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.


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

Eather: The Quietest Place in America is Becoming a Warzone

By: Brian Khan 7/30/18

N 47.51575°, W 123.52133°—Amid the panoply of greenery that makes up the Hoh Rainforest, a gap in the old growth forest arises. Well, more accurately it’s a gap in a tree—a hollow inside a towering sitka spruce that stands like an open door. Beyond it, a short game trail through ankle deep mud and pools of water accumulated from the week’s rains ends in a clearing lined with ferns.

Gordon Hempton guides a group to the clearing where, on a log dotted with the tiniest plants and mosses sits a red stone, roughly one square inch. Hempton walks up to it, opens his satchel, grabs another similar red stone and places it on the log while grabbing the original one. It’s like the opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Hempton looks the part, except in a Northwest twist this Indiana Jones has swapped a leather jacket for a thick wool sweater and a whip for an umbrella. He turns and presses his meaty palm into mine, closing my hand around the burnt red stone slick with rainwater without saying a word.

Our group of nine clad in Gore-tex and soggy socks instinctively gathers in a circle around the rock, the new altar of the rainforest, a monument to One Square Inch of Silence. We had come to hear a sermon. Hands crossed, heads bowed, bodies stilled, we listen.

Seconds pass, then minutes as time starts to warp. One by one, the group of locals and the regional head of a nonprofit working with Hempton to protect the site peels back into the wall of greenery toward the trail. Eventually, I’m standing alone at One Square Inch.

After years of painstaking acoustic measurements, Hempton identified this spot on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula as the quietest place in the U.S.—the spot most free of our man-made noise pollution. He has nurtured this square inch, guided people to it, and protected it from encroaching cacophony of our modern world. But now it faces its biggest threat yet.


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.”


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

July 7, 2018

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

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

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


F-35 – new snafu

July 3, 2018

A Senate committee has slammed the Pentagon’s beleaguered F-35 fighter jet program, for claiming that a $661mn spend on bulk-buying parts would help it save some $1.2 billion. The real amount is half that, it has been revealed.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, which has recently greenlighted a boost in spending for the F-35 program, despite it being plagued by delays and cost overruns, raised the issue last week, after the Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office report revealed that the Pentagon had greatly exaggerated the economic effect from its attempt to cut the F-35 program costs.

Last year, the program’s office asked for some $661 million to procure, in bulk, material and equipment that had undergone hardware qualification testing for the F-35, claiming the bulk buy would allow it to save some $1.2 billion in costs. The parts to be supplied would be fitted into the aircraft to be purchased in 2019 and 2020. Last month, Lockheed Martin Corp. received the contract with the appropriate adjustments.

The new report, however, argues that the buying strategy is much less cost-efficient than Pentagon officials had initially claimed when they presented their case to Congress.

According to the new report, the measure will generate savings of some $600 million, which is a half of the designated amount.

While the committee did not object in principle to what has turned into the most expensive US weapons program ever, the lawmakers have said they were “dismayed by the inaccuracy of the initial estimates,” the report states, as cited by Bloomberg.

Last year, the program’s office asked for some $661 million to procure, in bulk, material and equipment that had undergone hardware qualification testing for the F-35, claiming the bulk buy would allow it to save some $1.2 billion in costs. The parts to be supplied would be fitted into the aircraft to be purchased in 2019 and 2020. Last month, Lockheed Martin Corp. received the contract with the appropriate adjustments.

The new report, however, argues that the buying strategy is much less cost-efficient than Pentagon officials had initially claimed when they presented their case to Congress.

According to the new report, the measure will generate savings of some $600 million, which is a half of the designated amount.

While the committee did not object in principle to what has turned into the most expensive US weapons program ever, the lawmakers have said they were “dismayed by the inaccuracy of the initial estimates,” the report states, as cited by Bloomberg.


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.


GAO.gov: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved

June 5, 2018

DOD is getting closer to completing the F-35 program, but DOD’s plan to move into full-rate production without fixing key deficiencies brings into question the reliability and affordability of the aircraft.

DOD has already requested $9.8 billion for 2019 and will ask for about $10.4 billion more per year over the next two decades.

Congress should consider withholding funding from the next increment of F-35 development until DOD provides an independent cost estimate, a technology assessment, and takes other actions. In addition, we recommended that DOD resolve critical aircraft deficiencies before moving to full-rate production.


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.”


Report finds toxic chemicals at Burlington air base exceed state limits

May 24, 2018

The Air Force has released a report detailing chemical contaminants at the Burlington International Airport above Vermont regulatory limits.

These chemicals were found at multiple locations on the Vermont National Guard installation, but not in the base’s drinking water, or the water supply of nearby communities. Now, the Air Force is continuing the investigation, along with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, to determine the extent of the contamination.


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.


DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects

By Tara Copp
April 26, 2018

The water at or around at least 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds, which have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants, the Pentagon has found.

In a March report provided to the House Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon for the first time publicly listed the full scope of the known contamination. The Defense Department identified 401 active and Base Closure and Realignment installations in the United States with at least one area where there was a known or suspected release of perfluorinated compounds.

These included 36 sites with drinking water contamination on-base, and more than 90 sites that reported either on-base or off-base drinking water or groundwater contamination, in which the water source tested above the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOS and PFOAs.


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.


Pentagon Classifies Study of F-35 Jet’s Challenges in Pacific

By Anthony Capaccio
April 25, 2018

The Pentagon classified an assessment of the major challenges the Marine Corps encountered in deploying the U.S.’s first F-35 jets to the Pacific, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

An unclassified version of the study released on Wednesday suggests the problems with the Lockheed Martin Corp. fighter — which would bolster U.S. capabilities in case of a conflict with North Korea — could be significant, touching on both critical software and supply chain issues.

“While the Marine Corps recognizes the advanced warfighting capabilities the F-35 will bring to the Pacific, it is facing challenges operating in the area,” according to the unclassified version. “In particular, it is uncertain how long the F-35 can effectively operate” if its software-intensive maintenance diagnostic system — critical for keeping the jets flying — “becomes disconnected from the aircraft,” according to the report.


With Older F-35s ‘On Life Support,’ Wing Struggles to Train Pilots

By Oriana Pawlyk
May 7, 2018

One of the busiest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training units is hoping the U.S. Air Force can help relieve some of the pressures of training student pilots with ineffective resources.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, the leading training wing for F-35 student pilots, hopes it will receive additional F-35A aircraft, along with considerable upgrades to its existing fleet, to keep up with training demands, said Col. Paul Moga, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

“Right now, production is king. We’ve got to find ways to solve this aircrew crisis, and our contribution to that is getting our students through the training program as quickly as possible,” Moga said, referring to the service’s ongoing pilot shortage.


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.”


Airport expansion into neighborhood

By Taylor Young
May 1, 2018

The Queen City is one step closer to building a hotel at the Burlington International Airport.

Monday night city officials approved the BTV Hotel ground lease. Alpha Inn Management is partnering with DEW Properties on the project. In the agreement, the two businesses will lease the property to the city of Burlington for up to two years and give the city a $100,000 deposit.


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.


Pentagon stops accepting F-35 jets from Lockheed over repair cost dispute

By Mike Stone
April 11, 2018

The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting most deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) because of a dispute over who will cover costs for fixing a production error, three people familiar with the matter said.

Lockheed confirmed on Wednesday that the Pentagon had halted deliveries of the jet over a contractual issue, but did not give further details.

Last year, the Pentagon stopped accepting F-35s for 30 days after discovering corrosion where panels were fastened to the airframe, an issue that affected more than 200 of the stealthy jets. Once a fix had been devised, the deliveries resumed, and Lockheed hit its target aircraft delivery numbers for 2017.

But deliveries were paused again over a dispute as to who will pay for what will likely be a complex logistical fix that could require technicians to travel widely to mend aircraft based around the world, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.


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

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

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

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

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

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


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.


Air Force Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren’t Cut

By Anthony Capaccio
March 28, 2018

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — now projected at $406 billion — the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes.

It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.


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.


F-35: Still No Finish Line in Sight

By: Dan Grazier
March 19, 2018

Jim Roche, then-Secretary of the Air Force, made an announcement on October 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for: a winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter. The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now. According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our Airmen and women into combat


Pentagon to move ahead with $3 billion F-35 upgrade program in 2018

By Andrea Shalal
March 23, 2016

The Pentagon expects to award contracts for a $3 billion, six-year effort to upgrade its newest warplane, the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet, by the end of 2018, the Air Force general who runs the $391 billion program said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan rejected a call by the Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress, to make the $3 billion project into a separate weapons program.

Michael Sullivan, director of defense weapons systems acquisition at GAO, told a hearing of the House Armed Services tactical and air land forces subcommittee that it would be difficult for Congress to oversee the upgrade unless it was carved out of the larger F-35 program.


Pentagon ‘Can’t Afford’ F-35’s Trillion Dollar Plus Sustainment Costs

March 3, 2018

“Right now, we can’t afford the sustainment costs we have on the F-35,” Ellen Lord, the new Defense Department undersecretary for defense acquisition and sustainment, told reporters this week. “And we are committed to changing that.”

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons program in US history and remains the Pentagon’s “most significant” program, according to Lord.

According to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “sustainment is a key component of performance. Including sustainment planning ‘up front’ enables the acquisition and requirements communities to provide a weapon system with optimal availability and reliability to the warfighter at value.”


Testing the Impact of Jet Noise on South Burlington School

By Cory Dawson
March 20, 2018

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

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

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

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


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 | SocialistWorker.org

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

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

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


New F-35 modernization plan could come with hefty $16B price tag

By Valerie Insinna
March 9, 2018

Under the F-35 joint program office’s latest plan, follow-on modernization for the Joint Strike Fighter could add up to a total of $16 billion, the Defense Department’s program head confirmed Wednesday.

Responding to questions from lawmakers about the price of implementing the new Continuous Capability Development and Delivery strategy, or C2D2, Vice Adm. Mat Winter acknowledged that U.S. and international customers could pay up to $10.8 billion for development and $5.4 billion for procurement of upgrades to the F-35 between fiscal years 2018 through 2024.

Last September at the Defense News conference, Winter announced that the JPO had re-envisioned the F-35’s follow on-modernization plan, also known as Block 4, as a more iterative process where software updates would be pumped out every six months. New computing systems, sensors and weapons would also be incorporated during the period.

Lawmakers to military: don’t buy another money pit like the F-35

By Matthew Cox
March 7, 2018

Lawmakers on Wednesday put senior military officials on the spot to explain how current acquisition reform efforts will prevent costly programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from becoming “too big to fail.”

Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with acquisition chiefs from the Army, Navy and Air Force to assess how the services are using new congressional authorities to streamline the bureaucratic policies and procedures that often prevent combat systems from being fielded efficiently.


F-35 Jet: Most Expensive Weapon Ever Will Need Another $16 Billion in Upgrades

By David Brennan
March 9, 2018

The F-35 stealth jet will need an additional $16 billion worth of upgrades and development, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has been told.

