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Request for Extension for Comment Period and Comments on the US Air Force Reserve Command F-35A Oper

 

Tucson Forward, Inc.
 c/o Kathleen Williamson, Vice President

PO Box 249

Tucson, AZ 85702

 

 

May 11, 2018

 

VIA E-MAIL

 

Mr. Hamid Kamalpour

United States Air Force, AFCEC/CZN

2261 Hughes Ave, Ste. 155

Lackland AFB, Texas 78236-9853

 

 

Re:Request for Extension for Comment Period and CommentsontheUSAirForce Reserve Command F-35A Operational Beddown Environmental Impact Statement 

 

ToWhomItMayConcern:

 

          We preface this comment with a request for additional time in this scoping period for the community to provide comments. Thepublicisbeingaskedtocommentonincompleteinformation. The City of Tucson failed to notify its citizens in a timely fashion about this comment period, with its official notice only being published on May 7, 2018 and with council members’ newsletters to their constituents failing to notify citizens of the comments period.  While the April Air Force public gathering on April 24, 2018 was reported in the Daily Star, for most people who attended, that was the first time they were informed that the scoping period had already been opened and the deadline to file these comments was May 11, 2018.  Hence, insufficient notice was provided to the public in order for the public to be informed and have time to respond with an informed comment. We request an additional 60 days, to July 11, 2018.   

 

          ThesecommentsaresubmittedontheTucson - USAirForce Reserve Command F-35A Operational Beddown Environmental Impact Statement.ThemissionoftheTucson ForwardistoparticipateinthisandotherimportantdecisionsaffectingpublicresourcesinTucson. Tucson Forward, Inc. is a non-profit Arizona corporation located in Tucson. Our purpose is to educate the public about the impact of low flying military training over the metropolitan Tucson area and to help represent over 600 members, supporters, and/or participants in our group.  We hereby submit ourcommentsontheUnitedStatesAirForceproposed Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to assess the environmental consequences that could result from the beddown and operation of 24 F-35A jets in Tucson, Arizona.  We intend these comments to apply whether this plan is involving the beddown at or use of Davis-Monthan Air Force base or the Arizona Air National Guard at Tucson International Airport or both, as they are both located in and fly jets over the densely populated metropolitan areas of greater Tucson. These comments are intended to be part of the official record for theEnvironmentalImpactStatementincompliancewiththeNationalEnvironmentalPolicyActof1969,42U.S.C.§4331,etseq.,(NEPA).[1]  

 

          Thesecommentsaresubmittedduringthefirst requisitecommentscoping period.  TheCommentersrequestthatKathleen Williamson,Vice-PresidentofTucson Forward, Inc.beplacedontherecipientlisttoreceivenoticeofanydevelopmentsintheUSAFNEPAreviewprocessforthisEIS proposalandanyrelateddocumentsissuedbytheUSAFinthecourseofitsNEPAreviewofthisproposal.TheCommentersfurtherrequestthatthesecommentsbeincludedaspartoftheadministrativerecord.Members of this organization, its officers, and other interested citizens associated with the organization may also submit additional comments separately.Wesubmitthefollowingcommentsatthistimeinordertomaintainourstandingtochallengeinacourtoflawany process ordecision whichis inviolationoftheNEPA.

 

          Tucson Forwardis primarilyaddressingserious,fundamentalproblemswiththeproposed Operational Beddown to inform the EISandthenumerouswaysin whichthe proposed beddown of F35s in Tucsonfailstomeetthegoals and requirementsoftheNEPA.

 

Recommendation:Withdraw consideration of the Tucson area for the Beddown of the F35A. 

