Burlington City Council takes up three different F-35 resolutions

first_imgby Anne Galloway www.vtdigger.org(link is external) Vince Brennan, a Progressive member of the Burlington City Council, has offered a resolution opposing the Air Force proposal to bring F-35s to the Burlington International Airport based on the environmental impact of the jets on the region.The main issue is noise. In his resolution, Brennan asserts that the peak noise level for the jets will be 115 decibels ‘19 decibels higher than the peak noise level for Vermont National Guard F-16 planes that now fly out of the airport. People hear that decibel increase as â four times louder’he says.Brennan presented his resolution at the Burlington City Council meeting Monday night. City Councilors Vince Dober, a Republican, will offer a proposal to support the Air Force proposal, and Joan Shannon, a Democrat, will introduce a resolution that is somewhere in between.Brennanâ s resolution refers to Col. Rosanne Grecoâ s 17-page analysis of the voluminous Air Force environmental impact statement. Greco, the chair of the South Burlington City Council and former strategic planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Defense Department, detailed the key impacts of the EIS in her report and ultimately urged her colleagues to vote against the F-35 proposal. They rejected the F-35 base in a 4-to-1 vote.In his 1,679 word resolution, Brennan says the F-35A is a weapon for â 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.âMichael Dubie, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, told reporters last week that opponents were using â fear or exaggeration’to block the planes. The Associated Press reported that 100 people in Winooski protested against the F-35s on Thursday.VTDigger.org received a copy of Brennanâ s resolution in advance of the meeting tonight (Monday).Here is a sampling from the proposal that addresses noise levels: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; andWhereas 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; andWhereas the airport recently announced that it would purchase no more homes; andWhereas 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 Winooskiâ 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; andWhereas 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 dBAâ a difference of 21 dBAâ when each plane takes off and reaches 1000 feet above ground level; andWhereas 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% to 42%; andWhereas the Air Force draft EIS raises serious questions about safety as it states that â 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 â most severe’mishap rate 7 times higher than the current rate for the F-16; andWhereas the draft EIS makes clear that the Burlington airport was a preferred location because air quality in the Champlain Valley is in â 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 â non-attainment’status present difficult hoops for the Air Force to jump through to achieve compliance with the Clean Air Act; andWhereas 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. June 18, 2012 www.vtdigger.org(link is external)last_img read more