Get Involved with Madison's F-35 Noise Study!

In anticipation of the dramatic noise impacts coming with the proposed F-35 fighter jet squadron, the county airport is updating its 30-year noise abatement plan. Your involvement in the noise study will help make Madison a more healthy and desirable place to live.

 
 

The county airport will be modeling noise impacts to determine which neighborhoods exceed federal noise standards and qualify for noise abatement including home purchases, relocation, and noise improvements like new air conditioning, windows and doors. Noise modeling will be completed by this fall.

Here is the county airport web site for their noise study: Part 150 Noise Study

The county airport has historically invested as little as possible into minimizing aircraft noise impacts on Madison neighborhoods. The Burlington, Vermont airport has already updated its noise abatement plan and expects to invest $163.5 million.

Now is the time to ask the county airport and our elected representatives for a modern noise analysis and state of art noise pollution control measures.

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Here is a recent letter to the Capital Times Editor that summarized the importance of getting involved:

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 12, 2022

Dear Editor: It would be a typical quiet Sunday morning except the Air National Guard is training fighter jet pilots. Neighborhood noise monitors are exceeding 100 decibels, 10 times louder than the city ordinance. It’s a reminder that the county airport is finally updating its 30-year old noise abatement plan, preparing for arrival of the raucous and unwanted F-35 fighter jets.

It’s also a reminder to get involved if you want Madison to be a healthy and desirable place to live, or combat environmental injustice and racism. The upcoming noise study will determine which parts of Madison exceed the FAA noise standard and which households should be relocated or receive funds for noise insulation. Not unexpectedly, the airport plans to conduct a bare minimum study using the outdated 65-decibel standard. This is 50 years old, and a daily average, which doesn’t represent the noise we actually hear.

A modern study would determine which neighborhoods are over 60 decibels, the threshold used by the Minneapolis airport for noise abatement. A modern study would determine peak noise levels, especially at schools and day care centers, so we better understand the impacts on our children. Even the Air Force EIS estimated peak noise levels.

Of course, noise insulation will not protect anyone who is outside, or our kids in the park or on the playground, or thousands of residents who won’t qualify for noise abatement. It would be more effective for the Air Force to cancel their F-35 plans, for Gov. Tony Evers to find a new mission for the Wisconsin Air National Guard, or for County Executive Joe Parisi to close or relocate the 80-year gas guzzling airport to a safer, less urban location.

Contact your alder and county representative and ask them to get involved. You can also learn more and submit comments here.

What can you do?

Write to these people by June 30th:

Dane County Noise Study <part150study@msnairport.com>
Tim Middleton <tmiddleton@hmmh.com>
Michael Riechers <Riechers.Michael@msnairport.com>
Madison Common Council <allalders@cityofmadison.com>
Dane County Board of Supervisors <county_board_recipients@countyofdane.com>
Satya Rhodes-Conway <mayor@cityofmadison.com>
County Executive Joe Parisi <parisi@countyofdane.com>
Governor Evers <govinfo@wisconsin.gov>

Tell them the following:

In anticipation of the deployment of a squadron of F-35 fighter jets to Truax Field, the Dane County Airport is updating its Part 150 Noise Abatement Plan. The county airport will model noise impacts in Madison neighborhoods and identify noise abatement options for city residents. 

Madison residents have lived with the burden of the county airport and Air National Guard fighter jet training for too long. Madison residents deserve a modern noise study that evaluates the aircraft noise impacts on all of the 60,000 north and east side residents that live within 3 miles of the airport. We want to know the peak noise levels that our families and neighbors will be exposed to. We want a robust noise abatement program including property purchases; resident and business relocation; and, home, school and business insulation. The county airport should not rely on avigation easements as it has done in the past. It's time for the county airport and Air National Guard to mitigate the impacts they have on Madison neighborhoods.

Here are suggested improvements to the proposed Part 150 Noise Study:

  1. The single open house held on April 26th at the airport was inadequate. The open house format held solely at the airport is not informative and doesn't allow for the public to ask questions which everyone can hear. There should be more public meetings held as soon as possible which are accessible to most residents impacted by the airport noise. The meetings should be held in more public locations, in impacted neighborhoods at community centers located throughout the north and east sides of Madison. These locations should include low-income neighborhoods like those around the East Madison Community Center, Oak Park Terrace Mobile Home Park and Salvation Army.
  2. The Part 150 noise study should not rely on the outdated daily average 65 dB DNL noise standard. This standard was developed over 50 years ago. It is based on annoyance and doesn't account for mental and physical health impacts, or educational impacts of aircraft noise. The Part 150 noise study should evaluate more impacts than just annoyance. It should summarize the known thresholds for noise impacts and compare predictions with these thresholds.
  3. The Part 150 noise modeling should predict noise levels below the daily average 65 dB DNL noise level including 60 and 55 dB. There are 60,000 people living within 3 miles of the airport. While the proposed study area extends 7 miles south of the airport, most of these people will not be included in the study. In its EIS for the F-35 fighter jets, the Air Force predicted the 65 dB DNL will extend 1.5 miles from the airport and include 2,766 people. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport uses 60 dB DNL to determine who is eligible for noise abatement. The county airport study should use a lower threshold than the 65 dB DNL to provide noise abatement for more Madison. Using lower noise levels would inform the community about the full extent of airport noise impacts and the thousands of people exposed to airport noise on the north and east sides of Madison.
  4. The Part 150 study should predict peak noise levels, the noise we actually hear, especially at sensitive locations like schools and daycare centers. In its 2020 EIS for the F-35 jets, the Air Force determined peak noise levels. The county airport can do the same. The existing fighter jets already generate peak noise levels of 120 dB, high enough to cause hearing damage. We need to know the harm that will be caused by the peak noise levels of the F-35 fighter jets.
  5. The Part 150 study should not only consider land use but address environmental justice. The study should determine the income and race makeup of impacted areas. In its 2020 EIS for the F-35 jets, the Air Force determined the composition of impacted residents. The county airport can do the same.
The county airport and Air National Guard should use the Part 150 Noise Study to clearly inform Madison residents about the impacts of aircraft noise on our children, families and neighbors. The county airport and Air National Guard should mitigate the noise impacts on Madison residents. Please use the opportunity of the Part 150 Noise Study to help relieve the burden the county airport and Air National Guard place on Madison residents.
 

Thank you!!!

 
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