EXPOSING LEAHY’S LEGACY OF LIES — Part 2
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER
Quotations from the Air Force’s official records of the F-35 Burlington Basing Selection Process
“We are here to read to you a quotation from the Air Force official administrative record of the F-35 Burlington basing selection process and to get your response to it.”
“We request that Senator Leahy initiate an independent investigation into the political corruption of the F-35 Burlington basing selection process.”
Day 24: Monday, November 18, 2019
On October 5, 2010, Ms Kathleen Ferguson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Logistics & Environment wrote to the Honorable Terry Yonkers also in the Secretary of the Air Force Installations, Logistics & Environment office relaying information from the Air Force officials who had met with Senator Leahy’s staff. Senator Leahy’s staff were concerned about how much of the area around the Burlington airport would be in the high noise zone. The Air Force officials learned that Senator Leahy was worried about negative public reaction to the noise, and wanted to alter the data to make it appear that the noise of the F-35 will not be as loud as the Air Force noise modeling showed. Senator Leahy, without basis in fact, questioned the accuracy of the noise model that Air Force noise experts were using, and suggested that the Air Force was “rushing” to use this noise model when there might be another way to assess the F-35 noise. Colonel Nelson, who was the Secretary of the Air Force Director of Planning and Programs, stated this was unlikely and that there was no new data to prompt a change in how the F-35 noise was assessed.
“Just a quick update on a 30 Sep Congressional contact by Col Lowell Nelson. He joined Maj Bacon from FMBL [finance and budgeting office] to meet with members of Sen Leahy’s (VT) staff: Mr JP Dowd, Legislative Director, and Congressional Fellow, Will Goodman. Over the last few weeks they’ve expressed interest in the noise contours that will be included in the Draft EIS for the F-35 Ops, which will include Burlington ANGB as a preferred alternative. Sen Leahy wants to support us in managing the expectations of constituents in the Burlington area who may be concerned about increased noise from an F-35 beddown. The specific points of the discussion in the meeting were the accuracy and relevancy of the F-35 noise data being used to project noise contours. They wanted to make sure we weren’t “rushing” the EIS when better information might be available soon. Col Nelson indicated this was unlikely but he would check; we’ve since confirmed that there is no pending information that would cause a change to the F-35 noise calculation.…” (Admin Record #45629)
Day 25: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
On October 5, 2010, Ms Kathleen Ferguson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Logistics & Environment wrote to Senator Patrick Leahy’s staff telling them that the Air Force was using the latest and best technology to assess what the F-35 noise would be at Burlington; and that the results of their noise measurement tool produced results consistent with the actual noise produced by the F-35 at Edwards Air Force Base where it was being test flown. Therefore, the Air Force was confident in their noise modeling techniques, and were not planning on using any new noise measurement tools in the near term. Secretary Ferguson wrote this email because Leahy and Vermont Air Guard officials had been urging the Air Force to switch to another noise modeling tool. Ferguson further stated said that the F-35 noise levels listed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were projections based on what they knew of the aircraft to date; and that actual noise levels would not be know for sure until after the F-35 was based in Burlington.
“As discussed in our meeting, the draft EIS is being developed with the latest available information about noise emissions of the F-35A, obtained at the April 08 data collection conducted at Edwards AFB with the F-35 AA-1, and using local course rules and operational limitations as currently observed at Burlington ANGB. After consultation with our experts here at the Pentagon, they confirmed that there is no near term expectation of additional data on the F-35A, and there would be no reason to delay the Draft EIS. Additionally, they advised us that the noise contours published in the Draft EIS would not change in the Final EIS. It should be noted that the noise contours to be released in the EIS are projections, based on information about an aircraft still in development, to facilitate informed decision-making. The actual noise contours at a selected beddown location would not be realistically available until the production F-35A aircraft are operating at a location and local flight rules are finalized and in use.” (Admin Record #45631)
Day 26: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
On November 9, 2010, Senator Patrick Leahy, in another attempt to calm public outcry over the destructive impact of the F-35 in Burlington, wrote to Mr Michael Donley, the Secretary of the Air Force, telling the Secretary that he wanted the Air Force to use another noise measurement tool (called Karnes 3) to assess the noise of the F-35. Senator Leahy said that Karnes 3 would show that the F-35 was quieter than what was shown by the current noise modeling tool (Karnes 2) the Air Force had been using. Senator Leahy told the Secretary of the Air Force that he knew switching to the Karnes 3 tool (which was not yet ready to be used) would cause a delay in the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), but the Senator thought the costs of the delay were worth it if the new noise model showed the F-35 to be less loud.
