of an F-35 taking off from a Texas facility. Some grimaced as close to 115 decibels played for six minutes. The group said it was were simulating what people will be exposed to if the F-35s are based in Burlington.

“You’re making so much noise, you’re vibrating the stuff on my walls,” said a very angry David Harrison. He lives across the street and wasn”t pleased with the presentation. “You wouldn’t appreciate if you had this going on at your house,” he said.

“Exactly, exactly! You’re absolutely right! Exactly our point! Thank you!” shouted the group of protestors.”

Click here for the entire story and video.

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

Associated Press: VT F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Their Noise at the Governor’s Office in Montpelier


Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Montpelier VT

Associated  Press journalist, Wilson Ring, interviewed a passerby during today’s F-35 sound/noise demonstration. “Cordelia McKusick, of Shelburne Falls, Mass., was walking by the Statehouse with a friend when they were drawn to the noise. She called it “intensive and disturbing. “It felt like there were airplanes coming,” McKusick said. “It’s just an incredible sound.”

Chris Hurd, a member of the Stop The F-35 Coalition that sponsored the event  said “the speaker system they used could only produce the 115 decibel level for those standing close to the speakers. The planes themselves would produce the 115 decibel level at 1,000 feet, he said.”

One of the opponents carried a sound meter that hit about 115 decibels, making it impossible to hear or speak when standing even about 100 feet in front of the speakers.

Please click here for the entire AP 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


BFP Article: Disturbing The Peace

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

Journalist, John Briggs, reports “F-35 opponents blast warplane sounds for six minutes in downtown Burlington, Montpelier; public officials don’t show up.”

Mr. Briggs adds, “Opponents mounted massive speakers on a trailer and cranked a recording of an F-35 taking off at Lockheed Martin facility in Dallas up to 115 decibels — the sound level generated by the F-35 at military power take-off, according to the Air Force’s Draft Environmental Impact Study.”

Click here to read Mr. Briggs’s article here.

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

WCAX-TV CBS Affiliate: VT F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise at City Hall Park

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist, Kyle Midura, reports, “Burlington residents heard a sample of what people living near the airport may hear if the Vermont National Guard lands the military’s newest fighter plane.” Mr. Midura further adds, “opponents of the plane blasted recordings of the F-35 for six minutes in downtown Burlington Tuesday morning. They say they set the volume at a level consistent with the level in the Air Force’s environmental impact statement.”

Click here to read his report and watch the video.

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


VPR Updated: F-35 Opponents Stage Audio Protest


Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Montpelier, VT

VPR Journalist, John Dillon, reports “opponents of basing the F-35 fighter jet at the Burlington airport cranked up the volume Tuesday in Montpelier and Burlington to give the public an audio preview of what they say the planes would sound like. Hurd said the sound would reach 115 decibels, what the jet would sound like on take off at about 1,000 feet away.”

Mr Dillon adds, “The supporters of the plane have maintained that six minutes a day is all that this is going to be, and it’s really minimizing what the situation is,” he said. “The impact on hearing is not a single event; it is a cumulative event, the World Health Organization has stated, and that the politicians seem to want to ignore. Today, for this demonstration we’re only going to do six minutes, six minutes a day, that’s all.”

Click here for the complete 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


VT Digger: Videos and Article as Activists Blast Montpelier with Sound of the F-35


Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Montpelier, VT

Journalist, Anne Galloway, reports that Chris Hurd, of Stop the F-35, a group that opposes the basing of the fighter jet at Burlington International Airport, played the roar of jet engines outside the Burlington mayor’s office and the governor’s office in Montpelier.

Hurd prefaced the demonstration with a short speech to reporters in which he castigated the state’s political leaders for refusing to meet with residents that would be in the flight path of the jet fighter.

“Let me first say we don’t want to do this and we apologize upfront to all Vermonters,” Hurd said in prepared remarks. “We don’t want to expose anyone to the staggering noise generated by an F-35 warplane. We don’t believe in it.

Please click here to see both videos and read Anne’s complete 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 Article & Video: F-35 Foes Amp Up Protest in City Hall Park

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports “Passers-by cringed and covered their ears as opponents of the F-35 staged a noisy demonstration in Burlington’s City Hall Park on Tuesday morning.”

It wasn’t the chanting and drum-banging typically heard at protests that was causing those within earshot to wince in pain. It was what organizers said was a replication of the roar the F-35 would produce over downtown Winooski at an altitude of 1000 feet after takeoff from the Vermont Air Guard base at Burlington International Airport.

“You’re making my walls vibrate!” a nearby resident complained to protest leader Chris Hurd at the conclusion of the six-minute-long blast of sound. David Harrison, who lives at 141 Main Street, told Hurd, “You’re disturbing businesses across the street.”

A couple of the F-35 opponents gathered for the media event responded in unison, “That’s exactly the point.”

Click here to read Kevin’s complete article and video.

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: Video of F-35 Opponents Bring the Noise to Downtown Burlington

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington VT

Videographer Tim Johnson of the Burlington Free Press brings you today’s F-35 Sound Simulation at City Hall in Burlington Vermont. Trying to simulate the 115 dB sound level they say the F-35 creates at takeoff, protesters pump jet noise through an array of speakers on Main Street by City Hall Tuesday morning.

Click here to view Tim’s video coverage.

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

Air Force Times: VT F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The Air Force Times, A Gannett Company, reports on F-35 sound/noise demonstration simulation at City Hall in Burlington Vermont and outside the Governor’s office in the state’s capital in Montpelier, VT.

Click here to read the 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

VTDigger: F-35 To Vastly Increase Crash Risk


Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Montpelier, VT

South Burlington Attorney, Jimmy Leas, states, “the much higher crash rate expectation for the F-35, if more clearly presented, obviously militates against a site like Burlington — with 1,400 homes in the crash zones — accepting the F-35 in the first basing round when anticipate crash risk is at its absolute highest level.”

Click her to read the 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

BFP: More Errors Found in the Recently Revised Environmental Impact Statement (REIS)

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist, John Briggs, reports that the revised Environmental Impact Statement released on May 30th, 2013 contains more errors.

The Air Force said that an updated “public comment response matrix and alphabetized list of public commenters” were not included in the updated print and CD versions of the reportreleased in May. Those versions were distributed across the country to “local libraries and citizens who asked to be placed on the mailing list at public meetings.”

“The response matrix allows recipients to view public comments made during the original public comment period,” the Air Force said.

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

Citizens’ Hearing #4

Citizens’ Hearing #3

Citizens’ Hearing #2

film excerpt: Ben Cohen interviewed about the F-35 and jobs. Ben says, “Every F-35 we build is taking jobs away”

Saturday June 15th, 2013

Burlington VT

Please watch this film excerpt from an upcoming documentary of Ben Cohen, entrepreneur, activist, and co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream explaining why the F-35 is bad for the country and bad for Vermont.

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!

wptz nbc affiliate reports: F-35 opponents receive blank scoring sheets from the United States Air Force

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Burlington VT

WPTZ-TV, our local NBC affiliate, is reporting that opponents request for scoring sheets comparing Burlington to 205 other basing sites around the country were denied under a Frredom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Opponents subsequently received the 205 scoring sheets but upon arrival all information was whited out.

And journalist, David Charns, further reports on deepening opposition emanating from 16 local religious leaders.

See Mr. Charns’s report here.

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!

Film Excerpt: Richard Joseph reports on Impacts of Sound Levels, Health & The F-35 Warplane basing at Burlington Vermont


Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Winooski VT

Please watch this film excerpt of Richard Joseph’s findings of the adverse health and sound level impacts of F-35 Warplanes being based in Burlington Vermont upon her citizens.

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 Letters To The Editor: “The Six Minute” Myth by Steve Allen

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Burlington VT

The ‘six minute’ myth

One of the most troubling examples of misinformation, repeated over and over by supporters of the F-35 basing, including Gov. Shumlin, is that it’s only “six minutes a day, four days a week.” This false and misleading statement is then used to demonstrate the impact of the F-35’s as a minor inconvenience.

Here are the facts. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) states that the basing would involve up to 7,296 operations per year, over 260 flying days. The damaging noise levels would be repeated up to 28 times every day the F-35s fly; during their operational schedule between 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

The EIS does not state that operations are “only six minutes a day, four days a week.” The excessive noise will be a repeated, aggravating presence because of both the frequency of operations and the much higher noise levels. How loud are the F-35s? Over three times louder than the F-16s.

On an equivalent decibel level, the noise produced by these jets is in the range of a jackhammer and a loud rock concert — noise levels so high that both the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration have policies that state that residential uses are “not compatible” in these zones.

An honest debate about the F-35s needs to be based on facts, not misinformation. Don’t accept the myth of “it’s just six minutes a day.”



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!

WPTZ: Chris Hurd and Ernie Pomerleau speak out on opposite sides of Andrew Cockburn’s article in Harper’s Magazine

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Burlington VT

NBC Affiliate WPTZ-TV journalist, David Charns, reports on the magnitude of today’s Harper’s Magazine article by Andrew Cockburn about the basing of the F-35 Warplanes in Burlington Vermont.