The F-35, made by Lockheed Martin, is already the most expensive weapons program of all time. It has now been revealed that the F-35 will need even more cash to stay at the front of fifth-generation fighter pack, Reuters reported.

The costs are part of a strategy to perform incremental software and modernization updates on the fighters, meaning they would not have to be taken out of service for several months at a time. It is estimated that the project will cost a total of $406.5 billion.


The F-35 Still Has a Long Way to Go before It Will Be Ready for Combat | The National Interest Blog

By Dan Grazier
March 8, 2018

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Dr. Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Dr. Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon, and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”


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.


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


By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 11, 2018

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

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

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


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.


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

By Kathy Buley

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

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


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.


F-35’s Harm to kids

By Linda Ayer
January 14, 2013

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


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

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

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

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


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): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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


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.


F-35 jet program budget exceeds $406 billion, yet universal healthcare too costly

By Ashley Curtin
January 5, 2018

While the F-35 jet program’s cost jumps to $406 billion from the original price tag of $379 billion, members of Congress continue to insist that the U.S. is “too broke” to increase spending on programs that intend to improve education and healthcare within the country.

In an updated draft, which will be submitted to Congress this week, Lockheed Martin is asking for an additional $27 billion for the F-35 jet program budget, which is almost a 7 percent increase, according to BloomsMag.

After Donald Trump raved about his ability to form “better deals” with weapons manufacturers, the F-35 jet program is still the U.S.’ most expensive weapons program to date, according to BloombergPolitics.

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump said in a press conference last January.


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

September 2003

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

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

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


Lockheed’s F-35 Fighters Will Cost $1.2 Trillion. After 16 Years, Only 50% Are Ready to Fly

January 24, 2018

Efforts to improve the reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed — a key metric — remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.


Air Force Bases & Toxic Chemicals

January 8, 2018

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

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

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


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.


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.


Nation “Too Broke” for Universal Healthcare to Spend $406 Billion More on F-35

By Jon Queally
July 10, 2017

There is always another $27 billion lying around, it seems, when Lockheed Martin needs more money for expensive weapons system

The nation’s most expensive weapons program isn’t done showing U.S. taxpayers how much it will ultimately cost them, with Bloomberg reporting Monday that the F-35 fighter jet budget is now predicted to jump by a cool $27 billion.

“Think about [F-35’s] $405 billion price tag when a family member dies of a preventable disease. Get angry.”

Though the estimated future cost of the program had previously hovered at a mind-boggling $379 billion, an updated draft that could be submitted to Congress as early as today will reportedly exceed $406 billion—a nearly 7 percent increase.

The new cost increases may come as a hit to President Donald Trump, who has bragged about his ability to get weapons manufacturers to offer the Pentagon “better deals.”


Noise may raise blood pressure risk

By Nicholas Bakalar
June 13, 2017

Airport noise could raise the risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Greek researchers studied 420 people living near Athens International Airport, where an average of 600 airplanes take off and land every day. Maps made during construction of the airport divided the surrounding area by noise level: less than 50 decibels, 50 to 60 decibels (60 decibels is about the noise level of a room air-conditioner), and more than 60 decibels, so researchers could track noise exposure precisely.

About two-thirds of the residents lived in the areas that regularly experienced noise at the 50- to 60-decibel level, and almost half of them had high blood pressure when the study began. Over the next 10 years, there were 71 newly diagnosed cases of hypertension.

The study, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that for each 10-decibel increase in noise at night, the risk of developing hypertension more than doubled. Cardiac arrhythmia was also associated with nighttime exposure.


Same Issue, Different State: A Very Bad Trend


Do you know who Kim Goodman is? You should want to know Kim Goodman because her story is about ready to be repeated 2,000 times in the Wittmann area.

I was contacted by Kim Goodman who lives in the Marietta, Georgia in an area not to far from Atlanta. Kim is one of 85 homeowners who FORMERLY resided in a subdivision near Dobbins Air Force Base. In 2006, their homes were rezoned without permission, with no notice of any meetings to rezone and no subsequent notification that their properties had been the victim of rezoning. Does this sound familiar? Shortly thereafter, the F-22’s began flying into Dobbins AFB near their homes.  Today, there are only 5 out of 85 home owners left who actually maintain their homes.  What happened to these 85 families should concern every citizen in our area in the West Valley.

In reality, nobody now actually lives in the Marietta subdivision. The 5 remaining homes are merely being maintained by the residents. That’s correct, 80 out of 85 homes have been foreclosed on as their owners were forced to vacate over health effects from the jet noise effects generated from landings and takeoffs from Dobbins AFB. The remaining five residents actually live in apartments and have kept some furniture in their homes in order to keep their local county from bulldozing their homes.


Potential Health Effects of Aircraft Noise

By Hales Swift
July 2010

Past noise research has related noise impact to the perception of annoyance and interference. More recent efforts have investigated further the potential health impacts of transportation noise. This literature review considers two potential pathways between aviation noise and health outcomes by presenting research that evaluates the role of sleep disruption and noise induced stress, and their relationship to possible cardiovascular outcomes. A brief review of the relationship between aircraft noise and annoyance, disturbance of communication, and disruption of learning are also presented in this report. The report includes a synopsis of past, current and potential future research studies.


Government watchdog: F-35 will take millions more, months longer than expected

By Alex Lockie
April 24, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Mondaywarning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational.

The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the code required for full warfighting potency.


Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.


GAO DOD debate claim F-35 software delay will add $1.7 billion

By Kyle Jahner

Law360, Washington (April 25, 2017, 4:05 PM EDT) — Testing delays for the software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will tack on at least another five months and $1.7 billion to the price tag of a program no stranger to overruns and delays, a government report released Monday said, as the Pentagon and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin pushed back.
In the report, the Government Accountability Office recommended the Pentagon use historical data to reassess the costs of completing the mission systems software known as Block 3F, and to complete Block 3F testing before soliciting proposals for the next phase of the software, Block 4, for a jet that the Department of Defense now projects to have a total procurement cost of around $400 billion.

“If baseline development is not prioritized and adequately funded, and costs increase as predicted by GAO and others, then the program will have less recourse for action and development could be further delayed,” the report said. “In addition, with baseline development still ongoing the program will not likely have the knowledge it needs to present a sound business case for soliciting contractor proposals for Block 4 development in fiscal year 2017.”


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.


Trump McCain take aim at F-35 program

By Aaron Gregg
January 11, 2017

In his first press conference since winning the presidential election in November, Donald Trump again took aim at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

His latest comments followed a tweet last month about the F-35’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” The president-elect said he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump reiterated Wednesday. “And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane to be even better, and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing. So we’ve been very very much involved.”

Trump offered few details before moving on. But the 30 seconds or so he devoted to the topic jolted stocks at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two companies primarily responsible for the F-35 and F-18 programs respectively, though both recovered throughout the day.


Lockheed Martin tells Trump F-35 costs will be lower

By Aaron Gregg
January 13, 2017

Emerging from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on Friday, Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters that the Bethesda, Md.-based defense giant is close to a new contract deal that would cut the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and also create jobs.

“We had the opportunity to talk to [Trump] about the F-35 program, and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said. “So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”


Trump wants at least 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} cut in F-35 costs

January 18, 2017

The chairman of a key subcontractor in the F-35 program told Bloomberg News Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump wants to reduce the cost of the project by at least 10 percent.

“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of the aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into the double digits over a period,” Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems Plc, said. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”

Trump has been an outspoken critic of the price tag for projects like the F-35 fleet and the new Air Force One.

In December, Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” He did not go into specific details, but aviation experts pointed out differences in the two planes…for one, the F-18 is not stealth.


Defense Secretary targets costly F-35, Air Force One

By Tom Vanden Brook
Jan. 27, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review on how to save costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s most costly weapons-buying effort in history.

Mattis’ memo, sent on Thursday, also calls on the military to determine whether the F-18 fighter can be modified to provide a “cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative.”

The Defense chief also directed the Pentagon to look for ways to save money for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which is responsible for developing a replacement for the current presidential aircraft, which goes by the call sign Air Force One when the president is aboard.


F35 Deal-Unlikely to save $

By Mandy Smithberger
January 30, 2017

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement today that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from the F-35 program, Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Fellow at POGO’s Straus Military Reform Project, said:

“Although this appears to be a victory for those concerned about out-of-control costs of the F-35 program, these savings don’t really exist. The American people will end up paying even more for the unproven jets in the future.

The so-called savings announced today are little more than the bulk-rate discount for the next yearly purchase of 90 aircraft. If this ‘concession’ is predicated on committing taxpayers to a multiyear buy, it will only further compound the waste of public funds on this program.


Wish List Adds Billions for Aircraft

by Valerie Insinna
January 31, 2017

An update to the US Air Force’s 2017 wish list bumps its unfunded requirements to $10.6 billion, with the service seeking funding for more F-35s and a light attack aircraft experiment, among other new efforts.

Congress has not passed a defense spending bill for 2017, opting instead to extend current funding until April — a tactic that gives the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled legislative branch time to figure out how to direct the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. The services have responded by enlarging their own unfunded priorities lists to reflect growing demands.


UK faces massive rise in costs to fix stealth fighter

By Ewen MacAskill
Feb. 4, 2017

Britain is being forced to pour millions of pounds of new funds into the troubled F-35 stealth fighter programme being developed in America and considered a vital part of the UK’s future defences.

The F-35, being built by the US in partnership with countries including the UK, is the costliest weapon ever developed by the Pentagon. It is scheduled to go into service in the UK in 2018 and into full production in 2019, and is intended to be a cornerstone of UK defences for decades to come, flying off two new aircraft carriers.

But huge problems remain unresolved, in particular with the F-35’s advanced software, on which the whole project rests. The software is supposed to be the plane’s “brain”, running everything from ensuring a steady supply of parts to relaying masses of data to the pilot’s visor during combat.


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.


Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.


Trump targets F-35 program

By Damian Paletta and Doug Cameron
December 12, 2016

Donald Trump took aim at the Pentagon’s costliest program on Monday, saying on Twitter the “program and cost” of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “is out of control.”

This is the second defense program in recent days the president-elect has unloaded on for cost issues. Last week, Mr. Trump claimed the government’s second-largest defense contractor, Boeing Co., had run up costs in the development of new Air Force One aircraft.


Trump Tweet Targets F-35 Overruns

By Kyle Midura

December 12, 2016

The battle over bringing the F-35 fighter jet to Burlington took a turn Monday with a tweet by President-elect Donald Trump.

Just before a pair of F-35s touched down in Israel, a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump sent the manufacturer’s stock into a free-fall. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he wrote, “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

The F-35 accounted for 20-percent of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue last year. Morning trading saw shares in the company fall by more than 4-percent.

Some estimates place the cost of designing and building the planes at $400 billion — currently costing more than $100 million per plane.

Eighteen of the planes are set to land in Vermont in 2019. Vermont Air National Guard officials say they won’t speculate on the meaning of Trump’s tweet or what it means for the jets’ future here. They passed our request for comment to the Department of Defense.


