OPEN LETTER ON LEAHY AND THE AIR FORCE BASING DECISION

An open letter from Rosanne Greco about our fight to protect Vermont and our communities from the proposed F35 basing:

All,

I’ve been reading your emails and wanted you to know what is happening regarding the F-35 basing.  Feel free to share this with all those in the stopthef35 and SoS coalitions and other opponents.  Here are the facts:

— about a month or so ago, the Air Force was going to delay making a basing decision for the Air Guard.  they were just going to decide on the active duty Air Force Base choice (which is Hill AFB)

–they were going to delay deciding on the Guard base primarily because they knew 1) there was no operational reason to base it here and would have a hard time explaining the operational reasons; 2) we were definitely NOT the environmental choice; 3) there was strong opposition to it; 4) there was no reason for making the Guard decision now because the planes are not ready yet; but Hill AFB needed to know soon, as they have construction to do to be prepared for the planes; 5) they knew they would be sued

–when Leahy heard about this (likely from the VTANG) he contacted the AF Chief of Staff (military head of the Air Force) and told the 4-star general that he would not support that (meaning delaying the Guard base decision)

–given Leahy’s power, the AF “saluted smartly” as they had been given their marching orders

–they then proceeded to wrap up the final EIS and send it out with Burlington being their Guard choice

–currently, some of the senior decision-makers have not even yet been briefed on the details of the decision

–and AF folks in the trenches are being directed to alter the briefing slides and information going to be presented to the seniors (and possibly the public) so that Burlington doesn’t look so bad in comparison to the other bases

–the final EIS, which will contain the record of decision (which will say Hill AFB and Burlington AGS) will become official  on Friday, 4 October (a copy of the Final EIS is now available online)

–then there will be a 30-day “waiting period”

during that time, the decision to base it at Burlington could be changed or delayed

            — and my source says, that if ever there was a time when an EIS decision is changed, this is it!! 

SO, it is NOT over at all!  in fact, there are two ways we can still stop the basing:

1) the Burlington City Council blocks it from coming to their airport

2) some new substantive issue is raised

— and we HAVE a NEW substantive issue:  the dangers associated with composite materials and the chemical stealth coating on the F-35

–neither of these were mentioned in the DEIS, RDEIS, or FEIS so it is new info and I think substantive

PLEASE, do not lose heart or tell folks it is over, especially members of the Burlington City Council.  THEY are the ones who can change it.  And, THEY (the city of Burlington) may be sued for loss of property values ($100 million) and god-forbid if that plane ever crashes on our cities, for the loss of life and injuries and property damages as a result of the impact, the fire, or the poison gases and fibers from the burning wreckage.

I will get the new substantive info on the composite and chemical stealth dangers to the AF.  In fact, I have already sent them an email on it.  The rest of us must give the highest priority to convincing the Burlington Councilors (and the mayor) that the future of our area is in their hands.

The AF told us, that our area (and people and children) will suffer numerous negative consequences if the fighter is based here. The AF has reported absolutely NO positive outcomes or benefits to our area from the basing.  Moreover, the F-16 lifespan is extended to at least 2030; so the future of the Air Guard is secure at least for the next decade or so.  Any delay in basing the F35 here would give the aircraft (and the pilots) more flying experience, and time to work out all the “bugs.”

Don’t believe the hype from the supporters.  The opposition comments outnumbered the supporters on both draft EIS’s.  The opponents’ comments were 73{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} on the first draft, and 80{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} on the second draft.   We must keep up our efforts.  This is our last chance before filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties (perhaps the AF and the City of Burlington).  But we DO have a chance.

 

*ALL OUT FOR THE OCTOBER 7 BURLINGTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING *

DETAILS:  www.stopthef35.com/calltoaction