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Archive for February, 2018

Madison Alders Will Host Listening Session on Environmental Impacts of F35s, February 28

Madison Alders Will Host Listening Session on Environmental Impacts of F35s, February 28

Madison Alder Marsha Rummel announced a listening session about the proposal to locate F35s at Madison’s Truax Air National Guard Base on her website.

Information below is directly from Alder Rummel’s website.

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Wednesday February 28
Alders hold Listening Session on Environmental Impact of F-35s
7-8:30p East Madison Community Center 8 Straubel Court

Last week I reported on the public scoping meeting the National Guard Bureau is planning for March 8. They will host two sessions: 2-4p and 5-8p at the Crowne Plaza Madison Hotel 4402 E Washington to gather public input for the Environmental Impact Statement for the beddown of 18 F-35A aircraft at Truax Field. Truax Field, home of the 115th Fighter Wing is one of two preferred alternatives for the new fighter jets, pending results of the EIS. The NGB will hold an open house using a one-on-one format.  Send written comments to Ms. Christel Johnson, NGB/A4AM, Sheppard Hall, 3501 Fetchet Avenue, Joint Base Andrews MD 20762-5157 or via the project website at http://www.ANGF35EIS.com .

Alders surrounding Truax received an invitation from the National Guard Bureau to provide oral or written comments by the end of the month. Last week I asked east and north side alders to co-host a listening session with me. We found a date and would like to get your feedback in a community meeting format to inform our written comments and a Council resolution. Alders Palm, Kemble, Baldeh, Ahrens, DeMarb, Zellers and I are planning to attend. If you can’t attend, I would like to hear from you.

My goal is to gather questions and concerns and present them on March 8 to get answers from the NGB, then submit a letter with a summary of what I have learned with my recommendation.

In addition to noise at ear shattering levels that affects most residents of the east side, noise and air pollution that disproportionately affects people of color who live in proximity to the field and under flight paths, potential groundwater contamination from jet fuel, solvents, petroleum products and other chemicals used on the site that impacts Starkweather Creek, there is the potential risk of crashes. While training may be the bulk of their flights and crashes rare (the last one was 2011), the fighter jets are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, smart bombs, air-to-surface missiles, etc. We have a right to know what weapons will be on board and if nuclear materials will be stored at and transported to Truax Field. We also have a right to know if there been a comprehensive test of soil contamination of the site that would affect employees. We need to learn about proposed flight paths and projected decibel levels. Will the F-35As use afterburners which contribute to the sonic boom? The economic benefits to Madison are unevenly distributed. At best we retain existing military jobs with some improvements at the site. Will the EIS look at how $94M-$128M per aircraft could be spent on other needs like education, healthcare, or infrastructure improvements? Or how the war on terrorism economy contributes to the growing inequality between working people and the wealthiest people at home and how endless military engagements around the globe kill and wreak havoc on families and communities. How do we build a sustainable, just and humane security system?

All federal agencies are required to take a look at potential environmental impacts of proposed actions per the National Environmental Policy Act https://www.epa.gov/nepa/what-national-environmental-policy-act and make a ruling about social, economic and environmental impacts.

The Air Force has its own NEPA protocols
 https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=cec76a30311d778de544f0fc63b53e89&mc=true&node=pt32.6.989&rgn=div5  that address air quality, pollution protection, noise and environmental justice.

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Felling a Full-Fledged Forest is Pure Folly

Felling a Full-Fledged Forest is Pure Folly

By Debra Desmoulin.

Please alert everyone to an environmentally-destructive project that Herb Kohler is trying to push through the Department of Natural Resources in the City of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Please help Mr. Kohler see the advantage of choosing a less ecologically-sensitive area for his golf course project.

