F-35

Andy Poulastides / Eglin Public Affairs

The anticipated arrival of F-35 fighter jets has residents near Burlington International Airport concerned about how much noise the jets will generate. And there have been questions about the availability of sound maps that show how jet noise will affect homes around the airport.

Despite President Donald Trump’s criticism and pledges to scale back Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter program, the Vermont Air National Guard is still slated to receive the jets in 2019.

Matthew Otero / AP File

F-35 fighter jets are expected to be delivered to Vermont in 2019, but as President-elect Donald Trump mentioned in his press conference last week, there have been cost overruns and scheduling delays in the production of the fighter jet.

A federal judge has dealt a blow to opponents of the Air Force's plan to base F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company / AP

After much debate from opponents who fear an increase in noise pollution along with other concerns, and supporters who argued jobs were at stake, the Air Force recently announced that the Vermont Air National Guard would be awarded F-35 fighter jets in 2020.

But a mitigation and management plan for the site says the arrival of the jets will increase the area impacted by jet noise, a circumstance that had jet opponents concerned that their objections were warranted, and ignored by the Guard.

Andy Poulastides / Eglin Public Affairs

Now that it's decided that F-35s are coming to Vermont, here is what you need to know about the jets, the basing and the heated local debate over the U.S. Air Force's choice.

1. By the time basing is complete in 2020, the Air Force will have spent more than $1.5 billion to bring F-35s to Vermont

PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company / AP

After years of gathering data, filing reports and debating where to base the F-35 fighter jets, a decision has been made. The Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport will serve as a base for the planes beginning in 2020.

But rather than ending the debate, the decision may just change the discussion. Supporters and opponents of the decisions will weigh in on the Air Force’s choice. And we’d like to hear from you.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, pictured on far right at a 2013 press conference announcing the F-35 basing in Burlington, is adjutant general of the state of Vermont. Cray spoke to "Vermont Edition" about recently announced policies affecting the U.S. military.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

The Vermont National Guard announced Tuesday that the controversial F-35 fighter jet will be based at Burlington International Airport.

The decision from the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force comes after years of intense debate, with proponents saying the jet will keep the Vermont Air National Guard going, and opponents arguing that increased noise from the F-35 poses a risk to public health.

Adjutant General of the State of Vermont Steve Cray spoke with VPR’s Neal Charnoff about the decision.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The Vermont National Guard announced Tuesday that the controversial F-35 fighter jet will be based at Burlington International Airport.

Eighteen of the jets will be based in Vermont by the year 2020, according to Vt. Adjutant Gen. Steve Cray.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Sen. Patrick Leahy celebrated the decision at a news conference at the Vermont National Guard base as members of the guard looked on and cheered loudly. 

A leader in the movement to ban the F-35 from Vermont has himself been banned by VTDigger.org.

The Montpelier based policy and politics news site banned James Marc Leas from submitting opinion pieces after a Leas identified himself as a “freelancer” to a U.S. Air Force spokeswoman.

A freelancer is commonly understood to be a professional journalist who is not on the staff of any one news organization, but writes news articles for multiple publications and is paid on a per-article basis.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

At a packed meeting Monday night, Burlington's City Council voted down two resolutions designed to prevent the F-35 from coming to Vermont in 2020. One resolution was meant to bar the jet from Burlington International Airport indefinitely, while the other could have delayed the basing until later.

Lisa Ventriss of the Vermont Business Roundtable, right, at a press conference with Vermont Air National Guard Lt. Col. Chris Caputo, center, and Frank Cioffi, president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

In the seventh press event related to the F-35 this month, proponents of the jet simultaneously dismissed a new opposition tactic to block it from Burlington and acknowledged the threat of the opposition’s move.

F-35 opposition attorney Jim Dumont presented a new legal strategy that he says will allow Burlington's city council to ban the F-35 from Burlington International Airport.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A new proposal by Progressives on Burlington’s city council could effectively block the F-35, opponents say.

The resolution, crafted by Councilor Vince Brennan with input from F-35 opposition attorney Jim Dumont and City Attorney Eileen Blackwood, calls on Burlington International Airport director Gene Richards to develop noise and safety standards for the airport.

After a week of dueling statements from F-35 opposition figures and the Vermont Air National Guard about the exact year F-35s might come to Vermont, the U.S. Air Force is weighing in.

Opponents, citing an Air Force study, say the new jets could start arriving as soon as 2015, but Vermont Air National Guard officials said yesterday that 2020 was the earliest F-35s could begin to arrive in Vermont.

  Prospects are bleak for a Burlington City Council resolution to ban the F-35 fighter jet from Burlington International Airport, after City Attorney Eileen Blackwood released a legal opinion yesterday asserting the city doesn’t have that power.

Burlington City Attorney Eileen Blackwood released a report Thursday stating her legal opinion that the city has no way to bar the F-35 from basing at Burlington International Airport.

The report reviews a number of factors, including local, state and federal laws in addition to agreements between the city and federal governments. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

  For the second time in two weeks, the Vermont Air National Guard summoned the press Thursday to set the record straight in response to claims made by opponents of the F-35.

U.S. Air Force officials are working to choose among basing options for the high-tech fighter jet. Burlington International Airport is high on the list despite opposition much more intense than at the other bases in consideration.

Burlington City Council at a Sept. 23, 2013 meeting.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Now insured against lawsuits related to Burlington International Airport, Burlington’s city council plans to discuss a total ban of the F-35 at the airport later this month.

A resolution drafted by Councilor Vince Brennan proposes a complete ban on the high-tech fighter, citing public health and safety concerns as well as liability issues for the city.

While news of the government shutdown dominates the headlines, one of the lesser reported stories is the impact the gridlock in Congress is having on farmers. Vermont's largest city has purchased an insurance policy for protection against potential lawsuits in connection with the Burlington airport. The state of Vermont is in line to receive up to $4 million to help reduce future flood damage. Amtrak has reported ridership numbers for two lines in Vermont.

The city of Burlington purchased an insurance policy on Friday that will allow city officials to further discuss banning the controversial F-35 fighter jet from the Burlington International Airport.

City Attorney Eileen Blackwood began exploring the legal possibility of a ban weeks ago and discovered Burlington was not insured against lawsuits stemming from airport-related issues. That lapse left city officials, including city councilors, open to liability if the discussion of an F-35 ban led to a lawsuit.

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