The statement comes after substantial discussion of possible impacts of the F-35 jets on the area. The concerns include noise levels and possible environmental damage.
“I am very disappointed in the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard’s failure to provide adequate information about this project and its potential impacts on our community, and their failure to address misconceptions on the record,” Rhodes-Conway said.
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Conway cited several areas of confusion found in the EIS. While the EIS drafts stated there would be a flight increase of 27%, which suggests an increase in noise, other components in the EIS suggested otherwise.
Rhodes-Conway noted the sound study, which stated that the new planes would decrease afterburner takeoffs by 55%, which suggests a decrease in noise. Meanwhile, the Day Night Average Sound Level metric again suggested an increase in noise levels, while the Sound Exposure Level chart demonstrated almost no change with locations that most involve the community.
“Based on what we know — and don’t know — today, it’s very difficult to evaluate the true impact of this project on the Madison region,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Given this uncertainty, I am demanding better answers from the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard.”
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the City Council also passed a resolution Wednesday morning asking the Air Force to reconsider their plans to use Truax Field as a base for the F-35 jets. The resolution was passed with a 16-3 vote, which was just shy of completely opposing the plan.
Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, also sought more information on Tuesday as he requested further noise impact testing for nearby neighborhoods before the Sept. 27 deadline for public comments on the EIS.
“As I hear from more members of the community, it has been brought to my attention that the noise impact is difficult to assess due to the Air Force’s use of the Day, Night, Average Sound Level (DNL) metric,” Pocan wrote to Acting Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan.
In her statement, the Rhodes-Conway stated the need for more answers as well as her full support of Pocan’s request. Rhodes-Conway also stated that the public deserves better information.
Rhodes-Conway said if the final draft of the EIS does not address these concerns, the U.S. Air Forces and the Air National Guard should re-evaluate their plans to use Truax Field to site F-35s.
“Members of the 115th wing are members of our community,” Rhodes-Conway said. “They have jobs here, raise their families here and go to school here in addition to serving in the Air National Guard.”