City Government

Draft Environmental Statement Paints Dark Picture For F-35 Fighters In Boise

Based on news from more than a year ago, it appeared the U.S. Air Force had abandoned plans to base the F-35 in Boise. Now, a report dated January 20 has surfaced along with a schedule for hearings in Boise this week. The EARLIER NEWS said Boise would possibly get Italian cargo planes rather than the F-35.

Plans enthusiastically endorsed by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and the city council to locate F-35 fighter jets at Gowen Field could devestate the lives of thousands of residents, according to an opponent of the plan who based his conclusions on an official AIR FORCE REPORT.

A just released environmental impact statement conducted for the U.S. Air Force shows that at least 10,000 homes in a five mile swath between Columbia Village and Maple Grove would be classified as “NOT SUITABLE FOR RESIDENTIAL USE due to high noise levels according to an opponent of the plan who estimated the loss of home value will be in the $50 to $70 million range. Under one scenario nearly 7,000 acres off the airport would be in the impact area. Numerous Churches and schools have been identified as “noise sensitive sites,” in the report. The report also concluded “air operations” (take offs and landings) could increase as much as 50%.

Boise resident Monty Mericle has led the fight against locating the F-35 fighters in Boise, citing existing bases at Mountain Home and in Arizona as much more appropriate than a metropolitan area such as Boise.

“About 1,400 sorties will be with full afterburner and 1,400 will be at night. Four schools and 13 day care centers will exceed government noise levels for learning, and over 300 cases of hearing loss are estimated. All of this is documented in the 980 page EIS,” Mericle told the GUARDIAN.

Public meetings are scheduled for Friday February 27th from 5 till 8 at the Capital City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 63, 8931 W. Ardene St, Boise, and Saturday February 28th from 5 till 8 at the Boise Hotel and Conference Center at 3300 Vista, Boise.

“Hopefully State, City, Airport, and County representatives will be in attendance to explain why they continue supporting this plan with its now documented devastating consequences. After all, they are the elected officials who brought this catastrophe to us,” concluded Mericle.

Monty Mericle is the chairman of the SaveOurValleyNow.org group trying to inform the citizens of the valley what the F-35 mission will do to our valley. The web site is currently disabled.

More information can be found at these links:

BOISE SITE

MAIN SITE FOR EIS

HEARING SCHEDULE

Comments & Discussion

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  1. For starters, the phrase “devastate the lives” does not appear in the EIS. Nor does the word “devastate.” By all reports, the F-35 is noise, especially in afterburner, which the military uses on take-off. However, it’s no noisier than the RF-4s that were at Gowen when much of that area was originally developed. I don’t know how the numbers of airplanes compare. I haven’t read the EIS in detail, but I would bet that the scenario described in paragraph 2 is the most extreme scenario that could be gleaned from the document. A little less hype, please.

    EDITOR NOTE–IF your home becomes “not suitable for residential use,” it would probably be fair to use “devastate.” Come on Eric, would we have caught your attention with, “Boring, Lengthy Government Report With Charts and Graphs Released?”

  2. We live in the impact area, and it was devastating when the F35s were training here a couple of years ago. The noise is like nothing I could have imagined. Everything in the house shakes, and you cannot hear any other thing until the plane has passed. They were flying far fewer missions at that time, and if this plan goes through, our home will become unlivable for us.

    If we complain about this (constructively or otherwise), we get the phrase “Sound of freedom” thrown back at us. But I have to wonder if our founding fathers would have considered this an acceptable loss of liberty when other, more suitable and less impactful sites are available.

  3. The reverse problem happened with housing encroaching on El Toro Marine Air Base in Orange County, Ca. Complaints from all the residents (the base was there first) got this first rate facility on the base closure list in 1994. The noise from the base was day and night and people had to know this when the bought new homes next to this facility. Sonic booms and screeching jet engines went on day and night. No local government authority could impose noise abatement standards on the base, nor should there have been any imposed.

    I value the right to take a nap, get a good night of sleep and do not want the F-35 nor do I want to see the Boise Airport become an inland freight hub for big jets to land all night long.

    This was a very bad idea and I am pleased those reviewing this came to the same conclusion.

  4. Hearing loss and crashing property values are a small price to pay for freedom. Hope you feel as much freedom as I do now that Saddam is gone and it only cost a few trillion dollars. The afterburn of freedom is just starting from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Even more freedom when we bomb Iran. We will be so free the government will try to tax it. Watch it and see.

  5. I shouldn’t call out people I apologize, let me put it this way:

    I don’t know how loud the F35 is having never seen one (they aren’t operational yet) but the AF says it is nearly 2 times louder than an F15. Having worked F15E’s (The same type of F15’s we see flying in the pattern here) they will litterly rattle your insides @ 90% power (not to mention seg 11/full burner) so if the F35 is twice the noise, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere near either end of the runway. If people didn’t like the RF4C’s the guard flew they sure won’t like modern jets. Jet noise is the sound of freedom and Boise could use the economic boost but a city is not where you want to put fighter aircraft… my opinion

  6. Thanks for the clarification, D.O. My bad.

  7. Tire and motorcycle noise is more than I want.

  8. To clarify, the AF has always had Boise as an alternative location; it never abandoned plans to analyze possible impacts to Boise, they simply announced a preferred alternative location- Luke AFB. The EIS is now out for public and agency review and still very much a decision making document. Until the public review period is over, all comments are addressed, and a Record of Decision (ROD) comes out, no decision on basing location can be made under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.

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