Despite opposition, Madison remains preferred F-35 site in latest report

Despite months of opposition from community groups and elected officials, The National Guard Bureau continues to list Madison's 115th Fighter Wing as a preferred site for the aircraft.

The finding comes in the final version of itsEnvironmental Impact Statement(EIS) released today analyzing the effects of basing F-35 fighter jets in Madison -- finding in line with a draft of the EIS released last year.

The informational website for the EIS says a final decision on which bases will receive the jets will not be decided until at least March 30.

The EIS evaluates five possible bases for the planes: Madison, Wisconsin; Boise, Idaho; Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan; Jacksonville, Florida; and Mongomery, Alabama.

Madison and Mongomery continue to be listed as the two preferred locations to receive F-35s. A preliminary draft of the EIS released in August 2019 also listed the two communities as preferential sites for the jets.

Opponents of the jets have said F-35s are noticeably louder than the F-16s currently stationed at Truax.

If Madison is selected, more 2,200 more people living near the base would be exposed to average noise levels of 65 dB. An additional 292 people would live in areas experiencing average sound levels between 70 and 75 dB where, according to the EIS, "housing is incompatible."

Activists have staged oppositional protests to F-35s in Madisonas an attempt to sway elected officials. Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), an outspoken opponent of basing the planes at Truax, evenmade a trip to Vermontto glean how residents there have reacted to the aircraft.

The EIS also says a decision to base jets at Truax would disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities.

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