Watch the video feed here

A portion of the article reads, “The Air Force and the FAA later acknowledged that the consequent noise rendered nearby areas ‘unfit for residential use,’ which led to a federally funded program for the voluntary buyout and subsequent demolition of almost 200 homes beginning in 2008. The relevant properties were then eligible to be rezoned for commercial use — a most desirable development for such paragons of the local commercial real-estate fraternity as Ernie Pomerleau, president of Pomerleau Realty and uncle to the spouse of fifty-one years of Patrick Leahy.”

“How they connected the dots of Sen. Patrick Leahy and myself doing a thing about building at the airport? I’m actively involved at the airport,” Pomerleau said.

Pomerleau sits on the Airport’s Strategic Planning Commission.

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!

Video: The citizens’ hearing #1

Video of Reaction to F-35 Environmental Report

FOX44 – Burlington / Plattsburgh News, Weather

Way To Go BFP: Asks Tough Questions of Vermont Delegation, Governor and Burlington’s Mayor on F-35


Tuesday June 4th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Journalist, John Briggs reports that the Burlington Free Press has sent numerous detailed and specific questions to Senators Patrick Leahy, Bernard Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, and Burlington Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger emanating from a meeting with aviation designer Pierre Sprey, USAF Col. Rosanne Greco (ret.) and Chris Hurd and from Friday’s revised Air Force Environmental Impact Statement. The Free Press has specifically asked for individual responses from Vermont’s top political leadership rather than their unified joint comments with a June 12th deadline for responses.

We wholeheartedly applaud the journalists and leadership at the Burlington Free Press. This is a shining star example of the important role a FREE press plays in our democracy!

Click here to read the entire list of questions the Burlington Free Press sent to Vermont’s Political Elite Leadership all steadfast supporters for bringing the F-35’s to Vermont.

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!

Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence – Citizens’ Hearing Draws Hundreds

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Burlington Vermont

Several hundred citizens of Chittenden County gathered at Burlington’s Unitarian Universalist Church Thursday evening to conduct a “citizens hearing” and express their ever-increasing opposition to the coming arrival of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. From the moment of BTV’s selection as a home base for the new aircraft, citizens from nearby Burlington; South Burlington; Winooski; and others have been passionately and diligently organizing to prevent the arrival of the world’s most expensive weapons platform at the Vermont Air Guard headquarters of Burlington International Airport.

Read the article here.

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.

F-35 Opponents Cite Safety, Health and Environmental Concerns

May 29th, 2013

South Burlington, VT

An article by journalist John Herrick of Vermont Digger:

In a neighborhood dubbed, “Little Detroit” by a resident who lives there Vermont residents voiced their opposition to bringing next-generation Air Force fighter jets to South Burlington amid the rain and echo of passing F-16s Wednesday.

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.

North Country Public Radio: Hundreds Gather in Burlington to Protest Against Basing F-35 Warplanes

May 30th, 2013

North Country Public Radio reports that hundreds gather in Burlington to protest against basing F-35’s in Burlington Vermont.

Once in the article click on the “Listen To This Story” button.

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.

WPTZ Channel 5 NBC affiliate: Military Designer, Leahy Speak Out on The F-35 in Burlington VT

On May 30th, Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16 and A-10 Warplanes came to Burlington Vermont to speak at The F-35: A Citizens’ Hearing at the Unitarian Universalist Church at the top of Church Street to a packed house to the rafters.

Here is new footage from Channel 5

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.

VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb Interviews The Architect of the F-16 Warplane. Calls F-35 “A Combat Turkey”

On May 30th, 2013, Mitch Wertlieb of Vermont Public Radio’s Morning Edition interviewed Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16 and A-10 Warplanes to ask him his opinions based upon his expertise and experience about the F-35 which Mr. Sprey called “a combat turkey”.

Click on this link to open and then click the “listen” button.

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.

Pierre Sprey and USAF Col Rosanne Greco TV Interview at Center for Media and Democracy

On May 30th, 2013 F-16 co-designer Pierre Sprey visited Burlington Vermont to speak at The Citizens’ Hearing at the Unitarian Church along with USAF Col Rosanne Greco. This interview entitled, “The F-35 Jet – Dispelling the Myths with interviewer Matt Kelly.

Please watch this important video!

The F-35 Fighter Jet – Dispelling the Myths

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.

Chris Hurd’s F-35 TV Interview with Richard Kemp at The Center for Media & Democracy

Filmed on May 24th, 2013 in Burlington Vermont. Mr. Hurd discusses with Mr. Kemp F-35 Warplanes and their impact on the residents, neighborhoods, communities around Burlington Vermont, our economy and “fudging”.

Check out this TV show!

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.

Major Turnout For “The F-35: A Citizens’ Hearing” Last Thursday Night


Saturday, June 1st, 2013

With our political, business and military leaders having COMPLETELY IGNORED opposition force’s repeated requests for open, transparent public engagement and dialogue around the basing of F-35  warplanes capable of carrying nuclear weapons, we were forced to take matters into our own hands.

Before a packed house at the Unitarian Universalist Church atop Church Street in Burlington Vermont, citizens heard first hand accounts from a resident severely impacted by their neighborhoods being devastated and turned into what she calls “Little Detroit”. Citizens heard about the morality and serious community consequences of such recklessness from longtime Rabbi Joshua Chasan Rabbi of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington.

Please read the article that appeared the next day in the Burlington Free Press.

USAF Colonel Rosanne Greco spoke to veterans about the erosion of benefits and choices of hardware over people. She urged that we PUT PEOPLE  FIRST. PEOPLE BEFORE PLANES.

The keynote speaker, Pierre Sprey, is a co-designer of the F-16 warplane that is currently flying at the Burlington Airport. In addition, he co-designed the A-10 Warthog as well. Both of these planes are currently in the USAF arsenals. The F-16 widely regarded as a superior design, a pilot’s plane.

If you have questions or concerns or want to get involved go to our HOW CAN I HELP? section at this top of this page!! WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU AND WE WANT YOU TO GET INVOLVED RIGHT NOW! WE NEED YOU!


Near & Far: Chris Hurd – F-35 Opponent

Another petition to sign

Click here.


Downtown Winooski Map of Accident Potential Zones

Download and Share!

The Department of Defense (DoD) has brought lawsuits and threatened to move an air base due to development potentially infringing on “accident potential zones (APZ)” around an air base in Florida and one in Virginia. (Sources: and

In Chittenden County, about 1400 homes and many businesses are located in the APZ’s around Burlington International Airport (BTV).

The map below shows the military accident potential zones around BTV, depicted based on the May, 2011, DoD Directive. These same zones can be found in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for basing F-35 at BTV.

If you look at the map and included table, you’ll find that more than 1400 residential properties are located in the Accident Potential Zones (APZ) extending from the ends of the BTV runway into Burlington, Colchester, Williston, and Winooski. It should be noted that these properties represent a much larger number of “dwelling units” since many of them are multiple family buildings. In Winooski for instance, the 974 residential properties in the two APZ’s include about 2600 dwelling units.

The DoD says, “Areas immediately beyond the ends of runways possess a measurably higher potential for aircraft accidents. . . . residential development, educational facilities, and medical facilities are considered incompatible and are strongly discouraged in APZs.” In Winooski, St. Francis’s School is in APZ2, just outside APZ1. You can read the DoD directive and learn more about the restrictions on development which the DoD says should be in place at this link:

Around other military air bases, some localities have instituted zoning regulations and building codes to restrict development and formalize the DoD’s recommendations for compatible development prohibitions and noise reduction building requirements in APZ’s and high noise zones. The city of Beaufort, SC, is one example, as you can see at this link:

In addition it is U.S. Housing and Urban Development policy “not to provide assistance to projects and actions in Runway Protection, Accident Potential or Clear Zones.” Paradoxically, HUD also requires that people buying property with HUD funding sign an acknowledgment that they have been informed that the property is in an APZ. (Source:

Are aircraft crashes actual possibilities? The Vermont Air Guard has had two Class A crashes since 1965, one of them near Taft’s Corners where, horribly, a pilot and his navigator were killed, the other a “flameout landing” in New Jersey where the plane was destroyed. A Class A crash is one involving “total property damage of $2 million or more, total aircraft loss, or a fatality and/or permanent total disability.” (Draft EIS, p. BR4-44 and BR4-45)

Once again, it should be emphasized that these are the Department of Defense zones and compatible use recommendations.

Imagine 240 more families living right beneath the F-35s!

Feb 7th Resolution

F-35 opponents take their case to Vt. Legislature

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-
MONTPELIER, Vt. -At a Thursday morning press conference, Winooski Democrat Rep. George Cross announced he’s drawing up a resolution and a bill aimed at slowing the F-35’s possible arrival in Vermont. He had the backing of only a few legislators, but many faces familiar to the Burlington debate.

“We’re not asking that it never come to Burlington, we’re asking that we delay the decision,” Cross said.