F-35 unit cost

By Winslow Wheeler
December 22, 2016

On Dec. 12, 2016, president-elect Donald Trump asserted that F-35 unit cost was “out of control” through his preferred medium Twitter. On Dec. 19, 2016, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter project, gave the press his version of things.

Multiple media outlets passed along the officer’s comments, but with no analysis of the completeness and accuracy of Bogdan’s assertions. The reports offered no context or alternative views on the stealth fighter’s actual cost per plane.

The general said each one of the Air Force’s F-35A would cost $102.1 million, while both the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and and U.S. Navy’s F-35Cs would set the taxpayer back 132 million each. Those costs average to approximately $122 million for a “generic” F-35.

Bogdan got these numbers from the funds Congress set aside in the 2015 defense budget for what the Pentagon called “Lot 9,” just one of a number of planned F-35 purchases. In November 2016, the U.S. military was still negotiating the final deal with plane-maker Lockheed Martin.

Needless to say, the unit costs Bogdan gave the media were incomplete.


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 VTDigger.com 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 SaveOurSkiesVT.org.

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.


US Voters Favor Cutting Carrier, F-35, Overall Defense Spending

By Andrew W. Clevenger
March 8, 2016

A majority of Americans favor cutting the US defense budget in five out of seven key areas, including nuclear weapons and missile defense, according to a new University of Maryland survey released March 9.

Nationally, a majority supports modest budget cuts to air power ($2 billion), ground forces ($4 billion), naval forces ($2 billion), nuclear weapons ($3 billion) and missile defense ($1 billion). No majority emerged for either cutting or increasing the budgets of the Marine Corps or Special Ops forces.

In total, a majority of respondents would cut the defense budget by $12 billion. When broken down by party, a majority of Republican respondents would leave the defense budget as is, while the majority of Democrats would cut it by $36 billion (including $11 billion cuts to both air power and ground forces), a larger cut than the $20 billion cut supported by a majority of Independents.


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.


Money for lobbyists to find military missions

By David Wichner
Feb. 28, 2016

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base would start losing its A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets as soon as the fall of 2018 under a new plan to retire the entire A-10 fleet by 2022.

The Air Force said in early February it would delay its proposed retirement of the A-10 ‘Warthog’ – a close-air-support jet that represents a mainstay of D-M operations – until 2022. Earlier attempts by the Air Force to mothball the jet by 2019 were turned back by Congress.

That announcement was cheered by A-10 backers in Congress, including Arizona Sen.John McCainand Rep. Martha McSally ,a Tucson Republican and former A-10 combat pilot, who led efforts that halted A-10 retirements the Air Force had initially sought to start in 2015.


New planes but no more airmen

By Phillip Swarts
Feb. 22, 2016

The Air Force is asking for an increase of $1.3 billion to its main operating budget in fiscal 2017, but it doesn’t increase end strength, according to budget documents released Feb. 9.

Top brass has requested $120.4 billion for FY2017, leaving Air Force end strength to about 490,000 airmen; the service will remain the smallest it has been since it was created. But the Air Force sounded the alarm Feb. 9 about its increasing responsibilities and the budget’s inability to keep up.


Sanders’ position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

By Sarah Sicard
Jan. 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.”


Bernie Backs Trillion Dollar Weapon System

By Ben Armbruster
Feb. 17, 2016

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders is campaigning on a promise to change American politics in such a way that benefits the middle class and working families at the expense of corporate greed and influence.

“I am asking you to be part of a political revolution,” Bernie told his supporters last summer. “A revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.”

While some have wondered how Bernie’s revolution will stand up to the realities of governing should he win the White House, what’s often been overlooked is the fact that the Vermont Independent has had plenty of opportunities to buck the system as a U.S. Senator. He has not always taken those opportunities, instead siding with big corporations at the expense of the taxpayer.

Nowhere is this more evident than his unwavering support for one of the biggest boondoggles in U.S. military history: the F-35.


The Comanche and the Albatross

By Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF
May-June 2014

The Air Force intended eventually to replace much of the post-Vietnam fighter fleet with the F-35A. This stealthy aircraft possesses advanced technology and was intended to be no more expensive than the aircraft it was designed to supplant. The Air Force sought to buy 1,763 F-35As—the number required to replace every F-16, A-10, and F-117 then in service. Rather than an affordable, capable fighter aircraft operational in large numbers by 2015, the F-35 continues to arrive late and cost more than anticipated. Program delays, unmet performance requirements, and spiraling costs have recently run full tilt into an austere budgetary environment. Budgetary realities should serve as an impetus to reexamine the Air Force’s participation in the F-35 program and the future of the fighter force.


Thunder without Lightning: The high costs and limited benefits of the F-35

By Bill French

August 2015

The National Security Network (NSN) is pleased to release a new policy report, Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35. According to our analysis, the F-35 lacks the capabilities to execute its primary mission, and costs too much relative to its predecessors. The Department of Defense should examine ways to reduce its commitment to this albatross of an acquisition program.

From the report:

“To perform against near-peer adversaries, the F-35 will have to be capable of executing a range of missions, from defeating enemy aircraft to penetrating enemy air defenses to strike surface targets. But the F-35 will struggle to effectively perform these missions due to shortcomings in its design and program requirements, despite costing between three and nine times more than the 4th-generation aircraft it is designed to replace.

The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”


Pentagon to cut purchase of F-35 jets

By Zacks Equity Research

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it plans to purchase fewer F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT – Analyst Report) over the next five years, than it had originally planned.

Pentagon’s Plans for the F-35 Jets

Importantly, the Pentagon was forced to cut approximately $4 billion from the F-35 program and other aircraft programs in fiscal 2017, and slash billions of dollars from other procurement accounts to meet the Congress budget deal.

The Pentagon remains committed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, worth $391 billion, which is the single largest weapons program. However, purchases for the program are expected to slow down a little over the next five years. The Pentagon’s next five-year plan, beginning fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020, covers the purchase of 299 jets (down by 37 units from the previous expectation). However, the major spurt in orders is not expected to come until the projected purchase of 105 fighter jets in fiscal 2021.


AF plans to keep A-10s and buy fewer F-35s

By Bryant Jordan
Feb 09, 2016

The Air Force on Tuesday released a 2017 budget geared to rebalance the force and counter readiness problems resulting from years of deployments, personnel shortages and sequester-forced spending caps that have cut into modernization programs across the board.

At $167 billion, the service’s budget is roughly $5 billion more than was appropriated for fiscal 2016, according to Air Force figures that show end strength will remain unchanged from the current year at 317,000 airmen.


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.


F-35 Sonic Booms heard from NJ to CT

By Associated Press
Jan 28, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sonic booms heard and felt along the eastern shoreline were caused by military fighter jets conducting tests, officials said.

An F-35C, which has a top speed of nearly 1,200 mph, and an F-18 from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland were conducting supersonic testing off the coast Thursday afternoon, according to a Navy spokeswoman.

Residents reported hearing loud booms and feeling the ground and buildings shake from New Jersey to Long Island. The booms were heard as far away as Connecticut.


F-35 production may have to slow

By Aaron Mehta
December 14, 2015

ThePentagonexpectstomake“disproportionate” cuts to modernization and research and development funding in its fiscal 2017 budget request, while personnel and readiness remain stable, according to the department’s top acquisition official. Those cuts may well include a slowdown in F-35 production.

Overall, the cuts could slow down the much ballyhooed “Third Offset” strategy, identified by Defense Secretary Ash Carter as key to maintaining America’s military technological dominance.


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.


Pentagon might cut 2017 F-35 Budget

By Larry Darrell
Dec 3, 2015

Lockheed Martin Corporation’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 project has come under renewed question, as the Pentagon mulls a reduction in its budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). The Congress is expected to propose some budget caps that might directly impact the F-35’s budget, as the government spreads its finances toward other projects as well.

Although the total defense budget is not expected to be reduced, the F-35, among various other projects would receive reduced government spending. Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, announced in an industry conference, “Dollar for dollar it probably gives us more combat capability than any other investment that we’re making, but we’ve got a lot of other things that we need to do as well.”


Bomber cost could upset F-35 plans

By Jeff Schogol
November 10, 2015

The F-35 is going to eat up so much of the Air Force’s procurement budget going forward that the service will likely have to reduce the number of joint strike fighters it buys to pay for other things, such as the Long Range Strike-Bomber, experts said on Tuesday.

As part of the Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35s this fiscal year, 48 in fiscal 2017 and 60 each year from fiscal 2018 through 2020, budget documents show. The total procurement cost of the 1,763 F-35s is about $215 billion.


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

Lockheed gets $5.37 billion for F-35

By Christopher P. Cavas
November 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — With a preliminary agreement in hand, negotiations between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon for the Joint Strike Fighter Lot IX Joint Strike low-rate initial production contract continue, and a final agreement is expected next month, JSF Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said Wednesday.

Under an “undefinitized contractual action” (UCA) agreed on Tuesday, $625 million in fiscal year 2015 money is being moved to Lockheed to cover company expenses spent thus far on the Lot IX aircraft. The full contract is being negotiated under a not-to-exceed limit of $5.37 billion.


Trump confuses B-3 with F-35

Trump Confuses Long Range Strike Bomber With F 35  VIDEO    The Daily CallerBy STEVE GUEST
November 5, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claims to be the “the best in terms of the military,” confused the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program with the B-3 Long Range Strike Bomber program.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if America needs a strategic bomber or “should we just stick with submarines and missiles?” Trump then criticized the beleaguered F-35 program.


Pentagon Re-considers F-35 Buy

November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — For years, the Pentagon was inflexible when talking about the number of F-35s it wants to buy — 2,443 — pushing back against any suggestions that it should trim that shopping list. But no more.

The high price tag of the F-35, a Lockheed Martin aircraft whose engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, based in East Hartford, Conn., has made some Pentagon officials consider whether the Defense Department can afford as many of the Joint Strike Fighters as they had once planned.


Trump wants to fire F-35

By Tyler Rogoway
October 30, 2015

Presidential candidate Donald Trump is finally offering some specifics when it comes to defense policy, and on conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program today he floated the possibility of cancelling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program if he gets elected.

According to the Air Force Times, Trump said: “When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” He continued, “I do hear that it’s not very good… I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”


Trump wants to Fire the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 30, 2015

Donald Trump wants to tell the F-35 that it’s fired.

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate questioned the wisdom of purchasing the joint strike fighter during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.


Airmen See Better Ways to Spend Scarce Resources

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

Questions about the cost of the F-35 helmet come at a time when budget pressures have forced the Air Force to make radical cuts to end strength, modernization and training. The result is a concern that more than half of the force is “not sufficiently ready” for highend battle, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said.

What’s more, due to forced drawdowns, airmen are struggling to keep up with the pace required to keep planes in the air after more than a dozen years of war.

The result is a weary force aching for a break. That’s led some airmen to look for expensive projects that siphon off the resources they could use to spread the workload, get the proper training — or just relax a bit.


