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F-35A fighters. Photo: U.S. Air Force
F-35A fighters. Photo: U.S. Air Force

F-35 planes in Burlington would affect more people than expected

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The Air Force has a released a new environmental impact statement indicating that more people will be affected by noise from the F-35 if the plane is based in Burlington. But Burlington is still one of the Air Force's top locations for the plane.

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

The 1000 page document looks at how the plane could affect emissions, air pollution, wildlife, and people at six different air bases around the country. For Burlington, the biggest issue is noise.

The new environmental impact statement says that between 2,000 and 3,000 people in South Burlington and Winooski stand to be affected by noise levels over 65 decibels if the planes bed down at the Burlington airport.

That number is higher than the Air Force initially thought. Last year's draft EIS used census data from 2000. The new report uses more accurate data from 2010.

On Friday the Vermont National Guard said in a press release that they're reviewing the document. They say they are "confident in the transparent process" for determining a site for the new planes.

Even though Burlington is no longer the most environmentally sound site, it remains a top choice for the Air Force.

Vermont's congressional delegation and governor Peter Shumlin support the F-35. But hundreds of Burlington-area residents, worried about noise, health, and property values, gathered to protest the plane last week.

The Air Force will receive public comment on the environmental impact statement for 30 days.

They are expected to make a decision about the plane next fall.

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