Written by JOHN BRIGGS
The Air Force on Thursday acknowledged another major error in the Draft Environmental Impact Study on the F-35, the official Air Force study of the environmental impacts of the F-35 at bases across the country.
The Air Force said that an updated “public comment response matrix and alphabetized list of public commenters” were not included in the updated print and CD versions of the report released in May. Those versions were distributed across the country to “local libraries and citizens who asked to be placed on the mailing list at public meetings.”
“The response matrix allows recipients to view public comments made during the original public comment period,” the Air Force said.
In an earlier correction, the Air Force released an updated version of the study in May which used Census population and household numbers from the 2010 Census. The original document, issued in March 2012, used data from 2000 and understated the number of individuals and households who would be impacted by the F-35.
The Air Force did not explain why old data had been used in the original report.
In early June, after questions from local opponents of the F-35, the Air Force also acknowledged that it had misstated the level of support in Vermont for the F-35. The updated report erroneously said local supporters outnumbered opponents by a margin of 8-2.
Langley Air Force Base Project Manager Nick Germanos said the actual numbers were nearly the reverse. In fact, he said, 65 percent percent of those who commented to the Air Force opposed the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport.
The Air Force received 934 comments nationwide about the F-35 after the release of the 2012 version of the study, Germanos said, and more than 97 percent of those comments pertained to Burlington, testifying to the relative force of the local controversy.
The Burlington Air Guard base was designated the “preferred” Air Guard base for the new plane after initial scoring by the Air Force which indicated an absence of development near the airport.