Update on the Burlington Resolution:
The law is on our side: Let’s make history on the 28th!
On October 17, the Burlington City Attorney issued a legal opinion on the proposed resolution to bar the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Burlington Airport. With the corrections to the Burlington City Attorney’s memo and the revision to the text of the resolution provided by Stop the F-35 Coalition attorney Jim Dumont, the problems identified in the City Attorney’s memo are easily overcome. With the corrections, the City Attorney’s memo actually provides a very strong legal basis for stopping the F-35 basing. The amended resolution to bar the basing will be considered by the City Council on October 28th.
*Monday, October 28th*
What: Come stand for democratic rights and stopping the F-35 basing
5:15 pm: Rally for People before Planes
6:00 pm: Public Hearing and Council Meeting
Where: Burlington City Hall corner of Main and Church
Here are the details for the amended resolution: (See Jim Dumont’s response and corrections: Dumont Response to City Attorney 10 18 13-1)
By revising the resolution to block all aircraft that make more noise than the F-16 or that pose a greater crash risk than the F-16, the problem of loss of FAA airport funding identified by the city attorney is eliminated. The FAA expressly allows a municipal government to set noise limits and block aircraft from landing that exceed those noise limits so long as the rules are applied fairly to all aircraft without discrimination.
Second, the revised resolution will also be consistent with court rulings under which a city can take action consistent within the traditional role of municipal governments to protect the health and safety of citizens, even if there is an effect on the military if that effect is negligible. The revised resolution will be similar to the Cambridge municipal ordnance that the highest court in Massachusetts found lawful because it protected the health and safety of residents while the effect on the military was negligible. The Air Force has many alternative locations available for basing F-35 jets, and there is no identified strategic reason for prioritizing basing the F-35 in Burlington. The Air Force itself included several of those alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement. Because the Air Force itself identified alternatives, there is no possibility that the basing in Burlington can be found to be anything other than of militarily negligible importance. But protecting the health and safety of nearby residents is of immense importance.
And third, the corrections also mean that Burlington will be liable for paying thousands of residents if it shirks its responsibility to do everything it can to protect the health, safety, and home values of thousands of people and permits F-35 basing.
The Burlington City Council has the responsibility and the legal authority to prevent the F-35 basing and its severe harms to many thousands of people.