ID: Government Will Study Environmental Impact of F-35 Fighters in Boise

Feb. 22–The National Guard Bureau wants to hear from Idahoans about basing F-35 stealth fighters at Gowen Field.

The Guard is preparing an environmental impact statement, an in-depth document that will analyze the consequences of basing 18 F-35s at Gowen, the Idaho Air National Guard base that shares the Boise Airport’s runways.

Gowen is one of five Guard bases being considered for an F-35 mission. The other four are in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan and Alabama. In December, the U.S. Air Force announced that Gowen is not one of the two preferred bases. Instead, the Air Force picked bases in Wisconsin and Alabama.

But all five bases will go through the environmental-impact process. Boise still could be in the running for an F-35 mission if that process turns up major problems elsewhere.

So the Guard will hold a public meeting from 5 to 8 p.m. next Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel Convention Center, 3300 S. Vista Ave., Boise. People who attend can talk to Guard officials, learn more about the proposal to base F-35s here and leave written comments.

The Guard said it will use that information to help it focus on significant issues and eliminate insignificant ones. Other written comments will be considered if they’re delivered by April 6, or even later, though later comments may not be addressed in the statement. The complete statement is expected to be released late this year as a draft for public review.

You can submit comments online or mail them to Christel Johnson, Environmental Engineer, NGB/A4AM, Shepperd Hall, 3501 Fetchet Avenue, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland 20762-5257.

Sven Berg: 208-377-6275, @SvenBerg51

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