The federal government considers Burlington a top option for staging its newest fighter jet. But Cross and others worry the plane’s arrival could bring exceedingly high noise levels and correlated health problems for the thousands living near the airport.

The draft resolution calls for more hearings and the removal of Burlington from the first round of Air Force consideration. The bill proposes creating an adverse impact compensation program composed of a fund to offset residents’ costs and a board to oversee payouts.

“The mechanics of just how the fund will work and where the money will come from have yet to be worked out,” Cross said.

In the draft, Cross floats the idea of fueling the fund with 20 percent of the guard’s state appropriation, and a $20 landing fee at Burlington International.

“I think it’s important to our guard and our economy that they are based here,” said Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington.

Wright says he hasn’t read the drafts yet, but generally supports the F-35’s arrival. He’s not alone either; Burlington’s mayor, the governor, and Vermont’s congressional delegation have all spoken in favor of the jet.

Cross concedes the measures likely won’t move beyond committee, but says the measures deserve a legislative dogfight.

Cross says he expects to finalize and submit his proposed resolution and bill by the end of the week or early next week.

Video: Bill Introduced to Delay Proposal

FOX44 – Burlington / Plattsburgh News, Weather

MONTPELIER, Vt. -The debate continues! Should south Burlington be home to the Air National Guard’s F-35 fighter jets?

As you know, we currently have F-16’s, that are four times quieter than F-35’s. Those opposed want the decision delayed.

What looks like a spec in the sky is creating a whole lot of noise on the ground. The two men who represent Winooski, a city in the flight path, also represent both sides of the argument. Representative George Cross is a member of the “Stop the F-35 Coalition.”

“There’s nothing in the air force draft environmental impact statement suggests that it’s a job creator,” State Representative Cross said.

Representative Clem Bissonnette supports the jets. “I was proud on 9-11 when our jets took off and protected the east coast,” Representative Bissonnette said.

Thursday, the “Stop the F-35 Coalition” asked that the decision to bring new models, the F-35’s be delayed until more is known about the health impacts. This is just the latest argument. Noise and property value have been debated in the past.

“The board of health has concluded that noise is associated with hearing loss, stress, sleep disturbance, heart attack, high blood pressure stroke and delayed reading comprehension,” Doctor John Reuwer said.

I asked Rep. Bissonnette, “what about the argument of cognitive development and hearing loss for children?” He said, “there are people who say that, there’s also studies out there that say just the opposite.”

It’s many of the homes near the airport that are of course in the direct flight path, one side says that you wouldn’t hear noise for more than six minutes a day, the other side says you could hear noise between one and two times each hour. What we do know for sure though is that the jets would not be able to fly between 10pm and 7am.

Representative Cross plans to present a bill asking the state to compensate people who would be impacted by the noise. Representative Bissonnette says there’s no money available.

A decision on whether or not to bring the F-35’s to South Burlington is expected within the next couple of months.

If it’s passed, the jets could be here as soon as 2018.

Just to remind you, the Air Force would first select the location, and then the state legislature would vote.

Burlington Board of Health F-35 Resolution

Click to download the pdf.


F-35 Resolution Press Conference

There is a press conference scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:00am in the Cedar Creek Room at the State House in Montpelier to publically present the F-35 resolution introduced by Representative George Cross and others. It is expected that Rosanne Grecco will address the press and answer questions. There will also be other speakers at the press conference. This is an opportunity to gain additional public support for the Stop the F-35 and Save Our Skies movement. Everyone is invited to attend, if it can work into one’s schedule. The press conference will probably last no longer than 30 minutes, thus parking on the street is the best option. Parking is metered in Montpelier.
The Resolution will be posted on the legislative web site at some point this week. It basically parallels the open letter signed by 15 members of the clergy. The resolution calls for Vermont to skip this first round of basing decisions so that all can have the necessary time to learn more about the many issues which surround the deployment of the F-35.
Seven Days will carry an article about the resolution and the F-35 issues this Wednesday.
Hope to see you all there.

Open Letter to Leahy, Sanders, Welch and Shumlin

The Sunday, January 6, 2012 Burlington Free Press features an open letter sponsored in part by the Stop the F35 Coalition and Save Our Skies VT.

This letter is addressed to Senators Leahy, Senator Sanders, Rep. Welch and Governor Shumlin and asks them to formally request that Burlington, VT be withdrawn from this round of basings of the F35 stealth bomber/fighter jets because of the growing controversy about the proposed basing. There is mounting evidence that there will be significant environmental and health impact from the bomber/jets. In addition, thousands of homes will be designated as not suitable for residential use, causing considerable negative impact on property values.

In a December 17, 2012 report, the Vermont Department of Health reported on the possible health effects of the F-35 overfly noise. The possible health effects include: hearing loss, cardiovascular damage, annoyance, sleep disturbance, speech interference, and cognitive development. Also, air pollution, fuel dumping, and accidental crashes are more likely to occur, the report said.

That report comes on the heels of a December 14, 2012 letter by 15 Burlington area ministers and clergy members to our congressional delegation, Burlington Mayor Weinberger and Winooski Mayor O’Brien asking for a basing decision delay.

“Given that we are now only in the first of a number of rounds of basing decisions for the F35s, and given the number of unknowns and still unanswered questions, we urge you to advocate for postponing a decision about bringing the F35s to Vermont at this time.”

We need your help to continue the public debate about this issue and urge a delay in this decision until questions about the impact are fully addressed through a transparent and open process.

Please go to to sign our petition, get more information, or donate much needed funds so we can help generate more awareness about this important issue that will negatively impact thousands of Vermont residents, their homes and communities. Thank you for your continued support!

Opposition rally

Click here for coverage of our rally.

Letter from our Religious Leaders

This letter was sent by US mail to members of our Congressional delegation and Mayor Weinberger and Mayor O’Brien.

Concerned Burlington Area Religious Leaders
c/o 209 North Prospect Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401

December 6, 2012

We have listened carefully to the debate about whether or not F35 jets are to be bedded at our airport. Clearly, the community is divided. We appreciate the efforts you have made to sort through all the issues. We have read many of your words and appreciate your clear concern for the well being of all Vermonters.

Given that we are now only in the first of a number of rounds of basing decisions for the F35s, and given the number of unknowns and still unanswered questions, we urge you to advocate for postponing a decision about bringing the F35s to Vermont at this time.

Whatever one’s point of view, it is clear that many people in Winooski, South Burlington and other communities are very fearful of the consequences of the presence of the F35s here in the most densely populated part of Vermont. The seven to nine thousand people directly affected include many low income Vermonters and many people of color, amongst the most vulnerable of our citizens. We know that you recognize the ways in which these Vermonters already are at risk socially and economically. We ask you to increase the weight of this burden vis-a-vis concern for the over-all economy as you continue to reflect on the issue. We also ask you to continue to investigate and study the unanswered questions and concerns about the environment.

We understand the argument for jobs and remain unsure of the economic impact on the region as a whole—as there is much that is uncertain about the effects of bringing the F35s here. Given this uncertainty, given that this is not the last opportunity for the planes to come here, it seems to us unfair to place the burden of this doubt on those who already struggle the most to achieve social and economic security for themselves and their children

This is not a pro-military or anti-military debate. Amongst those most affected are veterans of World War II and Korea for whom the value of their homes is the whole
of their financial equity. We are not asking you to oppose these planes coming to Vermont. We are asking you to advocate for a delay in such a decision by requesting that Vermont be removed from the first round of basing decisions so that we Vermonters can reach a consensus, based on clearing up so many of the questions that remain unanswered in the minds of many residents.
If we can play a role in mediating this debate, we are available. Not to bring the planes now does not necessarily mean that they cannot come. As it is a time for compromise in Washington, it is time for this issue to be resolved, not by decree, but by salient arguments in a civil debate.


Rev. Jack Bremer
Rev. Will Burhans
Rev. Adrianne Carr
Rabbi Joshua Chasan
Rev. Roddy O’Neil Cleary
Joanna Cole
Rev. Roberta Finkelstein
Rev. Sarah Flynn
Sr. Arlene Gates
The Rev. Mark H. Hatch
Rev. Debbie Ingram
Sr. Pat McKittrick, SP
Rabbi Jan Salzman
The Rev. Robert K. Stuhlmann
Rev. Nancy Wright

Signatories represent themselves and not the congregations or organizations which they serve.

Burlington-area clergy seek postponement of F-35 decision


Rally Photos





Population and Housing Impact Map


Please click here to sign the petition directly on the site.


Winooski is a small, but densely populated city, which lies just across the river from Burlington, VT. It is part of the Greater Burlington Area, a group of connected cities and one third of Vermont’s total population. Winooski’s downtown has recently undergone major improvements and the city has started to flourish. It is filled with young families who have put everything they have into fixing up their houses. In December, a decision will be made that would cause 78{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the homes in Winooski, as well as significant parts of South Burlington, to be considered “incompatible with residential use.” See the red part of the map above. Burlington has been named a preferred beddown site for the F-35 fighter/bomber, and we have only a short time before the decision is finalized. With the right documents, we can show that Burlington should not even be a candidate.