Here are some of the potential negative impacts that this project would engender. There are more concerns, but I will start here:

  • The Black River Forest, a 247-acre full-fledged wildlife habitat, complete with a thriving ecosystem, and a migratory flyway, owned by Herb Kohler, is threatened to be taken down and replaced with a sterile, chemically-treated golf course.
  • Kohler is requesting publicly-funded acreage from the adjacent heavily-used and publicly funded Terry Andrea State Park on the south side of his forest, in order to share the entrance for access to his golf course, even though he wouldn’t have to compromise the State Park’s entrance, because Kohler has land that could be used to enter it on the north side of the proposed golf course.
  • However, there is a quiet little community, in the Town of Wilson, adjacent to his forest on the north side, which will be disrupted by this golf course and the tournaments planned there, if Kohler’s project is allowed to proceed. In addition, Town residents’ wells will most likely run dry as Kohler’s high-capacity wells empty the aquifer, as happened to homes in the Town of Mosel for Kohler’s Whistling Straights golf course further north, but at least, the Whistling Straights land did not destroy a forest.
  • This proposed golf course is right on Lake Michigan on the east side and the Black River on the west side. The Black River is already impaired and Lake Michigan has water quality issues as well. Lake Michigan provides drinking water for the entire Great Lakes Basin, which will suffer from all of the chemical run-off from the course.
  • The Department of Natural Resources has already given Kohler the green light to dry up wetlands on his property and they are rewriting the Terry Andrea State Park Master Plan to legally give away tax-funded public parkland to Kohler, a private entity. The environment will suffer a great impact to: the air quality when all of those trees are felled; the water quality with chemical run-off; and the flora and fauna that live there, including at least a dozen endangered and threatened species. In addition, the Black River forest is a migratory flyway and has Native American mounds in several places. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2018/01/17/dnr-approves-wetland-permit-kohlers-golf-course-sheboygan-county-lake-michigan-shoreline/1042613001/

Please consider working on dissuading Herb Kohler from this environmentally-destructive project and even if he wants to follow through on it, please convince him to choose a different site or even a different project altogether before it’s too late. Golf courses are never a welcome environmental asset and Sheboygan County already has about 11 of them. Environmental activists, let’s defend the trees, plants, and animals that call the Black River Forest their home.

Below, aerial view of Black River Forest, photos of forest and of Lake Michigan beach and dunes next to it:

 

 

 

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F-35 Environmental Impact Study Begins; Public Meeting March 8 in Madison

F-35 Environmental Impact Study Begins; Public Meeting March 8 in Madison

By Steve Verburg, Wisconsin State Journal

The Air National Guard has begun accepting public comments on the scope of a study it will conduct on the expected environmental impact of basing a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison.

Federally mandated environmental impact statements can cover issues such as noise, air emissions and hazardous materials, as well as social and economic impacts. The military on Wednesday began accepting comments on the scope of the study it will conduct. Read the full article here.

 

More info on how, where, and when to submit comments:

Citizens can attend a public meeting, and submit comments, from 5 to 8 p.m. March 8 at the Crowne Plaza Madison Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Ave. The public will also be admitted to a meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. intended primarily for public officials, stakeholders and others who have expressed a special interest in the F-35.

 

Citizens who cannot attend the meeting can submit comments online here by April 6.

 

A Citizens Guide to the NEPA; Having Your Voice Heard.” includes guidance for citizens on making sure their voices are heard.

 

The F35 siting at Truax also raises many environmental justice issues. This document describes EJ issues that should be considered in the EIS process: Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews

 

 

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MEJO Joins 90 Scientists and Community Leaders on NRDC Letter Supporting EPA IRIS Program

MEJO Joins 90 Scientists and Community Leaders on NRDC Letter Supporting EPA IRIS Program

MEJO joined 90 scientists, environmental health experts, medical professionals, and community leaders on a letter  by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Senior Scientist Dr. Jen Sass supporting the EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program. The NRDC letter asked that the 2018 National Academies review provide support for the IRIS program to continue as an independent chemical assessment program that uses the best scientific methods to ensure protection for public health and the environment.

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