McCain: Have to Reduce F-35 Total Buy

By Aaron Mehta
November 2, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, R-Ariz., said Oct. 21 the U.S. will have to cut the numbers of F-35 fighter jets it will purchase.

In a brief comment to reporters, McCain seemed to signal that the total projected buy for the Pentagon’s most costly and ambitious program — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — is out of whack with budget realities. He said that cost growth in the program will mean fewer jets overall.

“We’re going to have to reduce the buy,” he said. “The number they are now quoting — there’s just not going to be that many.”


F-35 Helmet Costs $400,000

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

When the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, finally takes to the skies on its first official mission, it will be one of the most advanced and one of the most expensive planes ever.

And the pilots flying the aircraft will be wearing the most advanced and most expensive helmet ever.

The helmet will give pilots quicker access to the information they need to see and has special cameras to “see” through the bottom of the plane. But it will cost an estimated $400,000 per helmet — more than four times as much as the Air Force paid for head wear for other aircraft such as the F-16.

Helmets for all the F-35s scheduled to be purchased will cost at least $1billion, Air Force Times estimates.


Full-year CR could stifle modernization

By Lara Seligman
October 12, 2015

Top Air Force officials have continued to hammer home the message that if the Pentagon is forced to operate under a stopgap spending measure next year, the service’s ability to buy new aircraft and modernize its existing fleet is in peril.

Congress passed a 10-week continuing resolution Sept. 30 to keep the government operating until Dec. 11. But if the next step is a fullyear continuing resolution, the Air Force’s nightmares may come true.


Cost of F-35 Mentioned on The Ring Of Fire

The cost of the F-35 starts at the 6:10 minute point.

Vago’s Notebook: F-35 Progress

The challenges tend to obscure progress for major programs like the joint strike fighter, but the JSF has been on a winning streak.


Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

By Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.


Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.


F-35 Court Hearing on Public Health Risk in Vermont

AUG. 24 2015

RUTLAND — A group of Vermonters continued to battle the scheduled deployment of next-generation fighter jets to the Vermont Air National Guard base in federal court Monday.

Thousands have told the U.S. Air Force during a public comment period in 2013 that basing the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington would create noise problems in the state’s most densely populated area.

[Full Article]

Military Operations Damage Communities and Environment

By Steven Aftergood
Aug.11, 2015

The environmental impacts of military operations are increasingly becoming factors in the planning and execution of military activities.

“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment,” according to a newly revised and reissued Army doctrinal manual. See Environmental Considerations, ATP 3-34.5, August 10, 2015.

Of course, military operations by their nature are not environment-friendly. “The primary mission of the military is to fight and win wars. Warfare is destructive to humans and to the natural environment.”

[Full Article]

After sprawl threatened relocation, plan to keep Oceana deemed a success

By John Holland
August 19, 2015

Predictions of doom bounced around City Hall in the summer of 2005 and landed on the front page in bold, desperate headlines. People were scared, and for good reason.

Oceana Naval Air Station and its 12,000 jobs were on the Defense Department’s critical list, threatened with closure in large part because the surrounding area had become too residential, too commercial and, ultimately, too dangerous: too dangerous for the fighter pilots who practiced landings and maneuvers that they’d use fighting two wars, and too dangerous for the residents who could be wiped out if anything went wrong on those training missions.

[Full Article]

Lockheed Received $431 million to support F-35 Production Ramp Up

Aug 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin has received $431 million for special tooling and test equipment to support the ramp up of F-35 production over the coming years.

The hefty sum was awarded as a modification to the current Lot 8 production contract, and comes as Lockheed and the Pentagon negotiate the purchase of approximately 150 domestic and international aircraft in Lots 9 and 10.

[Full Article]

More F-35 Training Systems Ordered from Cubic Global Defense

By Richard Tomkins
Aug. 20, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Cubic Global Defense is to produce and enhance the Air Combat Training System in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the company has announced.

Included in the work contracted by Lockheed Martin Aerospace is the addition of an internally mounted sub-system of the P5 Combat Training System, or P5CTS, that enables the F-35 to maintain its stealth characteristics while training.

[Full Article]

Pentagon denies F-35 numbers

By Aaron Mehta
August 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is not conducting a formal review of F-35 planned procurement numbers, a spokesman said Tuesday, despite comments by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that indicate otherwise.

In written testimony for his nomination hearing last month, Gen. Joe Dunford seemed to signal that a review of the total projected buy of the F-35 — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — was underway.

[Full Article]

The most expensive weapon in history must get more affordable – The Boston Globe

By The Editorial Board
July 30, 2015

THINKING BIG doesn’t always pay, especially when it comes to military procurement. Complex, aspirational weapons systems are irresistible to military brass, because they keep budget dollars flowing for years on end. Members of Congress like them too, especially when they can locate a manufacturing facility inside their district.

But weapons systems with too many new bells and whistles get mired in cost overruns, delays, and technical challenges. All too often, they take so long to develop that they are no longer cutting edge when they come on line. That’s the case with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a state-of-the-art radar-eluding plane set to take to the skies this month after several years of delay. The plane, which was commissioned in 2001, has been beset with engine problems, software glitches, and flaws in its fuel system. Each issue that had to be fixed drove up the cost. Today, the F-35 costs roughly twice what the US military thought it would back in 2001.

[Full Article]

Warplanes Produce Deadly Noise

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout
July 27, 2015

“This is a public health emergency that is literally killing people.”

This stark, shocking warning about the US Navy’s war-gaming in the Pacific Northwest comes from Dr. James Dahlgren, a doctor of occupational and environmental medicine who is also a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

He spoke with Truthout about how Navy warplanes flying in and out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, as well as the Navy’s OLF [Outlying Field] Coupeville in Washington State’s Puget Sound, are generating chronic exposure to noise levels well in excess of 80 decibels.

[Full Article]


Secretary of the Air Force acknowledges wide range of problems with the F-35

By Richard Sisk
Jul 28, 2015

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has admitted to a wide range of past and present problems with the F-35 while maintaining that the fifth-general will eventually guarantee the U.S. continued air supremacy over rivals.

“The biggest lesson I have learned from the F-35 is never again should we be flying an aircraft while we’re building it,” James said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last week.

[Full Article]

Military Carbon Footprint

By Lisa Savage
July 12, 2015

I oppose wars and militarism of policing because they are morally wrong. People suffer from state-sponsored violence in their lives and I do not want to fund it, tolerate it or ignore it.

But “join me in opposing war because it is wrong” is not a very effective message in these times.

One must counter immense spending on propaganda constantly persuading fellow citizens that investment in weapons of mass destruction, and basing an economy on “security” and surveillance, makes everyone safer. Along with regularly orchestrated (and well-funded) terror events and squads designed to keep fear high.

[Full Article]

Okinawins pay residents for military aircraft noise

June 11, 2015

The Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court ordered the government on Thursday to pay some ¥754 million in damages to residents near the Futenma air base because of aircraft noise.

Some 2,200 plaintiffs who live close to the controversial U.S. base in Ginowan complained of mental distress, poor sleep and disruption to their daily lives.

[Full Article]

Is the F-35 worth the cost?

By Zachary Cohen
July 16, 2015

Three years behind schedule and some $200 billion over its original budget, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is finally set to become operational this month.

The fighter jet has been in development for nearly 15 years, weathered half a dozen years of testing and experienced myriad hardware malfunctions and software glitches along the way. Once it’s declared ready for combat, it will be the most expensive weapons system in world history.

[Full Article]

Pentagon to purchase $47 billion F-35

By the Motley Fool
July 12, 2015

For all its troubles, Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 joint stealth fighter remains a very popular warplane — both here and abroad.

Over the next 60 years, Lockheed Martin aims to sell as many as 5,100 F-35s to customers around the globe. And as we just learned from DoDBuzz, one single Pentagon contract could bring Lockheed 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the way toward scoring that goal.

What’s the buzz? In the course of last month’s Paris Airshow, reports DoDBuzz, Lockheed revealed that it’s currently negotiation with the U.S. Pentagon to win an order for 500 F-35 stealth fighter jets. This “block buy” of fighter jets would cover more planes than the Pentagon needs right now. In fact, it would stretch across three years’ worth of orders, from 2018 through 2021.

[Full Article]

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 www.stopthef35.com.   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:

AF to use Reserves as F-35 Maintainers

By Brian Everstine
July 9, 2015

The Air Force plans to turn to the Air Force Reserve for manpower to bring the F-35 online after Congress blocked the service’s attempt to free up maintainers through retirement of the A-10, the head of Air Force Reserve Command said Tuesday.

“The active duty has a pretty significant shortage in maintainers, and keeping the A-10 means that those maintainers will have to stay with those [units] and not be able to retrain,” Lt. Gen. James Jackson said at an Air Force Association speech in Arlington, Virginia.

[Full Article]

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]

Air Force would like to replace the A-10 but doesn’t have the funds

By Brian Everstine
April 22, 2015

The Air Force wants a less costly next-generation aircraft for close air support to replace the A-10, but there is no funding available for it and there likely will not be in the future, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Wednesday .

Given a better budget environment, the service would want a new aircraft that could primarily focus on providing close support for ground troops, carry a lot of ordnance and do so more cheaply than other aircraft in the service’s fleet, Welsh said. But it is not a realistic proposal today, he said.

[Full Article]

Keeping A-10 means F-35 delays, F-16 cuts

By Brian Everstine
April 28, 2015

If not allowed to retire the A-10, the Air Force says it will have to send F-16s to the boneyard and delay plans for the F-35 because there aren’t enough airmen to maintain both fighters.

If lawmakers succeed in passing a bill requiring the Air Force to keep the A-10 in its fleet for another year, too few maintenance personnel would available to stand up the first operating unit of the F-35 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and even fewer to continue maintenance of the F-16, the service told congressional staff in a recent briefing. The base is expected to begin receiving F-35s later this year.

[Full Article]

New Red Alert for Billions-Over-Budget F-35 Fighter

By Brianna Ehley
April 27, 2015

Federal auditors are once again sounding alarms over the Pentagon’s embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has soared hundreds of billions of dollars over budget.

Besides being the Defense Department’s most expensive weapons program ever, countless problems with the F-35, including design and systematic issues, have continually pushed back the ready-for-combat date. It is now years behind schedule.

[Full Article]

David Axe Summarizes the F-35 Experience

By David Axe
April 25, 2015

From all the recent sounds of celebrating coming out of Washington, D.C., you might think the Pentagon’s biggest, priciest and most controversial warplane development had accelerated right past all its problems.

The price tag —currently an estimated $1 trillion to design, build and operate 2,400 copies—is steadily going down. Production of dozens of the planes a year for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps is getting easier. Daily flight tests increasingly are hitting all the right marks.

[Full Article]

Ship built by Navy for F35 needs significant upgrades

By Tyler Rogoway
April 13, 2015

The Navy’s USS America, the first of her class, was controversially optimized to handle the F-35, leaving out the multi-purpose well deck traditionally found on ‘Gator Navy’ flattops. Now, just months after her commissioning, she already needs 40 weeks of upgrades just to handle the very aircraft she was designed for.