According to the Air Force’s F-35 Operational Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the new fighter jets will cause 2944 homes in the Burlington Area to fall within the 65 DNL zone. Living in this zone has negative health consequences both physical (hearing damage, stress-related cardiovascular disease), and psychological (anxiety, cognitive impairment in children, etc.). Hearing one of these planes fly 1000 ft above you is like hearing a jackhammer or a chainsaw only 3 ft away. Property within the 65 DNL zone should be purchased and demolished, but in Vermont, residents will have to remain in this zone without compensation for their lowered property values. For more info, see the Save Our Skies website and Stop the f-35 website.

So why has Burlington International Airport been chosen as a preferred site when it is so close to a large city center? We believe it was a simple error. The scoring sheet asked if there were homes in the accident and noise areas, and the answer for Burlington was “no,” despite the 2944 homes mentioned in the Air Force’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. Ignoring this error, our Congressional delegates are supporting the F-35 beddown in Vermont. Previous FOIA requests by the Burlington Free Press for the public release of the complete scoring data have been denied by the Air Force. See this video news coverage.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, we request the release of the complete scoring data used to determine the preferred beddown sites for the F-35. We also request that you postpone the final decision until after we are able to review the score sheets. We have a right to investigate the error that may ruin our communities with slashed housing values, lower tax revenues, abandoned homes, higher crime rates and declining schools.


Save Our Skies Petition

Check out the Save Our Skies petition asking Leahy to come clean with the initial scoresheets for all bases. Please sign the petition and show your support for our communities and our future. We never should have been in the running in the first place. We are not the only group opposed to the F35 in Vermont or in the nation. Make sure to check out to see the rising opposition in Tucson to the F35s there! As always, thanks for your support.

To Senator Leahy on Election Day

Senator Leahy,

Due to your unwavering stance on basing the F-35 in Burlington, I
will no longer support and or vote for you! That goes for any of our
elected officials in Vermont, Welch, Shumlin, Sanders for that
matter. It amazes me how you all can be so easily swayed by big
business and the military. I am unaware of any piece of legislation
that you have ever voted against, when it comes to the defense
budget. Especially the latest F-35 scam.

Do you honestly believe that this will be good for Vermont and it’s
residents? How? In what way? Do you even know where the Country Club
Estates in South Burlington is? Because I’d like to invite you
(again) to come and visit us, we’re only about 3,000 feet from the
runway. And if you think the F-16’s are loud, these new jets are
considerably louder. But you don’t give a crap about our quality of
life, it’s pretty obvious. All you care about is supporting the
military no matter the cost.

There are well over 2,000 homes like ours that stand to be negatively
impacted should this basing be passed. And according to one estimate,
that could mean a reduction in home values anywhere between 10-40{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}!
Many of us aren’t as well off as you and the other politicians who’ve
lined their pockets with their huge war chests and can’t afford that
kind of hit on our biggest investment! But you don’t care, you’ll go
home to your nice house (Charlotte perhaps?) and be able to enjoy the
beautiful scenery and peace and quiet, never giving us “pee ons” a
second thought. If you did care, you would change your position and
show some real compassion for the ever shrinking middle class.

You’ve made a pretty living being in public office Senator, with the
support of folks like me, in the past that is! If I were you, I’d
seriously think about what this will do to our OUR communities, not
yours. I bet if it were going in your backyard you might think

Sell out!!

Harold Skorstad, East South Burlington, Vt.

Open Letter to Harry Chen, M.D., Commissioner of Health, State of VT

September 26, 2012

Harry Chen, M.D.
Commissioner of Health
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry St.
Burlington VT 05402

Dear Commissioner Chen,

I am writing this letter at the behest of Austin Sumner, Chair of the Burlington Board of Health. I presented during the public comment period this month at the Board of Health meeting. He suggested at that time that I contact you and ask you to open an investigation into the public health effects that will be caused if the F-35 Weapon System is based at the Burlington International Airport.
In terms of health issues, noise is just one. The recently published U.S. Air Force draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) states “our area would be negatively affected in the following categories: Noise, Safety, Climate Change, Air Quality, Socioeconomics, Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Justice and the Protection of Children.” Declines in safety and air quality clearly have negative health effects, and I would argue that all of these categories threaten public health.

In terms of noise pollution, the DEIS shows an increase in maximum sound during a “military power take off” from 94 to 115 decibels (page BR4-18), and the report notes that each additional 10 decibels represents a doubling of sound to the human ear. The 21 decibel difference is more than two doublings of the sound or more than four times louder. The 65 decibel day/night average is “not considered suitable for residential use” according to the Air Force, and yet over 2900 Vermont residences are found within this noise contour

Outside of my workplace in Burlington, I witnessed a Bosnian woman falling to the ground during a flyover of the F-16s, hysterical with fear that she was being bombed after having survived such bombing. This kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is particularly common among veteran and refugee populations. In addition to re-traumatizing people living with such experience and resultant PTSD, studies show that this level of noise pollution adversely affects childrens’ ability to learn, causes elevated rates of stroke and heart attack, and causes hearing loss. Eberhard Greiser, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at Bremen University, states that in a study commissioned by Bonn authorities, it was found that women living near the Cologne-Bonn Airport had an increased risk of developing breast cancer and leukemia. (1, 2, 3. 4) These weapons systems also burn more fuel, and release benzene among other toxins that are known carcinogens.

The Washington Post in a 6/5/07 article describes how a study on children near the Munich airport bore out the claim that children suffer from extreme noise. Students living near the airport scored lower on tests of memory and reading than children in the neighborhoods where the airport was slated to move. However, the children living near the new airport saw a decline in scores after the move, while the children that had initially scored lower living near the old airport site had improved scores. One reaction students had to the noise was a type of “learned helplessness” where students just gave up problem-solving when subjected to loud noise.

Elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline were also measured in groups of children living near the working Munich airports, which could account for these differences. The resulting increase in blood pressure puts these children at a higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack later in life. Other studies have shown the resultant immune suppression caused by elevated levels of stress hormones inhibits healing, and even discourages a tendency most people have of generosity towards others. (5)

These bombers are designed for first strike and offensive as well as defensive missions, and indeed qualify as “stealth” weapons systems. They can carry 18,000 lbs of bombs to initiate attacks on countries thousands of miles away, and are equipped, according to the Air Force’s own advertisement, to have the ability to reduce the people in targeted countries to “hair, teeth, and eyeballs”. Despite these targets not being Vermonters, I would assume that a concern for public health would include all people

While the F-35 may be acceptable for other large military bases far from residential neighborhoods (barring moral arguments), 115 decibels is a grossly unacceptable level of loudness at a commercial airport surrounded by residential communities. Retired Colonel Roseanne Greco spoke to an Air Force personnel who said that the Burlington base was given 10 out of 10 points when evaluating the placement, 6 points of which were given in error, as the fact that there are 6700 people residing in the encroachment area would have disqualified us for these very health reasons. These health effects will have a disproportionate impact on low-income people.

While several of our elected leaders state that noise mitigation will be exercised by VTANG, the DEIS mentions that there are no plans by the Air Force, VTANG, or the airport to mitigate the noise impacts of the F-35, and the FAA further states that no noise mitigation methods actually work.
Safety is another health-related issue raised by Colonel Greco among others: “Safety projections for the F-35A are based on the F-22A, which was operationally deployed in 2002. However the F-22 is now experiencing significant safety issues, so much so that Air National Guard pilots are refusing to fly them. Moreover, new aircraft normally have more crashes than mature aircraft. And crashes are more prone to happen on take-offs and landings.” The DEIS states that projected “Class A Mishaps” (the crash rate) during years 2 -5 is 11 times higher than those of the current F-16 (BR4-46 and BR4-47). If the planes are ever loaded with nuclear payloads or depleted uranium, accidents could cause a deplorable level of damage here at home, and I will argue that they cause a reprehensible effect anywhere they are deployed.

Another important safety issue that proponents are perversely silent about is the fact of the greater Burlington area remaining or becoming a terrorist target; this is obviously not conducive to people’s health or wellness.

South Burlington’s school board (7) and city council have already rejected the local basing of these bombers, as has the Winooski school board. As the Board of Health is charged with some statutory responsibility for the “prevention, removal or destruction of public health hazards and the mitigation of public health risks”, and as you as Health Commissioner can authorize an investigation of this issue, I would like to request that you do so on behalf of all Vermont residents.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this issue as part of your duty to the public health.


*Name Redacted*

Burlington VT 05401


1) Findings of a study on airport noise and health commissioned by the German Federal Environmental Agency analyzing data from more than 1 million people:


2) WHO “The Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise”

3) International Journal of Epidemiology

4) University of Oregon Study


7) South Burlington School Board’s Statement:{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20Board/F-35{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20Info/F35_board_info.pdf


CCTV footage of South Burlington’s City Council rejecting the F-35 can be viewed here:

Note: Whether you agree with the premise of the website’s title or not, all citations, including a link to the DEIS, can be found by visiting and the link that can be found there to Juliet Buck’s blog, which documents numerous studies, many of which are published by the Air Force itself, as well as the Department of Defense, etc.

