TO: Governor Phil Scott & Adjutant General Col. Greg Knight
FROM: Representative Brian Cina & Representative Selene Colburn
DATE: April 15, 2020
RE: F-35 practice flights at the Burlington International Airport
We write in solidarity with the Burlington City Council and our thousands of impacted constituents to ask you to call for the suspension of the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-35 training flights for the duration of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” addendum to executive order 01-20, and any subsequent extensions to this order.
We appreciate the many ways the executive branch and the Vermont Guard have mobilized to support the health, safety, and well being of Vermonters during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.
The area we represent, Burlington’s Chittenden 6-4 legislative district, is in the heart of the F-35’s flight path and we have constituents who live both inside the borders of the high impact areas reflected in current noise maps, or just outside their margins.
Our constituents are working hard to comply with the “Stay Safe, Stay Home” order by social distancing, sheltering in place, and working from home. We have heard many instances of F-35 planes disrupting sleep, causing ear aches and headaches, interrupting the ability to work at home, and reactivating past traumas and exacerbating mental health issues at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have recognized the significant mental health impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. One constituent shared that she runs to the basement when the planes fly overhead, because of how painful the disruption is. She wrote of her home country, “When I was growing up, the basement was where we went for a potential bombing during a war.”
The impacts of the F-35s aren’t just limited to our district, though they are amplified here. We’ve heard from residents all across Burlington and Chittenden County that they are struggling with these regular disruptions.
Please join us in exerting your voice and influence to advocate for Vermonters during this very difficult time. Again, please work to suspend the F-35 test flights for the duration of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.