The F-35 program has become something of a dark comedy. Yes, it has huge fiscal and national security implications, but sometimes you just have to laugh at how big of a fumbling mess it really is.

[Full Article]

USAF Plans for Radical F-35 Upgrade Reveal Obsolescence

By Giovanni de Briganti
April 8, 2015

PARIS — US Air Force plans to replace the F-35 fighter’s avionics, radar and engines are an implicit admission that the current aircraft is already obsolete and that, despite a unit cost of over $250 million, it cannot match the latest foreign fighters coming into service.

This is the first time a customer acknowledges that the obsolescence of the F-35’s sensors has degraded the aircraft’s still unproven nominal capabilities to the point that a radical upgrade is necessary, more than a year before it enters service.

[Full Article]

Not Ready for Prime Time DOT&E Report: The F-35 is not ready for IOC and won’t be any time soon

March 12, 2015

Inside-the-Beltway wisdom holds that the $1.4 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is too big to cancel and on the road to recovery. But the latest report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) provides a litany of reasons that conventional wisdom should be considered politically driven propaganda. The press has already reported flawed software that hinders the ability of the plane to employ weapons, communicate information, and detect threats; maintenance problems so severe that the F-35 has an “overdependence” on contractor maintainers and “unacceptable workarounds” (behind paywall) and is only able to fly twice a week; and a high-rate, premature production schedule that ignores whether the program has demonstrated essential combat capabilities or proven it’s safe to fly. All of these problems are increasing costs and risks to the program. Yet rather than slow down production to focus resources on fixing these critical problems, Congress used the year-end continuing resolution omnibus appropriations bill—termed the “cromnibus”—to add 4 additional planes to the 34 Department of Defense (DoD) budgeted for Fiscal Year 2015. The original FY2016 plan significantly increased the buy to 55, and now the program office is further accelerating its purchase of these troubled planes to buy 57 instead.

[full article]

Aircraft noise linked with heart problems

Aircraft noise linked with heart problems,” a Harvard  School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health study linking aircraft noise to increase in cardiovascular disease in older people.

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

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

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

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

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment

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

Report Endangered Health- Threat From F-35 Basing

Report Endangered Health- Threat From F-35 Basing… 50{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the children in the 65 dB noise zone will suffer cognitive impairment. Additionally, altering neurotransmitter levels can lead to psychiatric disorders later in life for these children.” Endangered Health: The Threat to Public Health from the Proposed F-35 Basing at Burlington International Airport Current scientific consensus confirms that health effects of aviation noise, in both children and adults, are far more severe than the Air Force acknowledges

Low Frequency Noise:A Major Risk Factor in Military Operations

Low Frequency Noise:A Major Risk Factor in Military Operations,” Low frequency (below 500HZ) military jet noise: a major problem that has received little attention, “Usually the concern is with the higher frequency bands (> 500 Hz) that cause hearing damage or interfere with speech. Protection against noise is thus focused on these higher frequencies, while the bands of lower frequencies (< 500 Hz) are neglected, and non-audible bands, infrasound (< 20Hz) are ignored. In reality, long-term exposure to low frequency noise (<500 Hz, including infrasound) (LFN) can be quite detrimental to one’s health… Immediate effects of LFN-exposure can include a) decreased capacity for cognitive functions, which implies a decline in performance, the consequences of which can be minor to devastating; b) sudden onset of acute respiratory problems, neurological disturbances, and mood alterations, such as, rage reactions. Cumulative effects of LFN-exposure can include triggering of early aging processes, and the development of vibroacoustic disease in susceptible (70{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) individuals. Early compulsory retirement is a frequent situation.

Characterization of Ambient Air Toxics in Neighborhoods Abutting T. F. Green Airport [Rhode Island] and Comparison Sites

Characterization of Ambient Air Toxics in Neighborhoods Abutting T. F. Green Airport [Rhode Island] and Comparison Sites,” Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Office of Air Resources, April 2008, results indicate aircraft air pollution and increased cancer risk in neighborhoods abutting T. F. Green Airport.

Noise Exposure Standards to Prevent Hearing Loss

Occupational Noise Exposure,”

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

noise-exposure-durations solve-puzzle-noise

Children and Noise – World Health Organization

Children and Noise,” World Health Organization

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

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

New Data: How Much Does an F-35 Actually Cost?

By Winslow Wheeler
An Air Force F-35A costs $148 million, each.
A Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million.
A Navy F-35C costs $337 million.
A “generic” F-35 costs $178 million (the average for the three models).
These are production costs only; additional expenses for research, development, test and evaluation are not included.  The dollars are 2015 dollars.
Explanation and elaboration follow.
Find this piece at Medium.com’s War Is Boring at https://medium.com/war-is-boring/how-much-does-an-f-35-actually-cost-21f95d239398 and below.
How Much Does an F-35 Actually Cost?
The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But to find out exactly how much a single F-35 costs, we analyzed the newest and most authoritative data.
Here’s how much we’re paying.
A single Air Force F-35A costs a whopping $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs an unbelievable $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
It gets worse. These are just the production costs. Additional expenses for research, development, test and evaluation are not included. The dollars are 2015 dollars. This data was just released by the Senate Appropriations Committee in its report for the Pentagon’s 2015 appropriations bill.
Except for the possibility that the F-35 Joint Program Office might complain that the F-35A number might be a little too low, these numbers are about as complete, accurate and authoritative as they can be.
Moreover, each of the other defense committees on Capitol Hill agree or-with one exception-think each model will be more expensive. The Pentagon’s numbers for these unit costs-in every case-are higher.
The methodology for calculating these F-35 unit costs is straightforward. Both the president’s budget and each of four congressional defense committees publish the amounts to be authorized or appropriated for each model of the F-35, including the number of aircraft to be bought.
The rest is simple arithmetic: Divide the total dollars for each model by the quantity.
Purchase price
There are just two things F-35 watchers need to be careful about.
First, it’s necessary to add the funding from the previous year’s appropriation act to the procurement money the government allocated for 2015. This is “advance procurement” for 2015 spending, and pays for “long lead” components that take longer to acquire.
Second, we have to add the cost of Navy and Air Force modifications.
For the F-35, these costs are for fixing mistakes already found in the testing process. With the aircraft still in its initial testing, the modification costs to existing aircraft are very low. But the 2015 amounts for modifications are surrogates for what the costs for this year’s buy might be. If anything, this number can be an under-estimate.
The Senate Appropriations Committee sent its report to the printer on July 17, and that data is informed by the latest advice from the Pentagon, which is routinely consulted for the data the committee is working with. The Pentagon is also given an opportunity to appeal to change both data and recommendations.
Accordingly, of the four congressional defense committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee numbers are the most up to date. For the most part, these numbers are also the lowest.
The data from all four defense committees, the Pentagon’s budget request, and the final 2014 appropriations-all for the F-35 program-are in the table at the end of this article. This data is the empirical, real-world costs to buy, but not to test or develop, an F-35 in 2015.
They should be understood to be the actual purchase price for 2015-what the Pentagon will have to pay to have an operative F-35.
It’s very simple, and it’s also not what program advocates want you to think.
In a briefing delivered to reporters on June 9, F-35 developer Lockheed still advertised the cost of airplanes sans engines. Highly respected Aviation Week reported on July 22 that taxpayers put up $98 million for each F-35A in 2013.
In reality, we actually paid $188 million.
Some of these numbers are for the airframe only. In other cases, you get a “flyaway” cost. But in fact, those airplanes are incapable of operative flight. They lack the specialized tools, simulators, logistics computers-and much, much more-to make the airplane useable. They even lack the fuel to fly away.
Rising costs
Here’s another curious fact. The unit costs of the Marines’ short-takeoff, vertical-landing B-model and the Navy’s aircraft-carrier-capable C-model are growing.
The cost of an F-35B grew from $232 million in 2014 to a bulging $251 million by 2015. The cost of the Navy’s F35C grew from $273 million in 2014 to a wallet-busting $337 million by 2015.
The quantity numbers for the F-35B have not changed, remaining at six per year. The number of F-35Cs to be produced has slipped from four to two, but surely learning processes on the F-35 line have not been going so far backward as to explain a 23 percent, $64 million per unit cost increase.
Something else is going on.
That something just might be in the F-35A line. Note the 15 percent decline in the F-35 unit price from 2014: from $174 million to $148 million. The units produced increase from 19 to 26, which Bogdan repeatedly explained will bring cost reductions due to “economy of scale.”
However, is that what’s really occurring in the F-35A line, while F-35B and F-35C costs are ballooning? Should not some of the benefit in F-35A production efficiency also show up on the F-35B and F-35C? Lockheed builds all three on the same assembly line in Fort Worth.
It could be that the F-35B and F-35C are bearing the overheard-or other costs-of the F-35A.
Why else would an F-35B with a stable production rate increase by $19 million per unit, and how else could the cost to build an F-35C-in production for six years-increase by $64 million per unit?
Even those who reject that someone might be cooking the books to make F-35A costs look as good as possible to Congress-and all-important foreign buyers-there should be a consensus that the program needs a comprehensive, fully independent audit.
Surely, an audit will help Congress and Pentagon leadership better understand why F-35B and F-35C prices are going up when they were supposed to be going down-and to ensure there is nothing untoward going on in any part of the program.
The defense world is full of price scams, each of them engineered to come up with the right answer for whoever is doing the talking.
Next time an advocate tells you what the current unit cost is for a program, ask: “What is Congress appropriating for them this year?” And, “How many are we buying?” Then get out your calculator. The result might surprise you.
The aforementioned mentioned table follows:
2015 Congressional Defense Committee and DOD Recommendations for F-35 Procurement
($Millions, 2015 Dollars)
2014 Appropriations
(2014 Dollars)
2015 DOD Request
F-35A Procurement
Previous Year AP
Modification of Aircraft
Subtotal $
Unit Cost
F-35B Procurement
Previous Year AP
Modification of Aircraft
Subtotal $
Unit Cost
F-35C Procurement
Previous Year AP
Modification of Aircraft
Subtotal $
Unit Cost
Grand Total $
Generic F-35 Unit Cost
Winslow T. Wheeler
Straus Military Reform Project
Center for Defense Information
Project On Government Oversight
301 791-2397 (home office)
301 221-3897 (cell)
[email protected]

Harvard School of Public Health: Aircraft noise linked with heart problems

Harvard School of Public Health: Aircraft noise linked with heart problems

Current research confirms an increase in illness linked to extreme airport noise (at the levels produced by the F-16 and the much louder F-35 (if based here) warplanes in communities surrounding the Burlington Airport)

Read article:  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/aircraft-noise-linked-with-heart-problems/

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 http://digital.vpr.net/post/f-35-landing-burlington-now-what

Important Update – Please Read This!


Dear SOSVT Allies and Friends:

The official USAF Record of Decision was announced on December 2, 2013 to locate the first-ever basing of a new warplane, the F35s, with an Air Guard unit that is situated in a densely populated residential area in South Burlington, VT.   Defying all measures of common sense and safety, this marks the first time that a new warplane has ever been based in a residential area.