This letter forwarded to us by a coalition member.

The People of Vermont versus the Military Industrial Complex

F-35 opponents turned out to the Bernie Sanders Labor Day Picnic in Burlington. The Coalition distributed informational leaflets to over 200 people. Picnic attendees were overwhelmingly eager to learn more about the issue.
(See some of the great placards below.) Unfortunately Senator Sanders continues to dismiss those opposed to the basing by saying that he doesn’t need their votes anyway, and he still refuses to even meet with some of the over 6,000 people who live in the area that will be “incompatible” with residential use if the F-35 is based in Burlington. We believe meeting with us would be very helpful since he clearly doesn’t understand what the effects of the F-35 will be on residents, schools, and neighborhoods, and he continues to repeat unsubstantiated claims about jobs losses if the F-35 doesn’t come to Vermont.

Show Your Support for Your Community

Want to help spread the word about the F35s and support your community? Please download and print this sign to display in your house window, car window or front lawn to show your opposition to the F35 basing in Vermont. Click on the logo to get a large format file!

Click here for our latest brochure that you can print out, fold up and distribute. As always, thanks for your support.

Stop the F35 Primary Election Voting Guide

Friends and Neighbors, Many of you are concerned about the F-35 being based in Vermont. The best
way to encourage debate on this matter (with a Governor, U.S. Senator
and U.S. Representative who have indicated support for the F-35
before any of the important facts were known) would be to take one of
the following actions at the primary elections August 28, 2012:

  1. The coalition strongly urges
    this action. Vote in the primary election on the Progressive
    ballot, including the following write-in votes:

    • U.S. Senator – Peter Garritano
    • Representative to Congress – Rosanne Greco
    • Governor – Annette Smith
    • State Senator from Chittenden County – David Zuckerman
    • We also suggest voting for Richard Jeroloman who is on the ballot for State Senate from Chittenden County.

  2. The coalition supports the following write-in votes, if you decide to vote on the Democratic ballot:

    • U.S. Senator – Peter Garritano
    • Representative to Congress – Rosanne Greco
    • Governor – Annette Smith
    • We also suggest that you vote for the following who are all on the ballot: State Senate from Chittenden County – Philip Baruth, Sally Fox and David Zuckerman

  3. The coalition supports the following write-in votes, if you decide to vote on the Republican ballot:

    • U.S. Senator – Peter Garritano
    • Representative to Congress – Rosanne Greco
    • Governor – Annette Smith

Thank you for supporting your
friends and neighbors, the 2900 homeowners and the 6000+ residents,,
who live in the “noise zone” that the U.S. Air Force in its
Environmental Impact Study has declared is “not suitable for
residential use”

Please circulate this guide to your friends and neighbors and to any
Vermonters on your email lists. Thanks again.

Organizing to Stop the F-35: The Choice for Vermont

Paul Fleckenstein and Alex Buckingham, August 2012

HUNDREDS OF northern Vermont residents are campaigning against U.S. Air Force plans to base the new F-35 bomber at the Burlington, Vt., airport–and they’re getting fierce opposition for their activism from the primary backers of the plan, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and the rest of Vermont’s Democratic Party establishment.

The F-35 is designed for stealth, first-strike capability and its capacity to carry 19,000 pounds of materiel, including nuclear bombs. As an attack aircraft, the F-35 is promoted [1] as “unparalleled” and capable of reducing its human targets to “nothing but hair, teeth and eyeballs.”

The Vermont Air Guard currently flies a fleet of F-16s out of the Burlington airport, which the F-35s (when they eventually go into production) would replace. Based in the middle of residential neighborhoods, the extremely loud F-16s are widely unpopular. So when the Air Force released an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the new basing plan that acknowledged that the F-35 is four times louder, local communities were outraged.

While the EIS failed to adequately address numerous environmental impacts, the deafening noise projection alone was alarming enough. The current F-16s are so loud that it’s necessary to pause conversation and sometimes even cover your ears. Juliet Buck, a member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition [2], reported at a recent protest that there is a school across the street from her home. “When the kindergarten class comes in,” she explained, “they do F-16 orientation…because they hear these planes and they freak out. The F-35 is four times louder…That’s why they put military airports in deserts.”

According to the Air Force itself, the louder F-35s would place large swaths of residential housing (over 6,000 people) in zones not “considered suitable for residential use” due to extreme noise levels. In fact, more than half of the low- and moderate-income housing (mostly rental properties) in Winooski, the state’s most racially diverse city would be in the “not suitable for residential use” category.

Two hundred units of affordable housing near the airport have already been demolished because they were in the existing extreme noise zone. The EIS also notes that studies predict a substantial decrease in property values adjacent to the airport, which has been a flashpoint of homeowner opposition.

Research also shows the noise effect on local schools will be substantial. According to the EIS, peak noise levels from the F-35 would be 128 times louder than normal limits for classrooms. Classes are already interrupted daily at several schools by the F-16s, and studies show that this level of noise poses learning issues for children. “German researchers have discovered that people who are exposed to jet noise have a substantially increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease,” according to Time magazine [3].

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THESE ISSUES have brought hundreds of people to organizing meetings, rallies and public hearings. Two local school boards passed resolutions against the F-35 basing, and the South Burlington City Council has also condemned the plan. However, to date, Vermont’s senators and its Democratic congressman, Rep. Peter Welch, have continued to promote the basing and have yet to take seriously any of the community concerns. After over two years of trying to meet with the Vermont congressional delegation, we have only recently been granted the opportunity to meet with the delegation’s Vermont staff. To date Vermont’s Senators and Representative have not met with members of the Coalition.

As with other states, the amount of Pentagon spending in Vermont has steadily increased during the past decade and now totals upwards of $1 billion per year. Vermont’s largest newsweekly dubbed Sen. Leahy “Paddy Warbucks” for his success in bringing home the military pork.

At the one official public hearing on the F-35 held by the Air Force [4], the Democratic establishment and a whole contingent of Vermont’s 1 percent (especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors) were paraded out for the first hour to tout the great economic benefits of the F-35.

The dog-and-pony show also warned of dire consequences–all unsubstantiated–for jobs and the local economy if the bombers didn’t base in Vermont. This has been the basis for a fake grassroots, pro-F-35 petition campaign run out of regional gas stations that has collected thousands of signatures under heading “Save the Vermont Guard.”

While the F-35 will drain a projected $1.45 trillion from government coffers, spending on needed infrastructure, health care, green technologies and education would be far more effective at providing needed jobs and benefits to workers.

What’s more, Democratic Party support for the F-35 basing raises a more glaring contradiction. Vermont Democrats campaign on their “antiwar” credentials, but now they are cheerleading a first-strike weapon of mass destruction. Sen. Sanders even deflected questions about his support for the F-35 bomber during a Vermont Public Radio interview [5] by turning to glowing praise for the Vermont Guard’s contribution to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably including the use of Vermont Air Guard F-16s to bomb Iraq as part of the illegal occupation.

But this shouldn’t come as a shock. Sanders initially ran for Congress in 1990 while supporting the first Gulf War. Sanders has since aligned himself with several U.S. wars, including the 1990s blockade and bombing of Iraq that killed more than 1 million Iraqis, the war in Yugoslavia and the “war on terror.” His views on war and interventions closely mirror those of President Obama.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS SHOULDN’T play well with Democratic voters. Forty-one percent of respondents in a recent Gallop Poll think that military spending is too high. The New York Times reported that 69 percent of Americans oppose the occupation of Afghanistan, and in Vermont, these numbers are likely higher, especially among working-class and younger people.

Even an establishment journal like Foreign Policy has published an article about the F-35 entitled “The Jet That Ate the Pentagon.” [6] “The F-35 is a boondoggle,” writes Winslow Wheeler. “It’s time to throw it in the trash bin.” Nevertheless, support from Vermont’s liberal establishment continues.

Through the Stop the F-35 Coalition, hundreds of F-35 opponents have come together to build a movement that has in a matter of months put a significant dent in plans for the basing. The coalition has leafleted and petitioned among downtown crowds, organized through an online local network called Front Porch Forum, and held rallies and protests. More than 100 people came out to a honk-and-wave protest in the busiest intersection in Winooski where signs read “The F-35 bombs property values,” “Money for jobs and education, not $1.45 trillion for bombers,” and “Jobs yes, but not these jobs.”

When a similar-sized mobilization for a Burlington City Council meeting watched as Democrats and Republicans defeated a “no F-35” resolution put forward by progressives, the campaign set its sights on the leadership of Vermont’s Democratic Party, especially the two senators who have the power to halt the basing.

