Stop the F-35 Coalition to pressure Leahy to hold public hearing

Juliet Buck, a leading member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition. Photo by Anne Galloway

BURLINGTON — A group protesting the U.S. Air Force’s proposal to base F-35 fighter jets in South Burlington is pressuring Sen. Patrick Leahy to hear the concerns of residents who live in the flight path of the Burlington International Airport.

The Stop the F-35 Coalition will hold a rally at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at Leahy’s Burlington offices in an attempt to urge the Democratic senator to hold a public hearing on the potential environmental impacts of basing the fighter jets in South Burlington.

Leahy supports the Air Force’s proposal to replace the F-16 fighter plane now used by the Vermont Air Guard with the new generation of F-35 fighter jets.

The Air Force is reviewing the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that it prepared on the potential health effects of the jets. The release of the final EIS is expected next spring. A final decision would be made shortly thereafter.

The rally is the latest in a series of actions opponents of the proposal have staged to keep the issue in the public eye.

The group issued an open letter to the senator listing concerns over the noise levels and environmental impacts on the communities of South Burlington and Winooski that are in the flight path. Members of Stop the F-35 Coalition have complained that Leahy has ignored the concerns of local residents and that the public process has not been democratic.

“We know that you as a U.S senator can stop this basing,” the group wrote.

Richard Joseph, a member of the group, says time is of the essence.

“The purpose of the demonstration … is to demand that the senator very quickly (because the basing decision is imminent) hold and attend a hearing on the environmental impact of the F-35 in Burlington,” Joseph said.

Members of the group are requesting an in-person or phone audience with the senator to discuss their concerns.

Leahy’s office said it has received many letters advocating for and against the F-35 basing, but that ultimately the matter is not — and never has been — under the purview of Congress.

“The decision will be made by the Air Force and not by any member of Congress,” said David Carle, Leahy spokesman.

Carle said there are considerations that do make Burlington an ideal location for the planes, including its proximity to New York City.

“This decision will be crucial to the national air defense system, and the Vermont Guard’s participation on and after 9/11 is evidence of that,” he said.

Meanwhile, the conversation continues locally. On the same day as the rally, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien announced a plan to travel to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and hear, firsthand, the noise levels of the F-35 jets.

Andrea Suozzo

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18 Comments on "Stop the F-35 Coalition to pressure Leahy to hold public hearing"


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Gaelan Brown
4 years 1 month ago
Has anyone ever outlined a likely scenario in which these nuke-bomber fighter jets would actually be necessary for “defense” of Vermont or the US? Who exactly are these F35s going to drop nuclear bombs on, and how exactly would that be in Vermont’s interest? Is this a defensive weapon at all, or an offensive/deterrent? I honestly don’t understand the actual purpose of the F35. Can someone please enlighten me as to why Vermont needs billions of dollars worth of these long-range fighter-bombers? How is the F35 program a good use of tax $? Can anyone answer this? I think this… Read more »
Jim Busch
4 years 1 month ago

Gaelan, the F-35 capable of carrying a nuclear device is not a new concept… The current F-16C based at BTV can carry a nuclear bomb, the F-4 Phantom stationed at BTV before the F-16C could carry a nuclear bomb. The Fighters stationed at BTV have ALL been capable of carrying a “bomb”.
But your group forgets one thing, the air national guard is not capable of storing said nuclear bombs because it does not have the facilities capable of securing, storing or maintaining them.

So what is your point?

Christian Noll
4 years 1 month ago

“So what is your point?”

His point is that the F-35 has little to do with defense.

It is an attack aircraft designed to penetrate the air space of foreign nations for the purposes of bombing and attacking them.

He questions Vermont’s role in this endeavor.

That is his point.

Jim Busch
4 years 1 month ago

The “point” was to bring up the subject of the F-35 being able to carry nuclear bombs is irrelevant since every aircraft ever stationed, or currently, at BTV has had that capability.
Also that BTV(the base itself) is not capable of storing, maintaining or securing nuclear weapons, thus it is illogical to even use that as an argument.

Christian Noll
4 years 1 month ago

I disagree.

Mr Brown posts a ten sentence comment and only one of them asks:

“Who exactly are these F35s going to drop nuclear bombs on, and how exactly would that be in Vermont’s interest?”

It was not the entire point of his post, sorry.

Jim Busch
4 years 1 month ago

Once again Christian, you miss out…. Why mention Nuclear bombs at all when they are not even a viable subject matter to this situation? That is the point! It does nothing to add credence to a discussion or story subject matter except for “sensationalizm”.

