The only argument you raise for supporting basing the F-35 in South Burlington is economic.
However, the issue on the table right now is the environmental impact of the basing the F-35 in South Burlington. I notice that nothing in your response disputes the facts about the devastating impact on South Burlington, Winooski, and Williston and part of Burlington and Colchester that are specified in the Air Force’s own Environmental Impact Statement. Surely these devastating impacts will be felt economically as well as environmentally. Already over 100 houses have been razed in South Burlington. The F-35 will cause 1300 houses, as well as businesses, churches, and schools to fall in the same noise range or a greater noise range that condemned those homes. Is there no economic loss involved?
Furthermore, your economic assessment assumes that the base will close if the F-35 is not based in South Burlington. However, one of the highest ranking military officers in the state of Vermont, retired Col. Rosanne Greco, believes that another mission will be found for the Guard in the absence of the F-35. If another mission is found the numbers you site will remain in place for Vermont. Do you believe Vermonters must put our towns and communities at certain risk based on a speculation of economic damage?
We do not have a full economic assessment of the environmental damage on those communities. Could the economic damage to the communities outweigh any economic benefit? Has anyone done that study? If not, it is premature to draw any conclusions about economic benefit.
Your remarks about the economic benefit not only divert from the issue currently on the table–the environmental impact– they also do not give justice to the full economic impact including the sharp economic negatives to five communities.
I am shocked and dismayed that you would divert from the issue now before us–environmental impact–and substitute speculation about economic benefits that does not include the economic costs to South Burlington, Winooski, Williston, Burlington, and Colchester along with economic benefits to members of the National Guard.
A redo of your consideration of this issue and your response to me and to the public is needed on this critical issue. Before the June 20 deadline for comments on the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Air Force.
Thanks very much for considering this.
On 6/1/2012 1:37 PM, Governor Peter Shumlin wrote:
> Dear James,
> Thank you for your message concerning the F-35A operational basing proposal for Chittenden County. I know that this is an issue that has drawn strong feelings among both supporters and opponents, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.
> As you know, I support this proposal. I believe that basing the F-35A in our state would create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase investment opportunities for Vermont businesses. The Vermont Air National Guard has proudly operated in the state for 66 years, bringing with it 1100 employees and an annual payroll of $53 million. These hardworking Guard members are an integral part of our communities, and contribute to the vitality of Vermont in countless ways.
> I know there are some concerns about noise and other potential drawbacks of basing the F-35A in South Burlington that are being discussed in the surrounding communities. Though I feel that these drawbacks are outweighed by the extraordinary benefits that this opportunity presents our communities and our state, I do appreciate those concerns. Having listened closely to all sides of this issue, I have concluded that basing the F-35A in Vermont is good for the local community, beneficial to Vermont, and a wise investment in our bright jobs future.
> I appreciate hearing your perspective, and regret that this is an issue on which we disagree. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office in the future if I can be of any further assistance.
> Peter Shumlin
> 109 State Street, Pavilion
> Montpelier, Vermont 05609