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The Latest Outrageous Waste of Money for the Pentagon's Playthings

June 14, 2013 in Blogs

By Medea Benjamin, James Marc Leas, AlterNet

'Noise zones' are being used to drive a money-soaked scheme for rich commercial developers, while putting thousands of families in affordable homes at risk.

Is the Vermont Air National Guard being used for corrupt purposes having nothing to do with its military mission? The answer is yes. Big time. And for big money. In the article, “Those who 'Fudged' Should not be Allowed to Judge” we described how military brass fudged their own scoring process to get Senator Leahy’s home state of Vermont on the list as the “preferred alternative” for basing the F-35. We know who loses: thousands of Vermonters whose homes are in noise and crash zones. This article will follow the money to see who benefits from the corrupt practices of the military brass who fudged.

The developers who stand to gain the big money did not have to invest their own dollars to position themselves. They got the taxpayers to do that for them. The City of Burlington applied for and received a federal grant of $40 million to buy 200 families out of their affordable homes near the airport entrance, and the City now holds title to most of those homes. 55 have so far been demolished. Another hundred homes stand vacant awaiting demolition. Other homes are awaiting purchase for demolition.

The federal government put up the money to buy those 200 homes as “mitigation” for noise being made by the F-16 jet fighter currently flown by the Vermont Air National Guard at the local Burlington International Airport. The 200 homes are in a zone that is being blasted by a noise level from the F-16 jets that the federal government considers so loud that their neighborhood is “unsuitable for residential use.” A report about Burlington International Airport prepared for the Federal Aviation Administration (the “FAA report”) says that “land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” with that noise level (page 29).

Certain Vermont officials, including Senator Leahy and Governor Shumlin, continue to repeatedly suggest that the F-35, which the Air Force draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) says …read more


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