In July, protesters gathered at a Democratic Party fundraiser to send their message loud and clear–money for Democrats is money for their agenda, including F-35 basing. Retired Air Force pilot Roger Bourassa addressed the crowd about many reasons to oppose the stealth bomber. “This is an offensive weapon and the most expensive weapons system the Department of Defense has ever undertaken,” said Bourassa. “It feels like we’ve lost our moral compass.” Indeed, Vermont has a choice to make.

Proponents of the bomber regularly defend it as essential to maintaining U.S. empire–though they often call it something like defending our freedom. But the fact that the bomber has nothing to do with defending “us” at home, it’s obvious that sustaining the empire is the central concern. Obama and the Democratic Party differ more in rhetoric than substance compared to Bush and the pro-war administration they replaced.

At a basic level, the Stop the F-35 campaign is about what kind of future we expect for Vermont and elsewhere–one driven by military budgets, pork-barrel spending and wars at the expense of housing, health care and education, or one where we can successfully bring the pressure of thousands in Vermont and elsewhere so politicians have no choice but to represent our interests.


Stop the F-35! Protest at the Democratic Party Fundraiser

Senator Pat Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin (the politicians with the power to stop the basing in Burlington) will all be attending.
Come tell them all, “Stop the F-35! Support and do not destroy neighboring communities.”

When: Thursday, July 19, 5:30 pm (we will be gathering between 5:00 and 5:30)
Where: Ethan Allen Homestead Pavilion, Burlington, VT MAP

Join the Stop the F-35! coalition in protesting some of the biggest supporters of the harmful and wasteful weapons system that has been called, “the plane that ate the Pentagon.”

The Democrats Cheerleading the F-35 Attack Bomber Don’t Deserve Our Money

We will hand each Democratic leader a large check for a negative 700 million dollars for the value of property in Winooski put at risk if they continue their support for putting Winooski in the flight path of the F-35 bomber in violation of the Air Force’s own basing criteria.

We will tell them that we will hold each of them personally responsible for the the hearing loss, the stress, the property loss, including the affordable housing, the educational program loss to children, and the loss to businesses in downtown Winooski.

We think it is wrong for Vermont Democratic leaders to place their political careers (wedded to advancing military interests in Vermont) ahead of impacted communities.

We think it is wrong for them to give lip service to the devastating environmental impacts of the F-35 bomber and then sacrifice schools, health, communities, and property values just the same. The Democrats want our money to run for office when they are promoting $1.45 trillion (Pentagon estimate) for an unneeded, incredibly destructive F-35 attack bomber–while our infrastructure is crumbling and while we desperately need sustainable jobs programs.

We don’t agree that the Democratic Party leaders can simply stand behind the rhetoric of F-35 = jobs, while attempting to hide from the real and significant impacts of the F-35 basing in Burlington.

No official in the Air Force ever said:

· the Burlington Air Guard Station will close if Burlington does not get the F-35

· the Vermont National Guard will lose a single job if it does not get the F-35

· no other vital missions are available

Those arguments have no basis in fact and are pure scare tactics.

Vermonters all know very well that with the increasing floods we need the Vermont National Guard to be equipped to save lives here in Vermont and around New England. The F-35 bomber has no place in such a vital mission and the enormous cost for this buying and operating this plane detracts from the VTANG service we desperately need. Ironically, the massive amount of fuel the plane burns contributes to the global warming problem that causes the flooding.

Pork and Hypocrisy

Noting how hypocritical the Congressional delegation is (claiming to be anti-war and against wasteful spending while cheerleading for the F-35 attack bomber) Garrison Nelson, UVM Political Science professor, commented “Pork is pork…[t}he only way they can spin it is by talking about jobs – high-paying government jobs. Otherwise it’s just pork.”

We demand that our Congressional delegation and our Governor reconsider their position supporting basing the F-35 in Burlington–tell the Air Force, “No F-35 for Burlington.” Tell the Air Force and Vermont Air National Guard to find a mission compatible with the residential neighborhoods surrounding the Burlington International Airport.

Sponsored by the Stop the F-35 Coalition.

Open Letter to the Vermont Congressional Delegation

I am writing to you to express my concerns about basing F-35’s in the Burlington area.

First of all I’d like to call your attention to the front page article in the June 27, 2012 Burlington Free Press, “Grave Mistakes Made in Choosing Burlington”

I think you should investigate thoroughly both the data and the scoring model used by the Air Force in determining that the Burlington area is a “preferred alternative” for hosting F-35’s. It’s been clear to me after deciphering the Air Force’s own Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that local basing of the F-35’s is a disaster both for my community of Winooski and the value of the home I own. So it’s hardly a shock to me that “mistakes” might have been.

Second, I’d like to call your attention to the June 25 front page article in the Burlington Free Press “Life in the ‘Dead Zone.’” Since the boundary that includes homes inside the 65 dB DNL (not considered suitable for residential use) is expanded to include a good part of Winooski where I live, I am very much concerned that this article forecasts the fate of my community.  

Here is what Senator Sanders wrote to me in response to my concerns:

“I have serious concerns about maintaining and protecting the environment and quality of life for people living near the airport where the planes would be based, and believe it is essential to learn what steps will be taken to manage noise pollution and environmental issues, should Vermont be chosen to deploy the F-35s.”

With all due respect this is like trying to reason with the fox once the fox is in the hen house.  What if Senator Sanders finds out that NO “steps will or can be taken to manage noise pollution…..”?  Then what? We deserve better.

To be a bit crass about it, here’s what I hear from Vermont politicians about the local basing of F-35’s:  “It’s military pork!  It’s free money!  It’s all good!  Trust us!”

I have progressive leanings, and I have supported progressive candidates with time, money, and energy in the last several election cycles.  One might think that, since I live in Vermont, I could devote my efforts to supporting as many progressive candidates and issues as I could.  However, the progressive politicians in Vermont, whom I have supported in the past, are now making it difficult for me.  This is the issue:  All of the significant Vermont politicians – Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin among others are supporting the basing of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the Burlington. A total of 2944 homes would be in this noise area including my home in Winooski, Vermont.  In general the local basing of F-35’s would be devastating to communities near the airport.

The Vermont politicians are acting like teenage girls excited about a cute guy in their excitement over the possibility of getting this military pork.  They have been uncritical of the potential damage to communities like mine.  Furthermore they have been uncritical of the F-35 itself.  Winslow Wheeler wrote an article in the magazine Foreign Policy entitled “The Jet That Ate the Pentagon” From the article:  “The current appraisal for operations and support is $1.1 trillion – making for a grand total of $1.5 trillion, or more than the annual GDP of Spain.  And that estimate is wildly optimistic:  It assumes the F-35 will only be 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} more expensive to operate than an F-16, but the F-35 is much more complex.” So this is the kind of spending our “progressive” Vermont politicians favor?

I bring this up because there’s a part of me that wants to support Obama and progressive candidates.  But I can’t.  I’m spending all my time fighting the basing of the F-35 in Vermont.  More generally I imagine there are many like me who in this election cycle have been distracted from supporting progressive candidates by politicians who have made “expedient” choices or in some cases have been outright sellouts.

Here’s a map of where I live.  Note that I will be in the zone “not considered suitable for residential use.”

Igor Zbitnoff, Winooski

Resolution – No to basing the F-35A in Burlington

Burlington City Council
Resolution: No to basing F-35A in Burlington

Whereas the United States Air Force issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that states that in July 2010 the Air Force selected Burlington International Airport in South Burlington, Vermont is one of two “preferred alternative locations” for the initial operational bed down of the F-35A; and

Whereas that selection of Burlington occurred nearly two years before the draft EIS was completed and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS, as issued in March 2012, shows that Burlington Air National Guard is not the preferred basing for the F-35A. The EIS states that the “no action alternative”–that is, not basing the F-35A in Burlington–“would be the environmentally preferable alternative;” and

Whereas the data given by the Air Force in its draft EIS details negative impact on the lives of thousands of Burlington and Burlington area residents in the areas of noise, air quality, safety, land use, socioeconomic, environmental justice and protection of children, community facilities, public services, ground traffic and transportation, climate change, and cumulative effects and irreversible commitment of resources; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS shows two basing scenarios, one with 18 F-35A fighter-bombers and one with 24, and the draft EIS shows more negative environmental impacts for the 24 plane scenario; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS states that the “actual number and configuration of aircraft eventually based” has not actually yet been determined, and, therefore, the draft EIS offers no guarantee of the upper limit of adverse environmental consequences; and

Whereas experience with the F-16 illustrates such increasing negative environmental consequences, as after basing the F-16 in Burlington, the Air Force changed its engine, its flight configuration, and its use of afterburners, which dramatically increased its noise level; and

Whereas the EIS reports that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a 24-hour average noise threshold of 65 dB as the maximum limit that is compatible with residential living; and

Whereas, under that FAA program, the federal government gave the airport money to buy properties where the noise reached or exceeded that incompatible-with-residential-living threshold; and

Whereas under the FAA program, the airport has so far purchased 120 homes near the airport in South Burlington for demolition because the F16 and other airport noise reached or exceeded that 24-hour average 65 dB threshold, and that once healthy neighborhood of affordable houses has been turned into a wasteland; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS shows that basing the F-35A here will place 1366 additional houses and 2,863 more people in Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester within the 24-hour average noise level that caused the purchase for demolition of those 120 affordable houses; and