The manipulation of data, misinformation, and dismissal of scientific studies, which predict significant environmental damage to our Vermont communities and its people, by well-appointed politicians, corporate proponents, and the local military were key factors in this decision.  But most influential of all was Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who was determined to bring home this pork “prize” for the Vermont Air National Guard, despite the destructive damage from the F35s that will be felt most intensely in the communities surrounding the airport.

Although substantial scientific evidence,  including studies from the USAF itself, points to damage to the health, safety and property values of Vermont citizens, Sen. Leahy merely tells us that, in his opinion, it won’t be too bad or cause harm, and that we are “just going to have to trust him on this”.

But according to the World Health Organization, the damage will disproportionately impact thousands of Vermonters, whereby 50{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of those impacted children will suffer cognitive learning disabilities.   In addition, the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke for all who are subjected to the F35s impact will increase.

No problem, say Sen. Leahy!   He says the “honor” of bringing the F35s to Vermont is worth it, despite the health impact on vulnerable populations and loss of property values.   What a tragedy for our state and its people!

Once the basing decision was announced, our best means to continue fighting this inappropriate and out-of-scale basing are our legal options.

F-35 opponents in December 2012 requested that Burlington, which owns the airport, obtain an Act 250 permit in order to require the Air Force to mitigate the noise impacts of the new jet.   The Act 250 permitting process is Vermont’s landmark land-use law that is designed to “mitigate the effects of development through an application process that addresses the environmental and community impacts of projects.”

Recently, Vermont State’s Environmental court judge denied the request by F35 opponents that Burlington obtain a land-use permit to host the fleet of F-35 fighter jets.  The judge decided that proposed changes at the Vermont Air National Guard base that would be made to accommodate the jets do not warrant an Act 250 permit.

In reality, according to the US Air Force’s study, the F35s will make over half of the city adjoining the airport “unsuitable for residential use”!  If ever there was a case for Vermont’s Act 250 law addressing an environmental impact of a project on a community, this is it!

We will continue this fight to the Vermont Supreme Court to appeal the decision, as well as working to raise the awareness of the fraudulent, corrupt waste of the F35s program on a national level.   Please click here to donate to help fund this fight! 

We are not alone in our fight!  We are encouraged to note that opposition from other densely-populated residential communities against these loud, untested aircraft is being organized in places like Valparaiso, FL., Boise, ID., Tucson, El Mirage and Wittman, AZ, Beaufort, SC, Key West and N. Tampa, FL, as well as western Maine.   The list is growing as other states organize to protect their neighborhoods against the projected intense damage from the proposed basing of the F35s in their areas.

In addition, anti-F35 campaigns are being waged internationally as seen in protests in Italy, Australia and the Netherlands that have been attended by thousands of residents fighting against the colossal waste of the over-budget, under-performing, problem-plagued F35s program that is corporate welfare for the military defense contractor, Lockheed Martin.

So please keep voicing your opposition, and keep our mission of stopping the F35s basing alive with your words and donations!   By signing petitions, contacting your Congressional delegation and newspapers, the Governor of Vermont, the Mayor of Burlington and your local elected representative to give your feedback and concerns, you will continue to work towards protecting Vermont and its people from the devastation of the F35s.

Give money for the legal campaign, keep your voices strong, and don’t give up the fight!  


  1. If you haven’t seen it yet, even Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have highlighted the waste and fraud of the F35 and wasteful military spending on their shows.  We are reaching out to more national media outlets to continue to expose this flawed and unnecessary squandering of your taxpayer monies and our country’s misplaced priorities.

Stephen Colbert looks at the latest examples of this absurd way of spending money, especially a fighter jet called the F-35:


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

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 www.stopthef35.com 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:  http://digital.vpr.net/post/new-tactic-restrict-f-35-gets-city-attorney-approval


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:  http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/VideoNetwork/2728206744001/F-35-opponents-rally-at-Burlington-City-Hall&odyssey=mod{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}7Cvideo

F-35 is destroying jobs

Ask a Keynesian: With U.S. Borrowing Capped, Won’t More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Robert Naiman, Huffington Post

I claim that the following is a basic economic fact, which all Keynesian economists should readily acknowledge: in the current federal budget political context, in which federal borrowing is capped under the Budget Control Act, and repealing the BCA’s borrowing cap is not under serious consideration; and in which increased taxes on the super-rich, like a Wall Street speculation tax, are not considered politically viable in Washington, unnecessary Pentagon spending destroys American jobs.

Before explaining why we know this fact to be the case, let’s consider two related reasons why this fact matters a great deal right now: the Burlington F-35 basing fight and the apparent return of the proposed federal budget “Grand Bargain.”

In Burlington, Vermont, the city council, which owns Burlington International Airport, is considering a resolution to ban the basing of the noisy, dangerous, problem-plagued F-35 warplane at the city-owned airport.

Read rest of article at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/ask-a-keynesian-with-us-b_b_4059484.html?utm_hp_ref=tw


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.

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What to Believe:

Click here to download pdf.



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


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


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






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

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)


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

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May 2013)


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

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







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

(WHO p. xvii)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

(RDEIS p. 30)


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










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

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May, 2013)


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

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


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

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)






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


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


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


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


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


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

(WHO p. 45-53)


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


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

(RDEIS p. 29)


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

(Executive Order 13045)






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

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


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

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


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

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




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


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


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


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

(RDEIS p. C-50)


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


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

(Allen & Brooks Inc.)


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



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

(Larson Appraisal Company)


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


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








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

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


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

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


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

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)


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

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)


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

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


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

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




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

(RDEIS p. NS-40)


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


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


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


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

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 5)


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


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


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


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


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







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

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)


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

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


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

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)





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


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


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

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







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

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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 21)







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

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


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

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


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

(Representative Peter Welch, July 26, 2013)


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

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






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


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


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


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










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

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)


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

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


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

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)




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

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

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

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






Source documents for facts:

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

Source documents for opinions:

  • GBIC Report (July 2012)


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

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

The opinions contradict the facts. Both cannot be correct.

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

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

Download the F-35A Basing Fact Sheet

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

Burlington Vermont Air Guard Station

F-35A Basing

Fact Sheets


(August 2013)



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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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






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


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


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



C. HEALTH IMPACTS of Noise on Adults and Children


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



D. ECONOMIC IMPACTS of Noise on Residents


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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









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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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


2. The RDEIS analyzes noise effects on the following:

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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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


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


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


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


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




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

Guard Station will close.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


9. Two possible outcomes are:


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


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


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




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


A. National Security

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


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


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



B. Vermont Air Guard Support


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


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



C. Patriotism


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


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


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


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


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






A. PURPOSE of the Scoring Sheet


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


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


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


B. PROCESS Problem


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


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


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


C. DATA Problem


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!

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


Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Colchester VT

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

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

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

Click here for the entire article.

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

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

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

South Burlington

Click here for the entire article.

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

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

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

Click here to read the entire article.

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

Last Call For Kids

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!


WHO studies on children

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


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

Breaking Defense: Senator Dick Durbin wanted to hear “if any alternative (to the F-35) is being considered for a less costly fighter.”


Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Washington, DC

Journalist Otto Kreisher reports, “In his first major initiative as chairman of the crucial subcommittee Sen. Dick Durbin noted that the F-35 “has had more than its share of problems” and served as “a text book example” of the Pentagon’s procurement woes. Durbin challenged the witnesses to tell him what they have learned from this experience and what they were doing to ensure it would not be repeated. He also wanted to hear “if any alternative is being considered for a less costly fighter.”

He received a mixed answer to the first set of questions. But on the second, there was agreement even among the program critics that it would be impractical and wasteful to start over again after investing more than 12 years and $44 billion on the Lockheed-built jet.”

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

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!

USAction Seeks to Defund The F-35

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Washington DC

It’s time to pull the pork from the Pentagon and we should start by defunding the F-35 joint strike fighter program. With a price tag of $1.5 trillion, the F-35 is the most expensive fighter jet ever built and is the single most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget. But 12 years after production began, the F-35 has yet to fly a single combat mission.

Costing more than the sequester, we simply cannot afford to keep paying for weapons systems we do not need, in order to pay for the things that we do like education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

It’s time to defund the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter now.

Click here to cast your vote.

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!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – On Final Approach to Fighter Fiscal Sanity (Part 5 of 5)


Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is part 5 in this 5 part series.

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!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – Different Planes, Common Problems (Part 4 of 5)


Thursday June 6th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is part 4 in this 5 part series.

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!

America’s War Games: People & Power

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Washington DC

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a textbook case of a Pentagon procurement project that reveals why it is difficult to cut the defence budget. Three versions of the F-35 are being built for the Air Force, Navy and Marines by Lockheed Martin, the largest defence contractor in the US. The F-35 is the most expensive military weapons programme in US history, bigger than the Manhattan Project that produced nuclear weapons.

The F-35 was sold as a programme that would cost $226bn for about 2,900 aircrafts. It is now seven years behind schedule, and the price has increased almost 100 percent to $400bn for only 2,400 fighters. At least another $1 trillion will be required for operations and maintenance of the F-35 over its lifetime.

Pierre Sprey, an aircraft engineer and analyst who was one of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s ‘whizz kids’ in the 1960s, believes that the project should be cancelled or “there will be so little money left over for anything that’s needed, it’ll be unbelievable. They’ll be cutting people, pilots, training, everything just to pay for this thing.”

Click here to watch this 25 minute video.

Chuck Spinney, who worked as an analyst in the US secretary of defence’s office for 26 years, believes it is difficult for the United States to reap the benefits of a peace dividend because of the workings of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final 1961 address.

“It’s what in Washington we call an iron triangle,” Spinney says, ” you have an alliance between the private sector, the defence contractors, the executive branch, in this case the Pentagon, and the legislative branch.”

Everyone benefits from expensive procurement projects – the Pentagon gets weapons, defence companies get to make profits, and politicians get re-elected by funding armaments that generate jobs for constituents and campaign contributions from defence companies.

The result, according to Spinney, is a defence budget “that is packed to the gills with weapons we don’t need, with weapons that are underestimated in their future costs”.

The Pentagon and defence contractors low-ball costs and exaggerate performance in the early stages of a project to “turn on the money spigot”. Then the companies engage in “political engineering,” they spread the contracts and employment for a weapon around to as many Congressional districts as possible. They do that, Spinney says, so that once cost-overruns and performance problems become apparent, “you can’t do anything about it [because] there’s too much political support”.

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!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – The Deadly Empirical Data (Part 3 of 5)


Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is Part 3 in the series.

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!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – Alphabet Soup: PAUCs, APUCs, URFs, Cost Variances and Other Pricing Dodges (part 2 of 5)


Tuesday June 4th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is Part 2 in the series

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!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – The New Era of Good F-35 Feelings (part 1 of 5)

AF-7 Flight 185

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is Part 1 in his series

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

Cut Social Security and Veterans’ Benefits? Cut the Pentagon Instead

By Robert Naiman


Consider the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Last year, Winslow Wheeler reported that theacquisition cost for the F-35 had risen to $379.4 billion for 2,457 aircraft. That’s just the cost to buy the planes, not to fly and maintain them. According to Wheeler, “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.”