Theproposed F-35A presence in the Tucson area isanassault on many already affectedcommunities, which is comprised of a densely populated urban area that surrounds both the DMAFB as well as TIA.  Furthermore, the flights and training overhead are over the same densely populated areas, including directly over the campuses of the University of Arizona, the Pima Community College, and uncountable high schools and elementary schools; especially notable is the Julia Keen neighborhood.  To beddown F35s in this metropolitan area makesamockeryoftheNEPA mandate.The jets will be taking off and flying over heavily populated and numerous churches, parks, recreation areas, stadiums, pedestrian areas, and downtown areas.  As we are all aware, the F35 is a terribly loud (up to 121db) jet. Tucson is a very outdoors environment. Furthermore, Tucson is located in and spans a valley ringed by mountains on all sides that creates a reverberating noise environment.  While attending the public scoping meeting on April 24, 2018, Air Force representatives were overheard and gave direct responses to citizens’ questions understating the noise impact of the F35 in one-on-one conversations with citizens.  The handout materials were flawed in that they failed to inform the public about the impacts of the F35 jets.  Thee handouts touted the war capacities of the F35 but failed to inform the public about the specifications relevant to Tucsonans and its visitors of the amount of pollution in fuel and fumes it would contribute to the population below the flights, failed to inform the public about the various decibel levels of the F35, and failed to inform about the fumes the jets would deposit as well as the serious safety risks over this area. This is a serious flaw in the scoping process.  We are confident you already have the April 24, 2018 Air Force Reserve handout titled “Air Force Reserve Command F-35A Operational Beddown,” but enclose it as an exhibit.   The public is being asked to comment on a jet based on a handout from the Air Force for the F-35A, which is more like an advertisement for purchasers of the F-35. The air pollution from the jets’ fumes also accumulates and creates pollution inversions in such valleys, especially with the type of climate, cumulative valley-enclosed air quality issues we already have here.  Concerning safety issues, this is a single engine jet which increases the danger to the metropolis below and thepublicisbeingaskedtocommentonenvironmentalimpactsofasingle-engine planethatis stillunderdevelopment and has proven safety hazard risks.  

 

ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

 

            Tucson is very negatively impacted by this beddown. The proposed Beddown would deplete various environmental resources crucial to the Tucson valley.  First, our groundwater is our lifeline.  Increased jets, especially those as large and sophisticated, expensive to maintain, such as the F35 and the increased infrastructure it would require would deplete precious groundwater.  Tucson citizens abide by conservative water usage practices because we have already gravely depleted our groundwater supply.  While the CAP (Central Arizona Project) now helps provide non-groundwater from the Colorado River, that too is an increasingly finite resource and projections are that Lake Mead will dry up within ten years.   Not only does the increased jet presence and attendant infrastructure require more water, it also will pollute more groundwater as the fuels and cleaners and other chemicals requires for jet ability and maintenance are stored, leaked, or dumped into our groundwater and environment.  

            Air quality will be negatively impacted by the beddown of F35 jets in the valley that holds Tucson and surrounding communities.  It would be a large increase to an already precarious air quality situation. 

 

AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS

 

          Tucson would be seriously negatively impacted by the Aircraft Operations that would result from the F35 Beddown.  First of all, the skies are already too loud and too crowded with A-10s, F-16s, C-120s, Blackhawks, and many other military jets from DMAFB, TIA-ANG, as well as the USA and international military flight training visitors to Tucson. The valley skies now perpetually bear military jets circling or coming or going with attendant unhealthy noise levels.[2]  People are complaining all the time.   Adding more jets, especially, the F35s, would cumulatively make too many homes, workplaces, outdoor areas, etc., uninhabitable and unhealthy for people of all ages and conditions.  There is no sound remediation available to fix this because people don’t live inside their homes 24/7 with doors and windows shut tight (especially in Tucson where at least half of the year the outdoor temperatures permit open windows rather than heating/cooling systems in our homes and outdoor recreation and rest).  What already exists in Tucson in terms of military over flights, makes for interrupted classroom lectures, indoor phone calls, and more serious health problems due to military flight noise, the F35 would radically contribute to the accumulated problem as well as create a whole new insufferable attack of noise by itself.  We have already seen how communities have changed their positions from support to rejection after they have been exposed to the F35s over their populations (egs., Burlington, Boise, Valparaiso).  Tucson doesn’t want this and the temperature extremes and valley environment will only exacerbate the noise and fumes pollution.   It is undisputed that thousands of homes would immediately become officially uninhabitable[3]once the F35s arrive and many times more would become unofficially uninhabitable.   We already have large blighted sections of Tucson due to DM and the TIA/ANG flights but the F35 aircraft operations would tip the scales extremely, resulting in economic, blight and health impacts.   Furthermore, this single engine jet, with known safety issues, flying over the Tucson metropolis with no room for error (such as we recently saw with the C-120 that crashed in Savannah, GA and narrowly missed crashing into a population and a large dangerous chemical manufacturing plant) would be a grave risk for the Air Force to impose on the citizens and visitors of Tucson. [4]  Again, the valley air quality would also be severely damaged by these flight operations in Tucson, which involves safety risks and health damages. 