“I was pleased that the Air Force selected the Air National Guard Station in Burlington, Vermont as one of the Air Force’s preferred locations for initial basing of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadron…..As the Air Force prepares the initial final draft EIS for release, I wanted to urge you to delay the EIS until the Air Force incorporates the latest flight profile data for the F-35 which is known as ‘Karnes 3’….By incorporating the ‘Karnes 3’ flight profiles into the draft EIS, the Air Force may be able to demonstrate to local communities that the F-35 can depart and recover at noise levels less than those generated when the aircraft operated at full power….I understand this request may further delay the current F-35 timeline, but given the overall delay of the F-35 program, we should not rush to publish less accurate and more alarmist information when the public would be better served by a minor delay and more accurate F-35 flight profile data. The potentially beneficial operational information in the ‘Karnes 3’ profiles far outweighs any cost of further delaying the release of the EIS.” (Admin Records #45651 and 46121)
Day 27: Thursday, November 21, 2019
On November 15, 2010, Mr Zander, of the Secretary of the Air Force Installations, Logistics, and Environment office, wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Rezac of the Air National Guard Bureau telling him that Senator Leahy had sent a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force requesting the Air Force delay releasing the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). We read in previous emails that Leahy wanted to delay the EIS so that the Air Force would re-assess the F-35 noise by using another noise measurement tool. Zander says there is no justification for delaying the release of the Draft EIS. In this entry, we read of another improper attempt by Senator Leahy to manipulate the decision process.
“Sen Leahy sent a letter requesting the AF delay release of the draft F-35 EIS. We are in the process of preparing a response. Currently there is no certified data available that would support a decision to delay release of the Draft EIS—whatever discussed with the TAG [The Adjutant General] needs to correspond with what we provide Sen Leahy.” (Admin Record #46118)
That same day, Lieutenant Colonel Rezac wrote to a colleague confirming that the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) had received a letter from Senator Leahy urging the Air Force to switch to another method of measuring the F-35 noise (Karnes 3) and to delay releasing the EIS until the Air Force did this.
“SECAF has recently (dated 9 Nov 10) received a letter from Sen Leahy ‘urging the Air Force to delay the EIS until the latest flight profile data for the F-35, known as “Karnes 3”, can be incorporated’.” (Admin Record #46118)
Day 28: Friday, November 22, 2019
On November 16, 2010, Ms Engelman, an official with Headquarters Air Force Noise/Encroachment Management office, wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Chatman at the Office of the Secretary of Defense to inform him that Senator Leahy and the Vermont Air National Guard were pushing for the Secretary of the Air Force to switch to another noise modeling tool called Karnes 3. Ms Engelman stated that the Karnes 3 tool was not yet available to be used. Yet, the improper attempt by Senator Leahy, and in this case Vermont Air National Guard officials, to manipulate the decision process was ultimately successful, and their pressure caused the Air Force to switch to a new noise model and it delayed the EIS process for a year.
“Wanted to keep you informed on a few things happening with Vermont ANG, Vermont Senator Leahy, availability of “Karnes 3” and also discuss where we are on things again…. Now in addition to that we have a letter from Senator Leahy urging the AF to “delay the EIS and incorporate the latest flight profile data for the F-35 which is known as “Karnes 3.” Now I suspect the AF will not want to delay the EIS, however I have been asked to assess when “Karnes 3” might be available, and if it will make any real difference in the contours.” (Admin Records #45731)