Jim Busch
4 years 1 month ago


Christian Noll
4 years 1 month ago
Your exact words were: “Why mention Nuclear Bombs when they are not even viable subject matter to this conversation?” How could asking what Mr Brown asked be “Not Viable” if the F-35 is Nuclear capable? Local tax payers have every right to ask. “Subject matter?” It was quite “viable” and he spoke of much more than that. Seems your desperately trying to black wash his questions about Nuclear Weapons and suggest that they are not relevant or “viable.” No “sensationalism” here Mr Busch. No “Rant” and no “Rage,” just honest questions from the tax payers who pay for it themselves.… Read more »
Christian Noll
4 years 1 month ago

Jim I’m sorry I miss quoted you. I meant to say “a viable subject matter to this situation” as you have written.

If that’s what you intended to say, that’s what I meant to write.


Renée Carpenter
4 years 1 month ago
Good questions! And remembering yesterday’s article in vtdigger (with several links to follow for more information): “The New York Times article cites concerns about persistent technological glitches and worries that the F-35 flight range will be insufficient. The article also examined the likelihood that the F-35 program will fall victim to impending budget cuts. “Canada’s planned F-35 purchase has been mired in controversy since the Canadian government drastically underestimated the life-cycle costs of the planes. The audit, conducted by KPMG and due out this week, is expected to confirm that total program costs will exceed $30 billion, about $15 billion… Read more »
4 years 1 month ago
Renee/Gaelan, The various politicians, such as, Leahy, Shumlin, Welch, Sanders, Weinberg, all have the same mindless mindset. The F-35 program is just one of their gigs for doing “constituent service” by: – chasing after subsidies and government programs, – creating multi-millionaire-crony-RE capitalists that produce expensive junk energy, – raising electric rates for already stressed households and businesses with their mindless RE programs, as if there is no to-morrow, no matter what the cost to people, as long as it benefits their “supporters/campaign contributers”. It is their way of job creation, instead of educating and training Vermont’s workforce. Their way of… Read more »
Kathy Leonard
4 years 1 month ago

Willem, wasn’t this post about F-35s?
As you chided me recently in the $$$ blowing in the wind post:
“Your comment regarding VY is slurry and irrelevant to THIS discussion”

Maybe my bringing up your support for Vermont Yankee touched a nerve.
In any case, you might at least follow your own ‘rules’ on posting here, tyvm.

Steve WIble
4 years 1 month ago

Plattsburgh would be thrilled to have the F-35’s. Send them over.

rosemarie jackowski
4 years 1 month ago

The F-35 pushes Vermont in the wrong direction. Instead of more Weapons for Offence we should be working to shut down the Drone Base near Syracuse. Killing kids in Afghanistan, from a base so near to us, does not make any of us safer. Think about the BLOWBACK that results from US killing. Let’s all work to make the northeast a Drone Free Zone.

4 years 1 month ago
Juliet Buck, The Governor and pals went on a private plane to Florida to listen to F-35s DURING THE DAY when there is a noisy background. People sleep at night. He said he was underwhelmed by the noise. How good is HIS hearing? Some decision making based on his own ears. What about a baby’s ears and ITS restful sleep? The same happened with Lowell Mountain IWTs; he went to look, saw few people nearby and proclaimed the site fine; his PSB followed suit, after pro-forma hearings. Here is some sound information regarding F-35s. Typical rural nighttime ambient noise… Read more »
4 years 1 month ago


“Pressure” in the headline?
“pressuring” in the lead?

Show your bias much?

How about “petitioning the government for redress of grievances”?

Are you really OK with Leahy taking part in
private decisions made privately?

Yeah, of course the public IS the messy part of decision-making,
but you might at least pay lip service to the democratic process.

4 years 1 month ago
Then there’s David Carle’s smoke blowing (some would call it lying) that you print unchallenged, unexamined even. OF COURSE Congress can delegate a decision like the F-35, but it’s flat out untrue that Congress has no influence on military spending. Seriously, what are you thinking? Eisenhower initially called it the military-industrial-congressional complex for a reason. It’s a measure of Congress’s power that he chose to drop “congressional.” David Carle’s (and your) playing the 9/11 card is obscene. Also irrelevant and illogical, etc. Where, exactly, was the Air Force on 9/11? And boy didn’t those f-16s from Burlington just save the… Read more »
4 years 1 month ago

No brain, no shame.

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