          NeithertheDepartmentofDefensenoranyofthemilitaryservicesparticipatingintheJointStrikeFighterprogramhaveanyactualdataabouttheF-35inanyofitsvariants,including theF-35A.AsrecentlyasMarch6,2012itwasreportedthatatestflightoftheF-35was abortedafter15minutesasaresultofapossiblefuelleak.(“Tuesday'scurtailedflightwas anothersetbackforthe$382billionF-35program,whichtheU.S.DefenseDepartmentis restructuringforathirdtimetoallowmoretimefordevelopmentandtesting.”Source:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/07/lockheed-fighter-idUSL2E8E70SR20120307accessedMarch12,2012). Thisrecentfuelleakisonlyoneofhundredsofpubliclyreportedproblemswiththeaircraftinquestion.Specificdetailsofadditionalmechanicalfailuresofthisaircrafthavebeen documentedrepeatedlybytheGovernmentalAccountabilityOffice,mostrecentlyinMay 2011testimonytotheUSSenate(GAO-11-677T).TheDepartmentofDefenseconductedarecentreview,whichconcludedthattherewasa“Lackofconfidenceinthedesignstability…supportsseriousreconsiderationofprocurementandproduction”F-35JointStrikeFighter,ConcurrencyQuickLookReview,2011(AhernReport).

            Inparticular,much self-serving AF and Lockheed data onnoise,air qualityandsafetyarepureconjecturebasedondifferentaircraft,nottheF-35Aorits variants.  Problems with safety and software have plagued the F35 for years and persist well into 2018.  See https://vtdigger.org/2018/02/28/problems-plagued-f-35-since-proposed-20-years-ago/

          It has been acknowledged that the F35 has safety and flying issues in thunder and lightening storms.  Tucson has an extensive monsoon that lasts from June through September with dramatic intense lightening and stormy weather.  

 

NATURAL RESOURCES 

            We have already commented on the water depletion and pollution the F35 would require.  The release of fuels and fumes would also degrade water and soil quality, which thereby harms many microorganisms in the air, water, and ground and has slow, exponential effects that course throughout the environment. Because this is a metropolis, the F35 would be too much of a contribution to the cumulative effect we are already trying to reduce and or repair.  Furthermore, we have many endangered species that are migratory or indigenous to this area, which would be negatively impacted by the Beddown flights and infrastructure by itself and in a cumulative relationship with the extant flight operations of military, commercial, and other agencies. 

 

CULTURAL RESOURCES
            The DM and TIA-ANG beddown and flights for the F35 would negatively impact local cultural, traditional, architectural, and archaeological resources.   The Tohono O’Odham and Pascua Yaqui tribe’s reservations contiguous to Tucson.  The military flights already fly over and often buzz Tohono O’Odham school buses and farmers.   The sound of the flights is disruptive to the quieter and simpler lifestyles of the Tohono O’Odham.  There are also archeological, cultural, and archaeological resources right in downtown Tucson that are currently negatively impacted by the military over flights, however, the increased decibels of the F35, as well as its increase in over flight frequency will negatively impact the archaeological history of Chukshon area, a prehistoric birthplace of Tucson which is the west downtown area along the Santa Cruz river, which has been continuously inhabited for over 4,000 years as a residential agricultural community and which hopes to attract scholars, visitors and tourists from all over the world as the historic San Juan trails, Sentinel Peak, the popular Tumamoc Mountain (a UA biological science area next to Sentinel Peak) which hosts hikers all day every day, the downtown Presidio which is the historic birthplace of Tucson with the arrival of Spaniards and their missions and fortifications.   The University of Arizona, with its campus dating back to the late 1800s is the first college campus in the State of Arizona and is a significant educational, arboreal, outdoor, educational and historic attraction over which the F35 would dissect in a low flying training pattern (some visiting F35s have already been doing so and the noise level is ear splitting, both inside and outside).  

 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

          ThenoiseofF-35susing DMAFB willhaveitsgreatestimpactontheneighborhoodsofAlvernonHeights,JuliaKeen,BarrioCentro, andArroyoChico.If the Air Force Reserve employs the additional use of the Tucson International Airport for F35s, it will also disproportionately impact neighborhoods between South Tucson and  Barrio Kroeger Lane Neighborhood.   Thesearelow-incomeandminorityneighborhoods.An analysisofcensus tracts willyieldspecificdata regardingtheethnicandeconomicmakeupoftheseandotherneighborhoodsimpactedbyF-35noise.

