WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today submitted the following public comment on the United States Air Force’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed F-35 mission at Truax Air National Guard Base, also available to view here.
“Dear Secretary Barrett:
I write to submit my formal public comment on the United States Air Force’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed F-35 mission at Truax Air National Guard Base. I previously expressed concerns to your predecessor about the brevity of the originally-noticed public comment period, the inability of an average person to understand the technical descriptions of anticipated noise levels, the potential for nearby homes to become incompatible for residential use, and the lack of noise mitigation assistance for impacted constituents.
I thank you for discussing these concerns with me and for extending the public comment period. Unfortunately, however, as a Member of Congress who has never supported the authorization of funding for the development of the F-35, and who remains deeply disturbed by program cost overruns and other issues, questions and concerns about the proposal remain.
Respectfully, I continue to request a flight demonstration of an F-35 and F-16 at Truax so that differences in noise levels between the two aircraft can be directly observed. I recently learned that multiple F-35 arrivals and departures have occurred in Madison over the past several months, and that the Air Force neglected to alert elected officials or community members who would have benefitted from hearing the differences between the two planes while taking-off and landing. Considering that the Air Force has already brought F-35A planes to Dane County Airport, it should not be difficult to accommodate my request for a comparison test flight of the two planes. I believe it is imperative that there is an F-35 and F-16 take-off and landing comparison at Truax before any final decision is made due to the general public’s inability to understand the draft EIS’s description of possible noise level increases and their impacts.
Additionally, I continue to be concerned that the Air Force has not committed to financially supporting noise mitigation efforts for households, schools and other community buildings impacted by the F-35, including those according to the EIS who will be “incompatible for residential use” due to the proposed F-35 beddown in Madison.
Although the Air Force has listed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 150 noise compatibility program as one solution, according to an analysis by the City of Madison, that program is not available for more than 500 homes near the airport, including 312 mobile homes, 195 income restricted apartments and 36 townhomes owned by the Community Development Authority.
Therefore, I believe the Air Force must commit publicly to securing funding for anyone impacted by the placement of the F-35 in Madison.
Without commitments for noise mitigation assistance from the Air Force, it will be difficult to support any potential F-35 mission at Truax Air National Guard Base. I believe this must be addressed to ensure any negative outcomes caused by the F-35 coming to Madison are adequately addressed.
Thank you for your attention to these requests. I look forward to continuing to engage with you on behalf of the people of Wisconsin’s Second Congressional District.
Member of Congress”
All correspondence between Congressman Mark Pocan and the U.S. Air Force on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement at the Truax Air National Guard Base, including two additional responses received from the Air Force over the last week, are available to view here.