Written by JOHN BRIGGS
The mistake in reporting the level of support in Vermont for basing the F-35 at Burlington International Airport was in section 1.5.2, pages 1-9, of the updated Draft Environmental Impact Study released May 31.
That section read as follows: “Of the 913 comments received for the Burlington AGS alternative, 80 percent of the commenters expressed their general support for the basing alternative, stating the economic benefits of having the Air National Guard in Burlington were important. For the 20 percent in general opposition to the basing action in Burlington, most were concerned with increased noise levels in South Burlington and Winooski.”
The report can be found online at www.accplanning.org under “Current Initiatives.”
The Air Force says its updated environmental report on the F-35 contained an error regarding the level of support in Vermont for the next-generation fighter jet.
The Air Force’s updated Draft Environmental Impact Study, released May 31, incorrectly reported that supporters of basing the F-35 at Burlington International Airport outnumbered opponents by a margin of 8-2.
Study case officer Nicholas Germanos at Langley Air Force base in Virginia acknowledged the mistake Tuesday to the Burlington Free Press. He said it was unclear how the error had occurred.
He said opponents of the F-35 basing at the Burlington Air Guard Station far outnumber supporters: “65 percent of the comments collected during the 2012 public-comment period are opposed to the F-35 basing decision for Burlington.”
Nationwide, Germanos said, the Air Force received 934 comments about F-35 basing after the original draft environmental report was released in March 2012. More than 97 percent, or 913 comments, concerned Burlington.
Of those 913 comments, 65 percent (about 594) opposed the basing, Germanos said Tuesday, while 35 percent (about 320) were in support.
“The document was reviewed by the Air Force prior to publication,” Germanos said of the updated study, “and the error was discovered and was supposed to be corrected, but it wasn’t.”
He said the contractor who wrote the report had agreed to make the correction, but, somehow, he said, “it was not reflected in this version. It will be corrected in the final report.”
The draft environmental impact study can be found online at www.accplanning.org and appears on the opening page of that site as “Current Initiatives.” Appendix E of Volume II of the report lays out both negative and positive comments and the Air Force response to them.