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Public Statements

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Proposal To Base F-35s In Vermont


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"There have already been a number of public hearings in Vermont to discuss the proposal to base F-35s in Burlington. In 2012 alone there have been eight public meetings and forums in Chittenden County. I and the members of the Vermont delegation have facilitated communication between Vermonters and the Air Force and I have responded to hundreds of Vermonters with questions about the F-35 basing decision. I have made it clear that I support noise abatement steps, just as operational controls limit F-16 noise at the airport today. In response to the vigorous discussion, the Air Force earlier agreed to extend the public comment period for the Environmental Impact Statement.

"Any objective review of the public record clearly shows that these issues have received extensive public discussion and review over the last year.

"Now the Air Force is weighing the evidence and Vermonters' views and suggestions. They will reach a decision in the months ahead.

"Protecting the American people is the reason we have a fleet of fighter jets, as we saw on and after 9/11, when Vermont-based F-16s defended the airspace over New York and Washington. Burlington is ideally situated for training and is just a short flight to the Atlantic Ocean for supersonic training, and these operational considerations are a key to the Air Force's choice. Since the days of Ethan Allen, the Vermont Guard has been an essential cog in our security because our Guard is absolutely one of the best in the nation. This is a vital mission befitting the Vermont Guard's skills and stellar record."

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