An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required by the National Environmental Policy Act for certain actions significantly affecting the human environment. What can be learned from the 2012 USAF EIS for F-35s at Gowen Field?
The F-35A without the afterburners was found to be louder than the F-16C.
The air quality section failed to consider winter time inversions in the Treasure Valley, when pollutants accumulate in the stagnant air. The Socioeconomic Justice section claimed that only “one child care center would experience noise … incompatible with educational services,” if the mission grows beyond 24 aircraft.
The total of three mitigation measures could reduce the number of impacted people by a mere 20 percent, but without considering the prevailing winds, which force 40 percent of takeoffs in the direction towards the city.
The Airspace and Range use anticipates “low-level flight between 500 and 2,000 feet AGL occurring less than 3 percent of the time.” Yet finds wildlife should see “no significant adverse effects” from overflights, while recreational activities could see “some degradation” from startle effects.
Public concerns were summed up as noise impacts on people and property values.
Relying only on the projections that favor the F-35A mission cannot yield a livable environment.
Inna Patrick, Boise