Whereas the airport recently announced that it would purchase no more homes; and

Whereas although F-16 noise is quite high, the Air Force draft EIS shows the present-day 24-hour average 65 dB contour from F-16 noise barely skirts edges of Winooski and Burlington while the F-35A will put half of Winooski’s houses and Burlington houses along Calarco, Chase, Rumsey, Barrett, Mill, Grove, and Patchen roads, and along portions of Pearl and Riverside, within that incompatible-with-residential-living contour; and

Whereas the table on page BR4-18 of the Air Force draft EIS shows that the peak noise level for the F-16 is 94 dBA and for the F-35A it is 115 dBA–a difference of 21 dBA–when each plane takes off and reaches 1000 feet above ground level; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS on pages C6 and C9 shows that people hear the 21 dB difference between the F-16 and the F-35A as more than four times louder; and

Whereas according to a table on page C8 of the Air Force draft EIS, the difference in sound levels between the F-16 and the F-35A can be illustrated by the difference between the sound under an F-16 flying at a height of well over 2000 feet and the same F-16 flying at a height of just under 500 feet above ground level; and

Whereas concerning effect on property values, the Air Force draft EIS reports that studies conclude “that decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2 percent per dB increase in cumulative noise exposure;” and

Whereas according to the numbers in the Air Force draft EIS the decrease in property values for houses experiencing the 21 dB increase in loudness is likely to be in the range from 11{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} to 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS raises serious questions about safety as it states that “it is possible that projected mishap [crash] rates for the F-35A may be comparable to the historical rates of the F-22A” and numbers in the draft EIS show that in its early years the F-22A had a “most severe” mishap rate 7 times higher than the current rate for the F-16; and

Whereas the draft EIS makes clear that the Burlington airport was a preferred location because air quality in the Champlain Valley is in “attainment” with air quality standards and therefore the Air Force can more conveniently bring the F-35A to Burlington than it can to competing Air Force bases whose already fouled air and “non-attainment” status present difficult hoops for the Air Force to jump through to achieve compliance with the Clean Air Act; and

Whereas the draft EIS shows that the negative effect of basing the F-35A in South Burlington will fall disproportionally on low income and immigrant communities; and

Whereas a Pentagon document shows that the total cost to develop, buy, and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35A will be $1.45 trillion and that the cost to buy each plane will average $135 million plus an additional $26 million for the engine; and

Whereas according to a study by professors at the University of Massachusetts, spending on military projects like the F-35A creates half as many jobs as spending on health care, education, infrastructure, and mass transit, and therefore spending on the F-35A while cutting health care, education, infrastructure, and mass transit leaves more people unemployed; and

Whereas the F-35A is described in an Air Force video and in the Air Force draft EIS as a weapon mainly for penetrating enemy air space and delivering 18,000 pounds of air-to-ground bombs and air-to-ground missiles rather than primarily for saving Vermonters during natural disasters, like Hurricane Irene, or defending the US from attack; and

Whereas in the 2005 town meeting, 65{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of voters in Burlington voted in favor of a resolution stating that “we support our soldiers in Iraq and believe the best way to support them is to bring them home now,” and whereas similar resolutions were adopted by over 50 other towns in Vermont; and

Whereas supporting our soldiers is one thing, and dropping bombs and firing missiles at other countries is another; and

Whereas many Burlington voters see a distinction between supporting our Air National Guard engaging in local life-saving activities or sensible national defense and supporting a fighter/bomber, like the F-35A, that is more for penetrating the air space of other countries, as in the Iraq war, and uselessly putting our soldiers in harms way, while depleting our treasury, and harming our democracy; and

Whereas many Burlington voters also see a distinction between defending our country and supporting a fighter/bomber, like the F-35A, that, if based here, would destroy our own houses, neighborhoods, and communities, including a portion of our own Burlington community and neighboring towns; and

Whereas many Burlington voters are likely to agree with the Air Force statement in the draft EIS that the “no-action alternative”–not basing the F-35A in Burlington–“would be the environmentally preferable alternative;” and

Whereas one of the highest ranking military officers in Vermont, retired Air Force Colonel Rosanne Greco, who, according to the Burlington Free Press served as a strategic planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Defense Department, is now Chair of the South Burlington City Council. Colonel Greco prepared a 17 page paper including key points from the Air Force draft EIS and presenting the reasons the South Burlington City Council voted 4-1 to oppose the bed-down of the F-35A at the Burlington, Vermont Air Guard Station; and

Whereas Colonel Greco’s paper states that, “as Councilors our primary concern is about the impacts on our environment and community and not on the mission of the military.” The paper further states, “while economic development is an important consideration we question the notion that there should be economic development at any cost;” and

Whereas Colonel Greco’s paper concludes by stating, “based on the data, South Burlington is not a good choice and it should not be the preferred choice for basing the F-35As.” In its final line the paper states, “if we are not for South Burlington, who will be?” and

Whereas the Burlington City Council has the same responsibility to protect our city; and

Therefore be it resolved that the Burlington City Council urges the Air Force to implement its environmentally preferred no-action alternative and not base the F-35A at Burlington International Airport; and

Be it further resolved that the Burlington City Council urges the Air Force to provide a mission for the well-recognized Vermont Air National Guard that is compatible with the needs of Vermont and with continued habitation of its houses and neighborhoods; and

Be it further resolved that the Office of the Clerk-Treasurer is directed to send a copy of this resolution to United State Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, Vermont National Guard Adjutant General Major General Michael Dubie, the Vermont Congressional Delegation, Governor Peter Shumlin, Chittenden County Senators, Burlington Representatives, and to the Air Force personnel at Langley AFB seeking comment to the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

F-35 Bombs Property Values

Winooski Property Values

Jimmy Leas’ Letter to Governor Shumlin

Dear Peter,
The only argument you raise for supporting basing the F-35 in South Burlington is economic.

However, the issue on the table right now is the environmental impact of the basing the F-35 in South Burlington. I notice that nothing in your response disputes the facts about the devastating impact on South Burlington, Winooski, and Williston and part of Burlington and Colchester that are specified in the Air Force’s own Environmental Impact Statement. Surely these devastating impacts will be felt economically as well as environmentally. Already over 100 houses have been razed in South Burlington. The F-35 will cause 1300 houses, as well as businesses, churches, and schools to fall in the same noise range or a greater noise range that condemned those homes. Is there no economic loss involved?

Furthermore, your economic assessment assumes that the base will close if the F-35 is not based in South Burlington. However, one of the highest ranking military officers in the state of Vermont, retired Col. Rosanne Greco, believes that another mission will be found for the Guard in the absence of the F-35. If another mission is found the numbers you site will remain in place for Vermont. Do you believe Vermonters must put our towns and communities at certain risk based on a speculation of economic damage?

We do not have a full economic assessment of the environmental damage on those communities. Could the economic damage to the communities outweigh any economic benefit? Has anyone done that study? If not, it is premature to draw any conclusions about economic benefit.

Your remarks about the economic benefit not only divert from the issue currently on the table–the environmental impact– they also do not give justice to the full economic impact including the sharp economic negatives to five communities.

I am shocked and dismayed that you would divert from the issue now before us–environmental impact–and substitute speculation about economic benefits that does not include the economic costs to South Burlington, Winooski, Williston, Burlington, and Colchester along with economic benefits to members of the National Guard.

A redo of your consideration of this issue and your response to me and to the public is needed on this critical issue. Before the June 20 deadline for comments on the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Air Force.

Thanks very much for considering this.
best regards,

On 6/1/2012 1:37 PM, Governor Peter Shumlin wrote:
> Dear James,
> Thank you for your message concerning the F-35A operational basing proposal for Chittenden County. I know that this is an issue that has drawn strong feelings among both supporters and opponents, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.
> As you know, I support this proposal. I believe that basing the F-35A in our state would create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase investment opportunities for Vermont businesses. The Vermont Air National Guard has proudly operated in the state for 66 years, bringing with it 1100 employees and an annual payroll of $53 million. These hardworking Guard members are an integral part of our communities, and contribute to the vitality of Vermont in countless ways.
> I know there are some concerns about noise and other potential drawbacks of basing the F-35A in South Burlington that are being discussed in the surrounding communities. Though I feel that these drawbacks are outweighed by the extraordinary benefits that this opportunity presents our communities and our state, I do appreciate those concerns. Having listened closely to all sides of this issue, I have concluded that basing the F-35A in Vermont is good for the local community, beneficial to Vermont, and a wise investment in our bright jobs future.
> I appreciate hearing your perspective, and regret that this is an issue on which we disagree. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office in the future if I can be of any further assistance.
> Sincerely,
> Peter Shumlin
> Governor
> 109 State Street, Pavilion
> Montpelier, Vermont 05609
> 802-828-3333

Invitation to Sign on to Lawsuit

Repost from stop the f35 website

Fri, 09/14/2012 – 12:51pm — odmin

Dear Fellow Vermonter,

Now is the time for action.

