COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF F-35 BASE? VERMONT PREFERS SACRIFICE ZONE
By William Boardman Email address removed"> Email address removed
Vermont's highest elected officials continue to promote class warfare in their reflexive support for basing the F-35 stealth nuclear-capable strike fighter in the middle of Vermont's only urban area even though the world's most expensive weapons system, $396 billion and counting, has been grounded since mid-January because it's unsafe to fly.
Directly challenging the state leadership's willingness to let poor and minority communities bear the greatest cost of putting an F-35 in the middle of greater Burlington, a state representative is introducing a bill in the Vermont legislature that, while it would not protect people against harm, would at least compensate them for whatever damage the government decision does to their property or health.
The Air Force draft environmental impact statement of March 2012 is unambiguous in its finding that the detrimental impact on Vermonters near the base in the categories of noise, land use, and environmental justice are far worse for the Burlington base than for people living near any of the five alternative choices, some of which would suffer no such negative impacts at all, in the Air Force assessment.
As the Air Force puts it, when it comes to noise, land use, and environmental justice, if the F-35 were to be based at the Burlington airport, "Analysis has identified unavoidable adverse environmental impact" from excessive noise, land degradation, and harm to the most vulnerable base neighbors.
When Government Hurts People, Then What?
Given the unavoidable negative impact promised by the Air Force, a state legislator elected in 2012, Rep. George Cross, a Democrat of Winooski, has drafted a bill that addresses "environmental injustice," which is the Air Force euphemism for the disproportionate harm inflicted on poor and minority citizens, the effect some characterize as class warfare.