Assuming that everything is proportional (and that these costs don’t further escalate, which Wheeler assures us they will), if the F-35 costs $1.5 trillion for 2,457 planes, that’s $610 million per plane. How many F-35s would we have to not buy in order to spare seniors, veterans and the disabled from getting whacked? We would only have to not buy $163 billion worth, or 267 planes. That would still leave 2,190 planes. We could reduce the number of F-35s we purchase by just over 10 percent – cut one single weapons system by 10 percent – and save as much money as President Obama proposes to save by whacking seniors, veterans and the disabled.

Lastly, consider Pentagon contracting: the Project On Government Oversight notes that “every year for the last five years the Pentagon has spent more than $360 billion purchasing goods and services from contractors” and that “service contractors can cost, on average, 2.94 times more than an average Pentagon civilian employee performing the same job.”

Suppose it were true that it costs 2.9 times as much to do things through contractors as it does to use Pentagon employees. That’s a different statistic – I’m substituting an apple for an orange. We don’t actually have the numbers that we need to do the right calculation, because as POGO notes, the public doesn’t have access to contractor workforce size and cost data. But what we’re after here is just a rough sense of what Pentagon spending choices and cuts to Social Security and veterans’ benefits look like when you put them on the same scale. The actual policy choice we need to make to protect Social Security and veterans’ benefits and cut the Pentagon budget is merely to kill the grand bargain and let the sequester-level budget caps on discretionary spending stand.



Maps and Downloads

See the “unfit for residential use” map.


See the crash and safety zone map.


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

click here: Fact Sheets on F-35A Basing


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

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


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

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



The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built


Marine Major Aric “Walleye” Liberman was uncharacteristically modest for a Navy SEAL turned fighter pilot. He had just landed an F-35–one of the 2,457 jets the Pentagon plans to buy for $400 billion, making it the costliest weapons program in human history–at its initial operational base late last year. Amid celebratory hoopla, he declined photographers’ requests to give a thumbs-up for the cameras that sunny day in Yuma, Ariz. “No, no, no,” he demurred with a smile.

Liberman’s reticence was understandable. For while the Marines hailed his arrival as a sign that their initial F-35 squadron is now operational, there’s one sticking point. “It’s an operational squadron,” a Marine spokesman said. “The aircraft is not operational.”

The F-35, designed as the U.S. military’s lethal hunter for 21st century skies, has become the hunted, a poster child for Pentagon profligacy in a new era of tightening budgets. Instead of the stars and stripes of the U.S. Air Force emblazoned on its fuselage, it might as well have a bull’s-eye. Its pilots’ helmets are plagued with problems, it hasn’t yet dropped or fired weapons, and the software it requires to go to war remains on the drawing board.

That’s why when Liberman landed his F-35 before an appreciative crowd, including home-state Senator John McCain, he didn’t demonstrate its most amazing capability: landing like a helicopter using its precision-cast titanium thrust-vectoring nozzle. That trick remains reserved for test pilots, not operational plane drivers like him.

The price tag, meanwhile, has nearly doubled since 2001, to $396 billion. Production delays have forced the Air Force and Navy to spend at least $5 billion to extend the lives of existing planes. The Marine Corps–the cheapest service, save for its love of costly jump jets (which take off and land almost vertically) for its pet aircraft carriers–have spent $180 million on 74 used British AV-8 jets for spare parts to keep their Reagan-era Harriers flying until their version of the F-35 truly comes online. Allied governments are increasingly weighing alternatives to the F-35.

But the accounting is about to get even worse as concern over spending on the F-35 threatens other defense programs. On March 1, if lawmakers cannot reach a new budget deal, the Pentagon faces more than $500 billion in spending cuts in the form of sequestration, which translates into a 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} cut in projected budgets over the coming decade. Two years ago, the White House predicted that those cuts would be so onerous to defense-hawk Republicans that they would never happen. But the GOP is now split, with a growing number of members who are more concerned about the deficit than defense.

“We are spending maybe 45{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the world’s budget on defense. If we drop to 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} or 43{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}, would we be suddenly in danger of some kind of invasion?” asked Representative Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican and part of a new breed of deficit hawks who talk of spending as a bigger threat than war. “We’re bankrupting our country, and it’s going to put us in danger.”

House Republican leaders have started to speak of the military cuts as inevitable. President Obama has warned that without a new plan from Congress, there will be “tough decisions in the weeks ahead,” like the recent announcement that an aircraft-carrier deployment to the Persian Gulf will be delayed to save money.

The sad irony is that cutting the F-35 at this point won’t save much money in the near term, because the Pentagon recently pushed nearly $5 billion in F-35 contracts out the door. Yet sequester-mandated cuts will push both the purchase of additional planes and their required testing into the future with an inevitable result: the cost of each plane will rise even higher. Unfortunately, that won’t be anything new for the F-35 Lightning II.

How Did We Get Here?

The single-engine, single-seat f-35 is a real-life example of the adage that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Think of it as a flying Swiss Army knife, able to engage in dogfights, drop bombs and spy. Tweaking the plane’s hardware makes the F-35A stealthy enough for the Air Force, the F-35B’s vertical-landing capability lets it operate from the Marines’ amphibious ships, and the Navy F-35C’s design is beefy enough to endure punishing carrier operations.

“We’ve put all our eggs in the F-35 basket,” said Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn. Given that, one might think the military would have approached the aircraft’s development conservatively. In fact, the Pentagon did just the opposite. It opted to build three versions of a single plane averaging $160 million each (challenge No. 1), agreed that the planes should be able to perform multiple missions (challenge No. 2), then started rolling them off the assembly line while the blueprints were still in flux–more than a decade before critical developmental testing was finished (challenge No. 3). The military has already spent $373 million to fix planes already bought; the ultimate repair bill for imperfect planes has been estimated at close to $8 billion.

Back in 2002, Edward Aldridge, then the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, said the F-35 was “setting new standards for technological advances” and “rewriting the books on acquisition and business practices.” His successor voiced a different opinion last year. “This will make a headline if I say it, but I’m going to say it anyway,” Frank Kendall said. “Putting the F-35 into production years before the first test flight was acquisition malpractice. It should not have been done.”

The Pentagon and its allies say the need for the F-35 was so dire that the plane had to be built as it was being designed. (More than a decade into its development, blueprints are changing about 10 times a day, seven days a week.) “The technological edge of the American tactical air fleet is only about five years, and both Russia and China are fielding fifth-generation fighters of their own,” argues Tom Donnelly, a defense expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “Preserving the cumulative quantity-quality advantage requires that the United States field a full fleet of fifth-generation fighters now.”

Others suggest that no nation is close to fielding weapons in sufficient quality and quantity to challenge U.S. air dominance anytime soon and that the rush to develop the F-35 was more internal than external. “There’s always this sexual drive for a new airplane on the part of each service,” says Tom Christie, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester from 2001 to 2005. “Persistent, urgent and natural.”

The resulting bastard child was a compromise, not optimum for any one service but good enough for all three. Neither the Air Force nor the Navy liked its stubby design. The F-35C’s squat fuselage puts its tailhook close to its landing gear (7 ft., compared with 18 on the F-18 it is replacing), making it tough to grab the arresting cable on an aircraft carrier. Its short range means aircraft carriers ferrying it into battle will have to sail close to enemy shores if the F-35C is to play a role. It can fly without lumbering aerial tankers only by adding external fuel tanks, which erases the stealthiness that is its prime war-fighting asset.

Cramming the three services into the program reduced management flexibility and put the taxpayer in a fiscal headlock. Each service had the leverage generated by threatening to back out of the program, which forced cost into the backseat, behind performance. “The Air Force potentially could have adopted the Navy variant, getting significantly more range and structural durability,” says John Young Jr., a top Navy and Pentagon civilian official from 2001 to 2009. “But the Air Force leadership refused to consider such options.”

Yet if the Navy, and Young, were upset with the Air Force, the Air Force was upset with the Marines. “This is a jobs program for Marine aviation,” says retired general Merrill McPeak, Air Force chief of staff from 1990 to 1994. “The idea that we could produce a committee design that is good for everybody is fundamentally wrong.” He scoffs at the Marine demand for a plane that can land vertically, saying, “The idea of landing on a beach and supporting your troops close up from some improvised airfield, à la Guadalcanal, is not going to happen.”

Focused on waging two post-9/11 wars, the Pentagon let the F-35 program drift as costs ballooned and schedules slipped for a decade. The Marines’ F-35 was supposed to be capable of waging war in April 2010, the Air Force’s in June 2011 and the Navy’s in April 2012. In a break with Pentagon custom, there now is no such “initial operating capability” date for any of them; each is likely to be delayed several years.

Regardless of the plane’s merit, the lawmakers pushing for it are hardly disinterested observers. The then 48 members of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, many of whom sit on key Pentagon-overseeing panels, pocketed twice as much as nonmembers in campaign contributions from the F-35’s top contractors in the 2012 election cycle. Those lawmakers’ constituents, in turn, hold many of the F-35 program’s 133,000 jobs spread across 45 states. (F-35 builder Lockheed Martin says jobs will double once the plane enters full production.)

Complicating matters further, the Pentagon and Lockheed have been at war with each other for years. Air Force Lieut. General Christopher Bogdan, a senior Pentagon F-35 manager, declared last summer that the relationship was “the worst I’ve ever seen–and I’ve been in some bad ones.” But the two sides insist the worst is now behind them. Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said last month that the aircraft has topped 5,000 flight hours, stepped up its flight-test schedule and is steadily pushing into new corners of its flight envelope. “Our maturing production line, operational-base stand-up and expanded pilot training are all strong indicators of the F-35 program’s positive trajectory,” she said. Deliveries of fresh F-35s more than doubled in 2012, to 30 planes.

Pilots love the F-35. There are few gauges, buttons or knobs in the cockpit. “What you have in front of you is a big touchscreen display–it’s an interface for the iPad generation,” says Marine Colonel Arthur Tomassetti, an F-35 test pilot. “You have an airplane that with very small movements of your left and right hand does what you want it to do. And if you don’t want it to do anything, it stays where you left it.” That makes it easy to fly. “I’m watching the emerald-colored sea up against the white sand,” Tomassetti says of his flights from Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. “I remember lots of flights in other airplanes where I never had time to do anything like that.”

But military technology has been moving away from manned fighters for years. Drones, standoff weapons and GPS-guided bombs have cut the utility of, and need for, such short-leg piloted planes. Their limits become even more pronounced amid the Pentagon’s pivot to the Pacific, where the tyranny of distance makes the F-35’s short combat radius (469 miles for the Marines, 584 for the Air Force, 615 for the Navy) a bigger challenge.

Computers are key to flying the plane. But instead of taking advantage of simplicity, the F-35 is heading in the other direction: its complexity can be gleaned from its 24 million lines of computer code, including 9.5 million on board the plane. That’s more than six times as much as the Navy F-18 has. The F-35 computer code, government auditors say, is “as complicated as anything on earth.”