 

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

 

            Tucson has a climate that is conducive to health and outdoors activities, from barbecues to hiking, tennis to swimming, commuter walking to mountain climbing, and is one of the nations top cities for bicyclists. Equestrians abound in the greater Tucson area with stables frequently found in metropolitan areas from the wealthy foothills to the lower income Mexican families along the southside’s Santa Cruz.  Children are often outside due to our climate.  There are only a few months, which are very hot from May to September, when Tucson is less conducive to midday outdoor activity, however, the mornings and nights, even during the summer extremes are perfect outdoor weather for recreational activity.  The F35s would seriously negatively impact this.  The decibel levels are too loud and enduring, causing stress, health problems, deafness, anxiety, increased blood pressure, and disruptions. Furthermore, the air pollution caused by the F35s would decrease the health benefits of the air quality while outside, causing more days with air quality warnings for people to stay indoors. Children must especially be protected from the harms of the noise extremes caused by the F35.  Furthermore, the areas where flights are the loudest, take off and landing proximities close to the base (DM or TIA/ANG) are poorer income and more ethnic minorities.  Furthermore, the tourist industries bring in more than military spending in the Tucson area and that needs to be protected.  We will experience not only losses in tourism with the beddown of F35s screaming across our skies but also the brain-drain of recent graduates, and the undoing of decades long upgrades and development in the downtown and west-downtown areas.  

 

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE

 

          Tucson needs more clean, green, local and less polluting community infrastructure.  Tucson would be harmed by increased military infrastructure, pollution, and military influx. The Department of Defense has already acknowledged that climate change is a national security issue.  Increasing Tucson’s pollution by introducing the F35 and the large infrastructure that requires would only contribute to Tucson’s challenges in terms of climate change and it’s already 116-degree summer temperatures.  Also, within this valley-closed densely populated environment, transportation of hazardous materials for fueling, cleaning, and servicing these jets, as well as their ordinance, would cause significant health and safety issues for the surrounding urban density/metropolitan population.  DM already has a history of polluting the groundwater and causing a cancer epidemic near the base.  TIA has already been superfund site.   The F35 would create myriad risks and problems with its waste as well.  Thesimplisticassumptionthattheincreaseinnumberofaircraftand/or numberofflightsislinearandthattherearenocumulativechangesoreffectsasthenumbers increaseforan already over-taxed metropolis would be gravely short-sighted for Tucson’s future. 

 

DODMustDevelopaComprehensiveBaselineforAllofItsActivities

 

          Forthepurposeofestablishingabaselinefromwhichtoaddresscumulativeaffects,theDepartmentofDefense(DOD)shouldinitiateaContinent-wideEISforallmilitaryflights andtraining,whethermannedorunmanned,byanyandallbranchesofthemilitary.Wildlife, waterandairquality,andavianflywaysarejustafewofthepotentiallyaffectednaturalsystems in Tucson,but whichalso existinverylargebioregionsnotdefinedbylinesdrawnonamaparoundasinglebase.

 

CouncilonEnvironmentalQuality(CEQ)policystatesthatactionswhichare:

(1)  closelyrelated,i.e.,areinterdependentpartsofalargeractionanddependonthelargeractionfortheirjustification;or(2)arecumulativeactions,whichwhenviewed withotherproposedactionshavecumulativelysignificantimpacts;or(3)aresimilar actionsthathavesimilaritiesthatprovideabasisforevaluatingtheirenvironmentalconsequencestogether,suchascommontimingandgeography,needtobeconsideredin oneEIS.See40C.F.R.§1508.25.Basedonthispolicy,thenumeroustrainingareasand activities,oroperations,throughoutthewesternUnitedStates,andindeedtheentirecountry,shouldbeconsideredinone,singleprogrammaticorcomprehensiveEIS.

 

          Muchoftheinformationtypically presentedinAir Force EAs or EISsviolatethispolicybyprovidingno recognitionofadjacentactivities.Evenwhenthe Air Force and Marines, or Tucson and Davis-Monthan share a range, such as Goldwater,theproposedAirForceactivityis effectivelyconsideredalone.

 

          Withoutquestion,alloftheareasproposedintheF-35ATrainingBasingDEISareclosely relatedastheyinvolvethesameimpactstoresourcesandarepartofalarger,programmaticplantotrainUSandforeignpilotsandrelatedmilitarystaffwithintheUSAFandtheother branchesoftheDOD.Whenviewedwithotherproposedactions,therearecumulatively significantimpactsonhumancommunitiesandwildlifepopulationsandhabitat.Theseprojectsqualifyas“similaractions”thatprovideabasisforevaluatingtheirenvironmentalconsequencestogether,suchascommontimingandgeography.Theseprojectsthereforemustbeanalyzed at a minimum in terms of the natural areas surrounding Tucson, such as the San Pedro River areas, the Ironwood National Monuments, Saguaro National Monuments, the Tohono O’Odham reservation, the Organ Pipe National Monument, the Tonto National Parks, Chiricahua National Monument, inone,regional programmaticEIS.