We, the members of the stop the F-35 coalition, are preparing a
two-pronged legal challenge to the basing of the F-35 in Vermont. This
legal challenge comes in addition to our campaign of education and
visible public action.

We are gearing up for legal action now because the Air Force recently
indicated that the Final Draft of the Environmental Impact Statement on
this matter will issue in the next four to eight weeks and that final
draft will include its final decision on basing.

We are asking everyone on this list to join in these two legal efforts
. Large numbers of people joining this legal initiative could help
influence the Air Force to decide against basing the F-35 in Burlington.
The two legal actions are beginning immediately by our experienced and
well respected attorney, Jim Dumont:

  • a request for public records on the F-35 from the City of Burlington
    (the landlord of the Air base). The request will put the City of
    Burlington on notice that the City can be held liable for damages to
    health, hearing, home value, and nuisance to thousands of homeowners
    and renters caused by the noise its tenant at the airport–the Air
    Force–generates. The enormous liability to which the City of
    Burlington may be held for these damages may encourage the City to
    tell its tenant at the Airport that bringing the F-35, an aircraft
    that is more than four times louder than the F-16, is unacceptable
    and to find an alternate mission. Jim Dumont sent letters requesting
    the public records to a Burlington City Attorney and to the Airport
    Director of Planning and Development on September 13, 2012.
  • Preparing challenges to the F-35 through the local permitting
    process, including under Act 250 and local zoning laws, and under
    the National Environmental Policy Act. These challenges, if
    successful, could put a stop to any plan for basing the F-35 in

We have made arrangement with attorney Jim Dumont to initiate these two
legal challenges immediately. We urge you to add your name in support of
these two efforts by becoming a client of Jim’s now. The client agreement
is online at….

We view the legal challenges as one of the ways to demonstrate broad
public opposition to basing the F-35 in the most densely populated part
of Vermont. We want hundreds of people to participate. That is why we
are making participation in these legal actions as easy as possible. The
key is large numbers of people, and if large numbers participate, we
will make an impact on the thinking of city officials, our Governor, our
Congressional delegation, and the Air Force.

How Much Will You have to Pay? As provided in the client
agreement at…
, you can add your name to these two legal actions at no cost
to you
. See below for how we are raising funds to cover attorney Jim
Dumont’s reduced legal fee and costs he may incur.

Will you be held liable for legal fees or costs? No

Who Can Participate? If you are a homeowner or a renter in South
Burlington, Winooski, Burlington, Colchester or Williston (or anywhere
else in Vermont); if you feel that your home or your community is at
risk; or if you feel that the noise impacts of the F-35 should be
subject to local and state level review, we strongly urge you to sign on
as a client of Attorney Jim Dumont, who is pursuing this action.

Is there Risk? While there is, of course, always some risk, the two
kinds of actions envisioned, requesting public records and participating
in local permitting through Act 250 and local zoning and
participating in hearings under the National Environmental Policy Act to
stop the F-35, involve low risk of countersuit.

Strategy to raise the money to pay legal fees and costs: The key to
effective legal action–at reasonable cost to each person–is having
large numbers of people participating. Thousands of people and homes are
at risk in Winooski, South Burlington, Burlington, Williston, and
Colchester. We expect that if large numbers of people participate and
each participant donates whatever amount he or she can, such as $25, we
can raise enough to cover legal fees. With large numbers, each
participant will receive expert legal representation to stop the F-35,
and the money raised from voluntary contributions will be enough to
cover legal fees. Please make your contribution by sending a check made out to “Stop the F-35 Coalition” to
our treasurer, Roger Bourassa, 93 Hannah’s Place, Colchester, VT 05446.

Please review the client agreement at…, spread the word to let your
neighbors know about this, and contribute whatever you can. Please follow
the instructions in the client agreement to sign on to the suit.

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The Legal Committe of the Stop the F35 Coalition:
James Marc Leas, Richard Joseph

Vermont’s Stop the F-35 Coalition Recruits a Veteran Spokesman

As originally posted on Seven Days at By Kevin J. Kelley.

Vermonters favoring the deployment of a new generation of war planes at the Burlington airport will have trouble depicting one of their chief opponents as an unpatriotic wimp.

Roger Bourassa, a public face of the Stop the F-35 Coalition, has a red-white-and-blue, star-spangled résumé that includes a three-year stint with the U.S. Marine Corps. He also served 13 years in the National Guard in Vermont, New York and Maine, and another 13 as an Air Force Academy liaison officer, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Bourassa, 73, took part in the invasion of Lebanon in 1958 and flew wartime transport missions to Vietnam. With Donna, his wife of 49 years, Bourassa raised six children and was active in the Lutheran Church.

A native of Winooski, he grew up seeing and hearing National Guard aircraft soaring and screaming above his home. Those flights inspired Bourassa to become a military pilot himself, but he failed an eye exam and had to settle for a career as a navigator on a variety of fighter planes, including the F-89 Scorpion and F-101 Voodoo.

Those were defensive aircraft, Bourassa notes during an interview in his Colchester condo, where he still hears the boom of National Guard jets as they hurtle into the Vermont sky. The F-35, however, is “an attack plane,” Bourassa says, designed for use in what he calls the “imperialist wars” the United States is waging in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He’ll make those points at an October 13 forum at the Chamberlin School in South Burlington sponsored by the Stop the F-35 Coalition. The meeting is part of an effort to rally opposition to the possibility that two dozen stealth fighters will be stationed at BTV seven years from now.

Proponents of the basing plan, including all three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation, say the F-35s will help protect the country, generate jobs and ensure the continued mission of the Green Mountain Boys. Coalition activists living near the airport tend to argue against the deployment on environmental grounds, charging that it will produce unbearable noise pollution and foul Chittenden County’s air with benzene emissions. Others, such as Bourassa, see the F-35 primarily as an expression of a militaristic U.S. foreign policy.

Describing himself as “extremely patriotic,” the soft-spoken suburbanite explains, “My love of country is based on an America that is an example of democracy in the world, and I think we’re failing democratically today.” Bourassa echoes Dwight Eisenhower, the president under whom he served in Lebanon, in condemning a “military-industrial complex” that encourages aggressive U.S. behavior in the Middle East and beyond.

“Our foreign policy involves using military means so we can remain a very prosperous nation,” Bourassa says. “But we need to be concerned about the global climate and about the billions of people who are living on $2 a day. Our country shouldn’t be accumulating resources but sharing resources.”

A University of Vermont professor deserves some credit for shaping Bourassa’s worldview: Harold Schultz taught a course on American diplomatic history that deeply affected Bourassa 45 years ago. He had enrolled at UVM after leaving the Marine Corps and joined the Vermont National Guard while an undergraduate. Bourassa simultaneously became an opponent of the war in Vietnam, and he brought his antiwar advocacy to the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College in Alabama, where he earned a master’s in international relations.

In keeping with his belief in the transformative power of education, Bourassa became a social studies teacher and later served as a high school principal in both Randolph and Winooski. He held the post of superintendent in the Orange Southwest, Colchester and Franklin West supervisory districts for a total of 17 years.

Bourassa’s father was at least as influential as formal educators on the peace-loving patriot. Joseph Bourassa, born in Québec in 1905, migrated to Vermont as a boy and found work as a factory laborer in the American Woolen Mill in Winooski. Roger grew up speaking French and learned from his father to respect trade unions and the values behind Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

More recently, he supported the campaign of Barack Obama, but has grown “very disappointed” with the president’s performance, mainly because “his approach to the Middle East is so unbalanced.” Bourassa traveled last year to the West Bank and was teargassed during a demonstration against the Israeli occupation. He has also taken part in protests in Washington against the war in Iraq. He’s now opposed to the “unwinnable war” in Afghanistan as well, even though he initially supported the U.S. invasion as a justified response to the terror attacks of 2001.

Bourassa’s active retirement is not devoted solely to the cause of peace. He’s a member of the Colchester Development Review Board and works with a local chapter of the AARP.

Despite the political clout of the forces arrayed in support of the F-35s, Bourassa says he’s hopeful that the local deployment can still be prevented. Much will depend on the conclusions of an environmental impact statement that the Air Force is preparing for scheduled release in January. The Air Force announced in July that BTV and Hill Air Force Base in Utah are the “preferred alternatives” for F-35 operations, but added that a final decision will not be made until the environmental assessment is completed.

“Vermont is really the last place that should be hosting this plane,” declares Jimmy Leas, an attorney active with the Stop the F-35 Coalition. Pointing to the efforts of Bourassa and other local peace advocates, Leas says the state’s strong antiwar sentiment can prevail over “this weapon of mass destruction.”

Local TV Coverage from CCTV

For local coverage of the F-35 see the following list from CCTV:

CCTV began covering the issue in April, 2010. See the detailed factsheet for times in the videos cross referenced with statements made by officials.

Thanks as always to CCTV, The Center for Media and Democracy, for great consistent coverage of important local issues.

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