Computers also were supposed to replace most prototyping and allow all three kinds of F-35s to roll off the Texas assembly line at the same time, just as Avalons, Camrys and Venzas are rolling out of Toyota’s huge Kentucky plant. “Advances in the technology, in our design tools and in our manufacturing processes have significantly changed the manner in which aircraft are designed and built today,” Paul Kaminski, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, said in 1997.

But Lockheed is no Toyota. Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, the bible of the aerospace industry and a traditional supporter, published an editorial last fall that declared the program “already a failure” on cost and schedule and said “the jury is still out” on its capabilities. It suggested pitting the F-35 against existing fighters–Air Force F-15s and F-16s and Navy F-18s–for future U.S. fighter purchases.

J. Michael Gilmore, Christie’s successor as the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, reported in January that all three versions will be slower and less maneuverable than projected. Weight-saving efforts have made the plane 25{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} more vulnerable to fire. Only one of three F-35s flown by the U.S. military, he added, was ready to fly between March and October.

Such problems inevitably lead to delays, which relentlessly drive up the price. “Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program have not shown any kind of sensitivity to costs,” says Richard Aboulafia, who tracks military aviation for the Teal Group, which analyzes the defense business. “That makes for a vulnerable program.”

And dark clouds are gathering. Pentagon and Lockheed officials know they need to sell hundreds of F-35s to a dozen nations to reduce the cost of each U.S. plane. But Canada announced in December that it is considering alternatives to its planned buy of 65 F-35s after an independent analysis pegged their lifetime cost at nearly $46 billion, roughly double an earlier estimate (the estimated U.S. lifetime cost: $1.5 trillion). Australia recently suggested it wants 24 more St. Louis–built Boeing F-18s, almost guaranteeing a reduction in its planned purchase of up to 100 F-35s.

The Right Kind of Plane?

While debate swirls around how to build the F-35 right, there’s a more important question: Is it the right kind of plane for the U.S. military in the 21st century? The F-35 is a so-called fifth-generation fighter, which means it is built from the ground up to elude enemy radar that could be used to track and destroy it. Stealth was all the rage in military circles when the Pentagon conceived the F-35. But that was well before the drone explosion, which makes the idea of flying a human through flak and missiles seem quaint. “The Air Force,” Aboulafia says, “eagerly drank gallons of the fifth-generation purple liquid.”

Improved sensors and computing are eroding stealth’s value every day, says Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations. Eventually, he warns, they will give potential foes “actionable target information” on stealth platforms.

The Air Force feared “additional fourth-generation fighter acquisition as a direct threat to fifth-generation fighter programs,” Air Force Lieut. Colonel Christopher Niemi, a veteran F-22 pilot, wrote in the November-December 2012 issue of the service’s Air & Space Power Journal. Its refusal to reconsider buying new fourth-generation F-15s and F-16s in lieu of some F-35s “threatens to reduce the size of the Air Force’s fielded fighter fleet to dangerously small numbers, particularly in the current fiscal environment.”

A stealthy jet requires sacrifices in range, flying time and weapon-carrying capability–the hat trick of aerial warfare. All those factors have played a role in the fate of the Air Force’s F-22 fighter, the nation’s only other fifth-generation warplane. It has been sitting on runways around the globe for seven years, pawing at the tarmac as the nation waged wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Yet the F-22, built to fight wars against enemies that have yet to materialize, has yet to fly a single combat mission.

If sequestration happens March 1, F-35 officials have made it clear they will be forced to slow production and delay flight tests. Both steps will make each plane that is ultimately bought more expensive.

But thanks to $4.8 billion in Pentagon contracts for 31 planes pushed out the door barely 100 hours before the original Jan. 2 sequestration deadline, much of the program will continue on autopilot.

“The F-35 program has built up a good buffer by getting the most recent lot of aircraft awarded in time,” says Todd Harrison, a defense-budget expert at the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “That means Lockheed and all the subcontractors have a backlog of work that won’t be affected by sequestration, so they can continue working as planned for the time being.”

Apparently the F-35 may end up being pretty stealthy after all.


Federal Budget 101

Where Does the Money Go?

In fiscal year 2014, the federal government will spend around $3.8 trillion. These trillions of dollars make up a considerable chunk – around 22 percent – of the US. economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That means that federal government spending makes up a sizable share of all money spent in the United States each year. So, where does all that money go?

Mandatory and Discretionary Spending

The U.S. Treasury divides all spending into three groups: mandatory spending and discretionary spending and interest on debt. Interest on debt, which is much smaller than the other two categories, is the interest the government pays on its accumulated debt, minus interest income received by the government for assets it owns.

Discretionary spending refers to the portion of the budget which goes through the annualappropriations process each year. In other words, Congress directly sets the level of spending on programs which are discretionary. Congress can choose to increase or decrease spending on any of those programs in a given year.

Mandatory spending is largely made up of earned-benefit or entitlement programs, and the spending for those programs is determined by eligibility rules rather than the appropriations process. For example, Congress decides to create a program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. It then sets criteria for determining who is eligible to receive benefits from the program. The amount of money spent on SNAP each year is then determined by how many people are eligible and apply for benefits.

Congress therefore cannot decide each year to increase or decrease the budget for SNAP. Instead, it can review the eligibility rules and may change them in order to exclude or include more people.

Mandatory spending makes up around two-thirds of the total federal budget. The largest mandatory program is Social Security, which comprises more than a third of mandatory spending and around 22 percent of the total federal budget.

Finally, putting together discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and interest on the debt, you can see how the total federal budget is divided into different categories of spending. This pie chart shows how President Obama proposes dividing up the whole federal budget in fiscal 2014. Income security programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance together comprise the largest slice, followed by Medicare & Health, and Military.

SOURCE: http://nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/

Another petition to sign

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Downtown Winooski Map of Accident Potential Zones

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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: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/oceana.htm and http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/26/3254990/homestead-farmer-look-to-settle.html#storylink=cpy)

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: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/416557p.pdf.

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: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_14225.pdf)

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!


F-35 Health Report

Click Here to Download pdf

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 11.43.24 AM


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.

VT Board of Health Report

Click to download pdf.


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 www.saveourskiesvt.org 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 change.org 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.


World Health Organization: Burden of disease from environmental noise

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

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

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 http://tucsonforward.com/ 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.

Health Impacts of Noise on Children

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

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

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

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: http://www.umweltdaten.de/publikationen/fpdf-l/3153.pdf



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


3) International Journal of Epidemiology


4) University of Oregon Study


5) www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/06/04/AR2007060401430_pf.html

6) www.time.com/time/specials/packages/printout/0,29239,1929071_1929070_1947782,00.html
7) South Burlington School Board’s Statement:



CCTV footage of South Burlington’s City Council rejecting the F-35 can be viewed here: https://saveourskiesvt.org/node/93

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 www.stopthef35.com 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.

[1] https://saveourskiesvt.org/f-35-stealth-bomber-not-defense-fighter
[2] http://stopthef35.com/
[3] http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1929071_1929070_1947782,00.html
[4] http://vtdigger.org/2012/05/15/at-hearing-public-divided-over-bedding-f-35s-in-burlington/
[5] http://www.vpr.net/episode/54091/sen-sanders-on-gas-prices-citizens-united-gun-cont/
[6] http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/the_jet_that_ate_the_pentagon

U.S. sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.45 trillion

Thu, Mar 29 2012
By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters.

The Pentagon’s latest, staggering estimate of the lifetime cost of the F-35 — its most expensive weapons program — is up from about $1 trillion a year ago, and includes inflation.

While inflation accounts for more than one-third of the projected F-35 operating costs, military officials and industry executives were quick to point out that it is nearly impossible to predict inflation over the next half-century.

They also argue that no other weapons program’s costs have been calculated over such a long period, and that even shorter-term cost projections for other aircraft do not include the cost of modernization programs and upgrades.

The new cost estimate reflects the Pentagon’s proposal to postpone orders for 179 planes for five years, a move that U.S. official say will save $15.1 billion through 2017, and should avert costly retrofits if further problems arise during testing of the new fighter, which is only about 20 percent complete.

The Pentagon still plans to buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, plus 14 development aircraft, in the coming decades, although Air Force Secretary Michael Donley last week warned that further technical problems or cost increases could eat away at those numbers.

The new estimate, based on calculations made by the Cost Assessment Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, includes operating and maintenance costs of $1.11 trillion, including inflation, and development and procurement costs of $332 billion.

The Government Accountability Office last week projected it would cost $397 billion to develop and buy the planes, up from its earlier forecast of $382 billion.

The Pentagon office that runs the F-35 program office has a lower estimate for lifetime costs, although it is still around $1 trillion, according to two sources familiar with the estimates. Both industry and government have put a huge emphasis on reducing operating costs and keeping the plane affordable.

The new estimates are part of a revised F-35 baseline dated March 26 that will be sent to Congress on Thursday.


The new baseline forecasts the average cost of the F-35 fighter, including research and development (R&D) and inflation, at $135 million per plane, plus an additional $26 million for the F135 engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

In 2012 dollars, the average cost of each single-seat, single-engine plane, including R&D, would be $112.5 million, plus $22 million for the engine.

This is the first year that the government has separated out the cost of the plane and the engine, and comparison figures were not immediately available. Lockheed Martin has said the average cost of the plane will be around $65 million to $70 million, based on 2010 dollars.

Lockheed Martin declined comment on the new estimate, saying it had not yet received the Pentagon’s latest report.

Lockheed spokesman Joe LaMarca said the company still believed the new fighter jet would cost the same or less to operate and maintain than the seven legacy warplanes it will replace, while offering far greater capabilities.


Defense analyst Loren Thompson said three quarters of the cost increases on the F-35 program were linked to government changes in the scope of the program, and the way it was estimating costs.

For instance, he said, the Pentagon initially planned to station the plane at 33 bases, but later changed the number to 49. It initially calculated operating costs over 30 years, but then chose a longer timeframe of 50 years, he said.

“The program costs appear to be rising much faster than they actually are because the government keeps changing how it calculates things,” Thompson said.

The Pentagon’s proposal to postpone buying 179 planes for five years added $60 billion to the operations and support cost of the program, since those planes will now be delivered in later years when inflation is higher. The push also added two years to the duration of the program, according to an internal Lockheed calculation obtained by Reuters.

But Winslow Wheeler, a critic of the program, predicts cost growth on the program will be even greater than estimated by the Pentagon, given the complexity of the F-35 fighter.

Lockheed is developing three variants of the new plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries: Britain, Australia, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. They now plan to buy a combined total of 697 planes, down from 730 in the previous Pentagon estimate.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

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.” http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/95003/for-vt-delegation-little-political-risk-in-defendi/

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” http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120626/NEWS02/306270004/Councilor-Grave-mistakes-ranking-Burlington-F-35?

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” http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/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

Noise Pollution Takes Toll on Health and Happiness

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

Everyday Noise Can Overstimulate the Body’s Stress Response

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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 stat