  PreparinganationalsinglecomprehensiveorprogrammaticEISistheonlywaytheUSAFgenuinely canexploreandevaluateareasonablerangeofalternativeswithvaryingover flightfrequency andalternatelocations,aswellasalternativemethodsoftraining(includingvirtualflightsimulation).CommentersbelievetheDODdoesnotwantthepublictolearnallofthenegativeenvironmentalimpactsofitsactivities.WeareawarethatatonetimetheDODhad initiatedaprogrammaticEISforitsentirelow-altitudetrainingprogramonanationwide

basis,andthenabruptlydiscontinuedtheprocessafterearlyadministrativedraftsrevealed thepresenceofverysignificantcumulativeimpactsacrossthecountry.[5]

 

          TheUSAFisrequiredtocomplywithalloftherequirementsofNEPAassuringan independentandcompleteEIS.[6]Thestatuterequiresthatthefollowingrangeofissuesmustbeincludedandsubjectedtoindependent,indepthanalysis:

 

DirectImpacts.

          ANEPA-compliantEISmustanalyzethedirectimpactsoftheproposedaction.This includesbutisnotlimitedto:impactstothehealthandsocioeconomicandpsychologicalwellbeingofNativeAmericantribes,otherresidentsofthearea,andallthosewholiveinand visittheproposedimpactedareasfromwithintheUnitedStatesandaroundtheworld;impactstolivestockandotherdomesticanimals;impactstowildlifeandwildlifehabitat;impactstowildernessareas,AreasofCriticalEnvironmentalConcern,andother environmentallysensitiveareas;airqualityimpacts;[7]impactstoarchaeologically, anthropologically,historically,spiritually,andculturallysignificantareas,impactstoscenicareas,impactstorecreationareas;andimpactstotourism.

 

          Tucson and its surroundssupportanabundantanddiversearrayofwildlifeincludingprimehabitatformanyspecieslistedasthreatenedand/orendangeredundertheEndangeredSpeciesAct,andirreplaceableinmanyrespects.F-35ATrainingBasingislikely tocauseirreparabledamagetowildlifepopulationsandhabitatin this area. Becauseoftheextentoftheterraintobeaffected,detailedindependent,currentanalysismustbedoneforeachproposedlocalityaswellaseachbioregion/ecosystem.

 

IndirectImpacts.

          TheNEPAreviewprocessisrequiredtocarefullyanalyzetheindirecteffectsoftheproposed action.Indirecteffectsareeffectsthatarecausedbytheactionbutoccurlaterintimeorarefurtherremovedindistance.See40C.F.R.§1508.8(b).Indirecteffects“mayincludegrowthinducingeffectsandothereffectsrelatedtoinducedchangesinthepatternofland use,populationdensityorgrowthrate,andrelatedeffectsonairandwaterandothernaturalsystems,includingecosystems.”Id.Here,theindirecteffectsshallinclude,butarenotlimitedto,negativesocioeconomicimpacts,environmentalinjusticeimpacts,andthenegative impactstotourism,publichealth,hunting,andrecreationthatwillresultfromtheproposal.

 

          Theeffectsontherealestatemarket,bothhomeandlandvalues,couldbedevastatingand, althoughraisedrepeatedlyatthecommunitymeetings,must beaddressedintheEIS.

 

CumulativeImpacts.

          TheCommentersurge thatattentionbeseriouslypaidtoidentifyingor analyzinganycumulativeimpactsintheEIS.Infact,a failuretoconsidercumulativeimpactsmakes the EIS faulty.  Itmust take intoaccounttherequirementsofcumulativeimpactsanalysisinsettledcaselaw,regulation andpolicy.

          TheFederalcourtshaveruledthatthegovernment“cannotisolateaproposedproject, viewingitinavacuum.”  ThisisexactlywhattheAirForcemust dowiththeReserve Command F-35A Operational Beddown Environmental Impact Statement. Do notseparatescenarios inavacuum,isolatingonefromtheotheraswellasfromadjacentorshared airspaceand/orrange.Any failuretoaddresscumulativeimpactswill support a withdrawal of an EIS as adocumentnot infullcompliancewithlaw andpolicytobedeveloped.

          TheNEPAreviewprocessrequirestakingahardlookatthecumulativeimpactsoftheproposedaction.Acumulativeimpactis“theimpactontheenvironmentwhichresultsfromtheincrementalimpactoftheactionwhenaddedtootherpast,present,andreasonably foreseeablefutureactionsregardlessofwhatagency(Federalornon-Federal)orperson undertakessuchotheractions.Cumulativeimpactscanresultfromindividuallyminorbutcollectivelysignificantactionstakingplaceoveraperiodoftime.”40C.F.R.§1508.7.

