Organization hosts forum opposing F-35 Jets

MADISON, Wis. — A local organization held an educational forum on the F-35 fighter jets potentially making their way to Dane County Regional Airport.

The event was hosted on Sunday by Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin, an organization opposed to the basing of F-35 jets at Truax Field.

The decision to possibly bring the jets to Madison will be made 30 days after a final federally mandated Environmental Impact Study set to be released later this month.

The forum featured a panel of area activists and experts who discussed the environmental and health implications of bringing the jets to Madison.

Panelists focused on the increase of chemicals more commonly known as PFAS that they say the fighter jets would bring to an area that’s already polluted by the chemicals.

“There’s all kinds of health problems associated with it. Cancer, thyroid problem all kinds of things. So, It’s in our water. Starkweather Creek is probably one of the most contaminated places in the state,” said Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin community organizer Tom Boswell.

Boswell added the U.S.Air Force should instead focus on cleaning up the contaminated water supply already polluted by F-16s.

Community organizers are also concerned about the impact these fighter jets will have on the neighborhoods closest to Truax Field.

They say low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods largely populated by people of color will experience daily noise levels considered incompatible for residential use.

“We shouldn’t have military jets where people are living, where children are growing and learning. They shouldn’t have terrifying sounds and military grade pollution,” said volunteer for Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin Karen Miskimen.

If Truax Field is chosen, the F-35 jets would arrive in 2024.

Supporters of bringing the jets to the area cite the big economic impact it could bring.