Two years ago, I traveled to Utah to hear F35s take off from Hill Air Force Base.
A few days later, when asked for my position on the push to bring F35s to Boise, I told The Idaho Statesman that - while I would remain committed to the current mission at Gowen Field and all those serving our country - I wanted to see the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before making a decision.
Well, the EIS is out.
In it, we learn that the proposed F35 mission would make so much noise that 272 homes would be unsuitable for living. That means 655 people would be looking for new places to live, or forced to live with noise throughout the day at unacceptable levels.
Schools would be impacted. Homes would be impacted. People would be impacted. And all this in the middle of a serious housing shortage
I’ll always stand by the current servicepeople at Gowen Field, no question. Boise is home to an A10 mission and it’s going to be here for the foreseeable future. Additionally, I believe we could find ways to work with the National Guard to expand some of the current programs at Gowen that have no negative environmental impact on our residents.
As Mayor, I wouldn’t invest taxpayer dollars in pushing for a new mission given the information in this EIS. At a time when we’re in need of more housing – particularly affordable housing – the City of Boise shouldn’t be advocating for something that renders existing housing uninhabitable.
For years, Bench neighbors have been voicing concerns about potentially negative impact on the places they live, work, and learn. The data shows they were right, and I stand with these neighbors.
I’m glad we have concrete information on the impact of the potential F35 mission, and my position is clear: we shouldn’t be seeking to bring these planes to Boise.