          WithrespecttotheproposedF-35ATrainingBasing,properlyanalyzingcumulativeeffects mustinclude:(1)identifyingthesignificantcumulativeeffectsissuesassociatedwiththeproposedaction;(2)establishingthepropergeographicscopefortheanalysis;(3) establishinganappropriatetimeframefortheanalysis;and(4)identifyingotheractions affectingtheresources,ecosystems,and/orhumancommunitiesofconcern.

          Inthiscase,establishingthepropergeographicscopeorboundaryforacumulativeimpacts analysisisextremelyimportantbecausetheproposedactionwillhavedirect,indirect,and “additive”effectsonresourcesbeyondtheimmediatearea, possibly as far as the Gila Wilderness Area in New Mexico.Todeterminetheappropriategeographicboundariesforacumulativeeffectsanalysis,therefore,theUSAFenvironmentalanalysisshouldfirst:(1)determinetheareaandresourcesthatwillbeaffectedbytheir proposedaction(the“projectimpactzone”);(2)makealistofresourceswithinthatareaor zonethatcouldbeaffectedbytheproposedaction;and(3)determinethegeographicareas occupiedbythoseresourcesoutsidetheimmediateareaorprojectimpactzone.Inmostcases,thelargestoftheseareaswillbetheappropriateareafortheanalysisofcumulativeeffects.Bywayofexample,forresidentormigratorywildlife,theappropriategeographicareaforthecumulativeimpactsanalysiswillbethespecieshabitatorbreedinggrounds, migrationroute,winteringareas,ortotalrangeofaffectedpopulationunits.Seee.g.,NRDC.v.Hodel,865F.2d288,297(D.C.Cir.1988.

          AnotherimportantaspectofacumulativeimpactsanalysisthattheUSAFwillneedto considerisanassessmentofotherpast,present,andreasonablyforeseeableactionsaffecting theresources,ecosystems,and/orhumancommunitiesofconcern.AccordingtotheCEQ, the“mostdevastatingenvironmentaleffectsmayresultnotfromthedirecteffectsofaparticularaction,butfromthecombinationofindividuallyminoreffectsofmultipleactions overtime.”CouncilonEnvironmentalQuality,ConsideringCumulativeEffectsUndertheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyAct1(January1997)availableathttp://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/ccenepa/ccenepa.htm(lastvisitedNovember2,2011).Therequirementtoconsidercumulativeimpacts,therefore,isdesignedtoavoidthe“combination ofindividuallyminor”effectssituation–toavoidthe“tyrannyofsmalldecisions”ordeath byathousandcutsscenario.Seee.g.,GrandCanyonTrustv.FAA,290F.3d339,346(D.C.Cir.2002).

          TheUSAFmustconductaNEPAreviewthattakesintoaccountandanalyzesstate,private, andotherfederalactionsaswellasnaturaloccurrencesoreventsthathavetakenplace,aretakingplace,orproposedtotakeplacethatwillsimilarlyimpacttheregion’swildlifepopulationsandhabitat,andhumancommunities.Individually,eachflyover–though serious–maynotrisetothelevelofposingasignificantrisk.Collectively,however,theimpactsofalloftheseandotheractivities–whetherconductedbyprivateindividuals,stateagencies,orotherfederalagencies–maybesignificantandmustbeanalyzed.Seee.g., GrandCanyonTrust,290F.3dat346(discussingcollectiveimpactstoZionNationalPark);NRDCv.Hodel,865F.2d288(D.C.Cir.1988).AstheD.C.CircuitCourtnoted,federalagenciesmust“givearealisticevaluationofthetotalimpacts[oftheaction]andcannotisolateaproposedproject,viewingitinavacuum.”GrandCanyonTrust,290F.3dat342.Even“aslightincreaseinadverseconditions...maysometimesthreatenharmthatis significant.Onemorefactory...mayrepresentthestrawthatbreaksthebackoftheenvironmentalcamel.”Id.at343(quotingHanlyv.Kleindienst,471F.2d823(2dCir.

1972)). 

          TheUSAFcannotanalyzethedirectandindirecteffectsoftheproposedF-35ATraining Basinginisolation,butmustexaminethecumulativeeffectsoftheproposedprojecttogether withallotherDepartmentofDefensetrainingareasandoperationsinandaroundNewMexico,Idaho,Arizonaandalladjacentstates.Asexplainedbelow,thiscomprehensiveanalysisisrequiredbyNEPAandmandatesthepreparationofaprogrammaticEISthataddressestheentiretyoftrainingprograms.

 

EstablishaBaseline.

