Mark Pocan submits public comment on F-35

    F_35 fighter jet
    Image provided by the Ministry of Defence of a Royal Air Force F-35 Lightning. (Photo by Ministry of Defence via Getty Images)
    Congressman Mark Pocan
    U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan

    Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth) submitted a public comment today on the United States Air Force’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed F-35 mission at Truax Air National Guard Base in Madison.

    Pocan repeated his concern about the EIS and “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.”

    He thanked the Air Force for granting his request for an extension on the public comment period.

    “Unfortunately, however,” Pocan wrote, “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.”

    Pocan asked that the Air Force reconsider his request, which it has denied, to conduct side-by-side flight demonstrations of the F-35 and the F-16 at Truax so that area residents can hear the difference in noise levels for themselves.

    “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 benefited from hearing the differences between the two planes while taking-off and landing,” Pocan added.

    “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.”

    The side-by-side demonstration is “imperative,” Pocan wrote, for the community to truly understand the planes’ impact. Pocan also expressed concern that hundreds of homes near the airport would not be eligible for a program to help pay for noise mitigation, according to a City of Madison analysis.

    “I believe the Air Force must commit publicly to securing funding for anyone impacted by the placement of the F-35 in Madison,” Pocan wrote.

    “Without commitments for noise mitigation assistance from the Air Force,” he added, “it will be difficult to support any potential F-35 mission at Truax Air National Guard Base.”

    Ruth Conniff
    Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine, and opened the Progressive’s office in Washington, DC, during the Clinton Administration, where she made her debut as a political pundit on CNN’s Capital Gang Sunday and Fox News. She moved to Oaxaca, Mexico, for a year in 2017, where she covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Donald Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on All in with Chris Hayes on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, and other radio and television programs. In 2011, she did award-winning coverage of the uprising against Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Conniff graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal.