F-35 May Come to
Vermont on Wing and Prayer -- or Mostly Prayer, and Deceit
By William Boardman 6.1.13
Air Force Acknowledges F-35 Critics Were Right About Impact
The Air Force has admitted that it's critics in Vermont have been right all along -- that basing the F-35 strike fighter in Burlington, the state's only area with population at urban-concentration levels, will render thousands more homes "unsuitable for residential use" than originally estimate.
The faulty first estimate in the Air Force's environmental impact statement resulted from the Air Force's use of outdated 2000 census data, even though 2010 census data was easily available at the time the statement was prepared.
The 1,100-page environmental impact statement has been challenged on factual grounds since its release in 2012. The Air Force is currently reassessing it, with a full revised edition expected in the fall of 2013. There is now a 30 day public comment period on the revised report.
The revisions made public on May 31 all related to the Air Force's erroneous population figures for the several towns surrounding the Burlington International Airport (which is in South Burlington, but owned by Burlington). Burlington suffers little negative impact from airport while reaping most of the benefits. The Air Force also corrected population data for other F-35 bases under consideration in other states.