          TheUSAFNEPAreviewprocessmustestablish in thisEISaproperbaselineupon whichtobaseitsimpactsanalysesandconducttherequisite“trendsanalysis,”i.e.,an assessmentoftheenvironmentalimpactsofallactivitiesaffectingthevariousresourcesover anextendedperiodoftime.Byfailingtoproperlydefinethebaselineandfromthebaselineengageinatrendsanalysis,theUSAFwillbeunabletotrackanyeffectsandchangesthatwilloccurovertime.Ataminimum,baselinedataonlocationsofwildlifeandmigratorybird paths,andthecurrentexposureofanimalpopulationsandhumancommunitiestosudden heightenednoiselevelsisneededinordertoproperlyanalyzetheimpacts(direct,indirect, andcumulative)oftheproposedaction.

 

Alternatives.

          TheUSAFNEPAreviewprocesswillneedtoconsiderareasonablerangeofalternatives. UnderNEPA,federalagenciesmust“study,develop,anddescribeappropriatealternativesto recommendedcoursesofactioninanyproposalwhichinvolvesunresolvedconflicts concerningalternativeusesofavailableresources.”42U.S.C.§4332(2)(E);seealso40

C.F.R.§1508.9(b).Thediscussionofreasonablealternativessectionisthe“heart”ofany environmentalanalysisunderNEPA.40C.F.R.§1502.14.

 

MeaningfulPublicComment.

          ThegoaloftheNEPAreviewprocessisto“providefullandfairdiscussionofsignificantenvironmentalimpacts[ofaproposedaction]”andto“informdecisionmakersandthepublicofthereasonablealternativeswhichwouldavoidorminimizeadverseimpactsorenhancethequalityofthehumanenvironment.”40C.F.R.§1502.1.Withthismandateinmind,andin ordertoenablemeaningfulpubliccomment,theUSAFNEPAanalysisfortheproposed Beddown EISneedstobewellorganized,easytoreadandunderstand,andincludeproper referencesandcitationstoallrelevantscientificstudiesanddata.

          DisseminationoftheDraftEIStothepublicmust be noticeable and extensive in both English and Spanish.  Publicnoticeforso-called “communityforums”must be effective.

 

BestScientificInformation.

          Allagencies,includingtheUSAF“shallinsuretheprofessionalintegrity,includingscientificintegrity,ofthediscussionsandanalysesinenvironmentalimpactstatements.”40C.F.R.§1502.24.Information“mustbeofhighquality.”40C.F.R.§ 1500.1(b).Accurate“scientificanalysis[is]essentialtoimplementingNEPA.”Id.The USAFmustreviewandcollectsufficientscientificdata. Datacannot be oldand/or unrelatedtothespecificproject. Topicsforstudymust includewatershedimpactsfromaccumulatedperchloratesandotherjetfuelpollutants,firedangerindrought-riddenforests, effectsonwildlifeaswellcattleandranching.Additionallyeffectsoncurrentandfutureeco- tourismandrenewableenergydevelopmentmustbestudied.

 

SocioeconomicFactorsandEnvironmentalJustice

          TheDraftEISmustestablish abaseline,considercumulativeimpacts,andpresent   scienceregarding potentialimpactstohumansornaturalsystems. 

          TheCommentersareinsupportoftheexcellentstudypreparedbyKevinE.Cahill,PhD,ExpertEconomicAssessmentoftheUSAFSocioeconomicImpactAnalysisforBoiseAGS,March3, 2012as a guideline or standard for evaluating whatever EIS results from this proposed Beddown of F35s in Tucson.  Thisstudywaspreviouslysubmittedascommenttoan EISandDr.Cahillalsotestified attheBoisemeeting.ThepublicisgratefultoDr.Cahillfortheamountofresearchthatforms thebasisofhisthirty-pagecomment.Cahillstatesthat,“theAirForce’ssocioeconomicanalysis isnotreliableorinformativeinanyway,”concluding,“Thesocioeconomicanalysiscontainedin theAirForce’sDraftF-35ATrainingBasingEnvironmentalImpactStatementisfundamentally flawedandgrosslyinsufficient.”

          WhileCahillwrotethereportspecificallytotheBoiseoption,theunderlyingresearchand analysisappliestoallofthescenarios.Cahill’scritiqueoftheIMPLANmodelusedbytheAir ForceandtheDEISfailuretoconsiderqualityoflife,lostproductivity,impactsonlearningataffectedschools,propertyvaluesandothereconomicimpactsappliestotheotherproposed communitiesaswell.

          Acomprehensivestudyofsocioeconomicandenvironmentaljusticeimpactsisneededatthecountylevelaswellasattheregionalmarket/serviceslevel,manyofwhichcrossstateand countylines.

