TUCSON FORWARD FAQ OPERATION SNOWBIRD

(1) What is Tucson Forward?

We are a non-partisan diverse group of over 600 forward-thinking residents of the City of Tucson and Pima County whose backgrounds include small business owners, real estate developers, doctors, lawyers, educators, engineers, community and neighborhood leaders, students, and retirees.

(2) What do we want for Tucson?

We seek an economically vibrant and diverse city of Tucson where the University of Arizona and all our educational institutions thrive, where our downtown redevelopment succeeds and the central city with its businesses and communities around it are not degraded and rendered uninhabitable, where small businesses grow, where the tourism and hospitality industries are not irreparably damaged, and where we can safely live and enjoy the beautiful and fragile outdoors. We seek a Davis Monthan (DM) which acts responsibly, respects our concerns, listens to the concerns of the neighborhoods over which it operates, and conducts its operations in a manner that is safe and suitable to and compatible with our fragile ecosystem.

(3) What is Operation Snowbird (OSB)?

OSB officially began in 1975 as a National Guard program supported by the Arizona Air National Guard (ANG) to provide training to northern tier air national guard flying units at Davis Monthan (DM) during 2 week periods between November and April. The OSB aircraft initially operated were F-100 and A-7s.(Wyle Study*, pp.5,18-19)

Between 1988-1992, OSB aircraft dramatically changed from F-100 and A-7s to F-16s, which are far noisier and less safe. In 2000 the program again drastically changed from a 6 month program to a year around program, including training of international pilots. From 2000 to present, the type of OSB aircraft again substantially changed, adding C-130, F-18, helicopters, F-15, British Tornados, Harriers and F-3s, among others.(Wyle Study, pp.23-25).These changes increased the noise levels on a more sustained basis and presented additional concerns about the safety of these aircraft.

In short, OSB has substantially and dramatically changed since 1975, in terms of its current mission, number of flights, types of aircraft and the safety records of these aircraft operating over our community.

(4) Is OSB currently in compliance with Federal law?

No, OSB has not been in compliance since approximately 1988 when the program drastically and substantially changed.

In 1978,the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) required that ANG conduct an Environment Assessment (EA) of OSB. However, the EA did not meaningfully assess the nature and extent of the aircraft flying and training over Tucson.(Wyle Study, pp.7,54)

NEPA requires that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be completed before major federal action is undertaken which significantly affects the quality of the human environment. An EIS differs from an EA in that an EIS is a far more rigorous and complete process and also requires a review of alternative locations to the proposed federal action.

In November 2008, DM requested that an EIS be conducted of OSB, but inexplicably its request was denied.(Wyle Study, p.54) We have been told since October 2010 that an EA will be conducted, instead of an EIS which we and DM seek.

We agree with DM that OSB has substantially changed since 1978 and such that an EIS is required. .

(4) What do we seek?

We want OSB to comply with Federal law. We want the Federal government to conduct a full EIS which completely assesses OSB flight operations in and over our community in relation to the 1975 OSB program and the 1978 EA. We also want the EIS to explore relocating OSB to a location more conducive with its current and future missions, which may include the F-35. The safety record of the F-35 is unknown, and it is by far the noisiest fighter plane ever produced.

(5) If OSB is relocated will programs like it end?

No. There are other programs like OSB operating within the United States with whom OSB competes. In fact, OSB uses a brochure seeking to bring international and other pilots from throughout the country for training in Tucson.

(6) If OSB relocates from DM will Tucson lose lots of jobs and money?

No. There are no detailed studies which demonstrate that a substantial number of jobs or money will be lost if OSB were relocated, only speculation. In fact, a well-equipped and modern dormitory complex currently provides accommodations for OSB personnel, so they do not live “in town”. In addition, each flying unit brings its own aircraft, pilots and certain support staff (Wyle Study, pp. 11-13). Since the economic benefits of OSB have never been reliably determined, it must be assumed it is insignificant when compared to that contributed by tourists, visitors, the University and other segments of the economy that may being adversely affected by OSB flyovers**.

(7) What can I do?

* LEARN more about Operation Snow Bird at WWW.TucsonForward.com. Search for Snowbird Program, Snowbird Brief, & Neighborhood Response to DM-50 Vision of OSB.

* SIGN UP with Tucson Forward. Help us make Tucson safer & healthier economically & physically.

* WRITE letters to the editor bringing up the issues of safety & noise that have been ignored. State the facts & dispel the myths that have been circulated.

* CONTACT media & press & ask them to do in-depth investigative reporting including the perspective of the large number of residents who have been negatively affected, but so far ignored. The more letters & calls they receive, the more likely they are to cover it.

* ATTEND OSB Scoping Meetings (dates & locations to be announced shortly). Make your concerns known to EA presenters & to other attendees.

* SPEAK with your neighbors & friends about it.

* ASK political candidates what their positions are on Operation Snowbird and the F-35.

* SUBMIT WRITTEN QUESTIONS & COMMENTS with your concerns to:

The Honorable Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the US Air Force
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20330-1670
Fax: (703) 693-9297.

Mayor Bob Walkup, mayor1@tucsonaz.gov, (520) 791-4201

Ward 1 Council Member Regina Romero, ward1@tucsonaz.gov, (520) 791-4040

Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham, ward2@tucsonaz.gov, (520) 791-4687

Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich, ward3@tucsonaz.gov, (520) 791-4711

Ward 4 Council Member Shirley Scott, ward4@tucsonaz.gov, (520) 791-3199

Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres, ward5@tucsonaz.gov , (520) 791-4231

Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik, ward6@tucsonaz.gov, (520) 791-4601

TUCSON’S FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS!
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* During 2009-2010,Wyle conducted a study of OSB on behalf of DM and ANG and issued its report in late 2010.The report is based solely on information furnished to it by DM and ANG. Wyle neither audited the information provided to it, it termed some of the data collection ”inconsistent,” nor did it conduct its own testing. (Wyle Study,pp54-55) References to the Wyle Study here refer to certain pages of its study and the documents upon which it is based. http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxtY3JjdHVjc29ufGd4OjQ4ZTM1YjJkYWM5NDg3Mjk

** http://www.visittucson.org/visitor/embracetourism/?utm_campaign=Embrace-Tourism&utm_medium=print&utm_source=redirect

Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau “….. help support 40,000 local jobs…. generate $3 billion in economic impact to the region….more than four million overnight visitors a year….

** http://www.treoaz.org/Industry-Strengths-Tourism.aspx “44,200 employees….. $2 Billion in revenues”quoting Tucson Regional Economic

Opportunities, who list their source as Arizona Workforce Informer February 2007, 2005 Star 200, 2003 County Business Patterns, MTCVB 2004-05 Annual Report

** http://www.insidetucsonbusiness.com/opinion/columnists/higgins_desimone/article_0d8fce6b-f354-5cbb-ac56-72c8f2f19498.html

December 3, 2010 By Joe Higgins & Chris DeSimone “Inside Tucson Business ”