DANE COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION OPPOSING F35 BEDDOWN AT TRUAX FIELD AT THURSDAY’S COUNTY BOARD MEETING
In response to the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released by the United States Air Force (USAF), Supervisors Heidi Wegleitner (District 2), Michele Ritt (District 18), Paul Rusk (District 12), Yogesh Chawla (District 6), and Richard Kilmer (District 4) are sponsoring a resolution opposing siting the F35A squadron at the Truax Airfield at the Dane County Regional Airport. Districts on the north and east side of Madison would suffer the most severe impacts due to the F35 basing.
The final EIS confirms concerns that basing the F35A squadron at Truax Airfield would have significant noise impacts, and would disproportionately affect low-income people, communities of color, and children.
The USAF cannot fund noise mitigation to assist nearby property owners. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a voluntary program that the County could pursue, but the process takes years to complete and no funding is guaranteed. There are nearly 800 subsidized low-income housing units just outside of the 65 dB DNL contour and therefore ineligible under FAA regulations.
“We have a huge affordable housing gap in this county,” states Supervisor Wegleitner, a member of the City-County Homeless Issues Committee, which wrote a letter in opposition to the F35 basing. “Residents can’t just pick up and move to a new affordable housing unit on the other side of the County. Waitlists are years-long or closed.”
The USAF Proposed Action includes construction and soil disturbance of land without committing to complete a site investigation and remediation of PFAS. These man-made chemicals can lead to adverse human health effects at very low concentrations and have been found in the land and water near the airport.
“One of our top priorities in County government is to ensure that our neighbors have clean drinking water and to ensure that we are not supporting projects that could have potentially life threatening health consequences to the most vulnerable people in our community,” adds Supervisor Chawla, a member of the Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, drinking water can be a source of exposure to PFAS in communities where these chemicals have contaminated water supplies. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources previously sent a letter to the USAF stating that all planned construction projects will require a complete site investigation to determine whether PFAS contamination is present prior to construction. Without a complete site investigation prior to construction beginning, there is a risk of further PFAS contamination of our groundwater.
The resolution calls on the county’s Corporation Counsel to prepare a legal opinion for the Dane County Board on all potential legal strategies within the County’s authority for preventing the proposed action and mitigating the impact of the proposed action.