 

          

 

          

 

          Inconclusion,weaskthatthattheDODallow a 60 day extension for comments in this phase due to a lack of notice to the general population.  Second, we recommend that the AF firstcompleteanEISforallcontinentallow,middleandhighaltitudeflightsbothmanned andunmannedforallDODbranches.Webelievethepublicwillbeoutragedtolearnhowmuch airspace,howmanyflights,howmuchpollution,andhowmuchmoneyisliterallyburned overheadbytheDODandthatthepublicwilldemandthatmilitaryairspaceandtrainingcontractandnotexpand.  Lastly, we urge the AF to conduct an objective, outside, in-depth EIS and diligently take into account the negative impact an F35 beddown will have on the Greater Tucson area.  

 

          Wehopeyoufindthesecommentstobehelpful,informative,and usefulinyoureffortsto complywiththeNEPAandothersubstantivestatutes.Ifyouhaveanyquestionsorcomments,or wishtodiscusstheissuesraisedinthiscommentingreaterdetail,pleasedonothesitatetocontactTucson Forward, Inc.representativelistedbelow.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

s/Kathleen G. Williamson/s

Vice-President 

 

OnBehalfof:

 

Tucson Forward, Inc.

c/o Kathleen G. Williamson

PO Box 249

Tucson, AZ 85702



[1](a)The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural environment, particularly the profound influences of population growth, high-density urbanization, industrial expansion, resource exploitation, and new and expanding technological advances and recognizing further the critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.

(b)In order to carry out the policy set forth in this chapter, it is the continuing responsibility of the Federal Government to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, to improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs, and resources to the end that the Nation may—

(1)

fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations;

(2)

assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, and esthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings;

(3)

attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences;

(4)

preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage, and maintain, wherever possible, an environment which supports diversity and variety of individual choice;

(5)

achieve a balance between population and resource use which will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing of life’s amenities; and

(6)

enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources.

(c)

The Congress recognizes that each person should enjoy a healthful environment and that each person has a responsibility to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

 

[2]According to the Environmental Protection Agency:

_

"The traditional definition of noise is 'unwanted or disturbing sound.' Sound becomes

Unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation,

or disrupts or diminishes one's quality of life." (http://www.epa.gov/air/noise.html)

_

"Studies have shown that there are direct links between noise and health. Problems related

to noise include stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing

loss, sleep disruption and lost productivity. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the

most common and often discussed health effect, but research has shown that exposure to

constant or high levels of noise can cause countless adverse health effects."

(http://www.epa.gov/air/noise.htm.)

[3]" The official phrase is "not compatible for residential use" for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour.  That phrase--and that definition--is used by DoD and several other federal agencies.

 

[4]In1978,aDMAFBsingle-engineA-7crashedsixtyfeetfromMansfeldJuniorHigh,whichwasfilledwithhundredsofstudents.TheA-7killedtwosisters,bothstudentsatthenearbyUniversityofArizona.Followingthecrash,theAirForcemadeacommitmenttotheresidentsofTucsonthatonlytwo-enginefightercraftwouldbebeddedatDMAFB.

Thebase’sA-10s,whichhavetwoenginesandwhichcanflywithoneenginedisabled,aretheaircraftwithwhichtheAirForcemaintainsitscommitmenttothesafetyofTucsonans.

IftheAirForcereplacesA-10swithsingle-engineF-35s,itwillrenegeon itscommitment.

TheF-35is—inthelanguageoftheaircraftindustry—“immature.”DoD’slatestOperationalTestandEvaluationreportreferstohundredsof“unresolvedperformancedeficiencies,”withadditionalproblems beingdiscoveredattherateofabouttwentypermonth.

[5]Since World War II in the United States, the impacts in areas where military activities have occurred has been staggeringly fatal to humans and environment.  See http://www.cpeo.org

[7]As the  Sierra Club Rincon Group comments have noted:Cumulativeimpacts,particularlyforthemetropolitanareaofTucson,mustbeapart oftheanalysis.Inthepast, Tucsonhasbeeninnon-attainmentstatusforcarbonmonoxide,andnowmustadheretoafederallyimposedLimitedMaintenancePlanforCO.TheF-35’semissionofcarbonmonoxidewillbeofparticularconcern. PimaCounty,in whichDMAFBandTucsonaresituated, isnowat99percentofEPA’sallowableozoneconcentrationof0.070ppm.Onsomedays,ozonein Tucsonclimbsto unhealthylevels.TheF-35’semissionofnitrogenoxides,whichareaprecursortogroundlevel ozone,isofparticularconcern.      SouthTucsonhasexceededEPA’sallowablecoarseparticulateconcentrationof150μg/m3.TheF-35’semissionofcoarseparticulatesshouldbeincludedin theanalysis.

 

 

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