Member Spotlight: Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin

Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin (SSCW)’s mission is to stop the harm that the basing of F-35 fighter jets in Madison will inflict on the community, and to stop the negligent pollution of our water supply from PFAS and other contaminants emanating from the Truax Air National Guard base.

SSCW operates with a volunteer Coordinating Team and the engagement of hundreds of residents and activists and over 50 supporting organizations. 

The F-35 program and “beddown” in Madison

 has been championed by most of Wisconsin’s federal and state legislators including Tammy Baldwin. Some exceptions are Congressman Mark Pocan, State Senator Fred Risser, State Representative Chris Taylor, and many local officials who have supported SSCW’s efforts.

Although the Air Force in March of 2020 chose Madison as a preferred site for a squadron of F-35 fighter jets, SSCW has filed one lawsuit and is exploring others. We challenge the validity of the Environmental Assessment for base expansion, the inadequacy of the Environmental Assessment for the placement of the F-35s, and the failure to clean up PFAS.

What you can do:

We are concerned with:

  • Environmental Justice: People with low-incomes, people of color and children are disproportionately affected by increased noise and pollution, and safety issues, as stated in the Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Wasteful spending: Over $1.5 trillion of taxpayer dollars are budgeted for the F-35 program – a failure in many ways.
  • Nuclear war: F-35s will be equipped to carry nuclear bombs.
  • Pollution and PFAS contamination: the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s single largest producer of greenhouse gases, with the largest portion of Pentagon fuel consumption being for military jets. The military has not taken steps to clean up the PFAS used in firefighting foam, that has infiltrated our water supply, streams and lakes over several decades.

SSCW demands a stop to Truax base expansion until current PFAS and other sources of contamination are cleaned up, no increase in noise levels, number of flights or pollution, no disruption of communities and no support for the use of nuclear weapons. 

Defense analyst Pierre Sprey:

“…everything that’s wrong with the f-35 for Madison is the result of that terrible disgusting process by which we put together our defense budgets.”

“When an f-35 crashes it’s not an aluminum airplane it’s what in the trade we called a plastic airplane.  Its composite materials which are fibers, carbon fibers, and it’s a very advanced form of epoxy.  The plane structure burns in addition to the fuel and when that plastic burns it’s incredibly toxic it is corrosive to lungs.”

Retired Air Force Colonel Rosanne Greco, activist with Save Our Skies Vermont:

“It’s very clear in our environmental impact statement, based on the noise modeling that the Air Force has done, that the F-35 is going to be four times louder than the F-16.”


Thanks to volunteer Ambar Cornelio for help help in gathering information for our WNPJ Member Group Spotlight each week.