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.”