BURLINGTON – A group of neighbors on Summit Street in Burlington signed a petition calling on the Vermont Air Guard to “Fly F-16s over our houses.” The neighbors are disturbed by the gross inequality of their being left out of any exposure to the mind-bending noise. “Leave the people of Winooski alone for once,” said Mordechai Druckerman, a long-time resident. “Spread the pain. Give some to us. Don’t just dump on the poor and minority.”
The U.S. Air Force EIS says that “chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning” for schoolchildren, and that “tasks involving central processing and language comprehension (such as reading, attention, problem solving, and memory) appear to be the most affected by noise.”
The EIS says that the F-16 has had “disproportionate impact” on minority and low-income populations in Winooski and South Burlington which would continue or increase under the F-35. By contrast, maps in the EIS reveal that none of the wealthy neighborhoods in Burlington or South Burlington are shown as impacted by F-16 or F-35 noise.
The petition is entitled, “Change the flight path,” and demands that the Air Guard “leave Winooski alone. Hammering Winooski is immoral and unjust. With 20 languages spoken there and the state’s largest concentration of immigrants, the time to stop blasting Winooski is now. Change the flight path. Permanently send the F-16s screaming over Summit Street instead. Same for the F-35.”
Summit Street is a leafy street in the posh Hill Section of Burlington. Mayor Miro Weinberger, whose home is on Summit Street, said “no comment” when asked about the petition circulated by his neighbors.