Low-income residents most affected by F-35

Environmental impact to be presented at Sept. 12 open house

Upon the completion of draft Environment Impact Statement connected with the possible placement of the F-35 aircraft at Madison’s Truax Field, a document that identified low-income residents on Madison’s east side as the most affected by the new aircraft and mission, a public presentation is the next step in the review process.

The Draft EIS, which has been posted online on the U.S. Air Force website, will be presented during an Open House on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., in Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison. Members of the public can remain engaged in the EIS process by visiting the website and attending the Sept. 12 open house and public meeting.

Chris Arenz, executive director of the Badger Air Community Council and a former F-16 pilot with the 115th Fighter Wing based at Truax, notes the release of the Draft EIS is the next step in a very deliberative review process that identified the 115th Fighter Wing as the preferred alternative over 17 other Air National Guard bases. The purpose of the Draft EIS, which is subject to revision after a period of public comment, is to identify the maximum potential for changes in impact because of the new mission.

“As these potential impacts are identified, work can begin between the Fighter Wing, our federal, state and local government partners and the community in addressing and mitigating those impacts, particularly as it relates to low-income residents who were identified in the Draft EIS as being most affected,” Arnez said in a statement released by the BACC, which was formed in 2012 by former members of the 115th Fighter Wing and business and civic leaders to act as a liaison organization between the community and the Fighter Wing.

The Air Force has flown missions at Truax Field for the past 71 years, starting with the F-51 Mustangs, which were first assigned to the 115th Fighter squadron at its formation in 1948. The F-35 aircraft, which would replace the existing F-16s, would be the sixth to be based at Truax.

For more information on community support for the F-35, visit the Together Truax website. Together Truax was launched in June 2016 by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Badger Air Community Council, to assist the effort to base the F-35A aircraft at Truax Field.