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F-35 environmental report shows 'significant impact' on noise on Madison's north side

Report shows no impact to land or air quality

MADISON, Wis. - A newly released draft environmental impact statement from the United States Air Force shows there could be a significant increase in noise on Madison's north side if the F-35 fighter jet is installed at the Truax base next year.

The draft report, which was released online Thursday, evaluates multiple potential impacts of locating the new F-35 jet at Truax, including noise, air quality and land use, among other issues.

Currently, the 115th Fighter Wing flies F-16 jets out of the Truax base. The Air Force announced in December 2017 that Madison was the preferred base to house the next generation fighter jet. 

According to the draft report, noise levels could increase in intensity for some areas of Madison, but the area affected by flight noise also would expand. 

"Based on context and intensity, the change in the noise environment associated with the proposed action would be considered significant in the area surrounding the airfield," the executive summary said. 

The evaluation of noise found the day-night Average Sound Level (DNL) creates an additional 1,320 acres of land that would be affected by 65 decibels of sound.  The report says that would increase the number of people affected by the sound by 2,215. 

Based on maps included in the draft report, those areas would primary be north and south of the Dane County Regional Airport. The noise would likely affect those even south of Commercial Avenue. 

The noise would also increase for some who are nearer to the airport.  

The report said "292 persons would be located in the 70-75 DNL contour where housing is incompatible absent an exception." 

The report calculation says there is not an expectation of noise that could cause hearing loss. 

Some neighbors had expressed concern about the amount of noise the F-35 would bring to their neighborhood. 

According to the report, the Air Force received 594 comments from the general public, with 445 in support of the F-35 locating at Truax, and 115 expressing concerns about noise.

A group of community supporters called Together Truax has also lobbied for the positive effects that getting the F-35 would have on the city. 

Estimations of other impacts show no significant issues with air quality or safety.  The base is only expected to expand by 5 acres, making land use impacts also considered "not significant."

In a statement, the 115th Fighter Wing said that "many variables will affect how the F-35 fits into the local, regional and national impact of this mission."

"There will undoubtedly be questions and significant interest by our local stakeholders and we will share any potential impacts with our friends and neighbors in the community," the statement said.  "This is a community in which we are proud to live and serve."

A second opportunity for public comment will now begin on the draft statement. Residents can submit comments online, or attend an open house meeting on Sept. 12 at the Alliant Energy Center. 

The final decision on locating the F-35 base will be made in February 2020. 
 

 

 

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