Tag Archives: Air force

Ban Nuclear Weapons ~ Madison Alder Contact ~ #BackFromTheBrink

Contact city alders and be sure they have all of the following information and links.

Dear Alder:

We/I write to ask you to support a City of Madison Back from the Brink (BftB) Resolution. It calls on the federal government to honor the Nonproliferation Treaty of 1970 (NPT), embrace the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) of 2021 and take the following steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war:

Madison, Wisconsin declared itself a nuclear free zone in a 1983 ordinance and passed a proclamation in 2019 commemorating August 6th as Hiroshima Day and August 9th as Nagasaki Day. The 2019 proclamation also called on the US to live up to its obligations under the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty and cancel the nuclear weapons modernization program.

We are asking for the City to make a financial commitment that aligns with its history of advocacy for nuclear disarmament. The Madison Back from the Brink Resolution includes a pledge by the City to end investments in and contracts with companies involved in nuclear weapons production such as those listed in the 2022 Don’t Bank on the Bomb “Hall of Shame”.  We look forward to developing a workable plan with City of Madison staff.

Over sixty-five US cities have passed the Back from the Brink Resolution.

Fifteen US cities have so far passed resolutions committing themselves to nuclear weapon free investments and/or contracts.


For additional information, see links below:

-12/2022 Background on Back from the Brink.

– Summary of Divestment Information

 – PSR Wisconsin Back from the Brink web page


We are eagerly awaiting your support of this Resolution.




Back from the Brink resolution Co-sponsors:

  • 350 Madison,
  • Dane County Chapter of United Nations Association,
  • First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry,
  • Four Lakes Green Party, 
  • Friends Meeting of Madison,
  • Interfaith Peace Working Group
  • Madison Mennonite Church,
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility – Wisconsin,
  • Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society Social Action Committee,
  • Progressive Dane,
  • Raging Grannies of Madison/Dane County, 
  • Reverend Franz Rigert, Conference Minister of General Synod of United Church of Christ (UCC passed the resolution at the General Synod in June 2019),
  • Veterans for Peace – Chapter 25,
  • Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and
  • World BEYOND War  


Public & Press Release: Nonviolent Resisters Block Shift Change at Truax Military Base Monday Morning


Madison, WI, 3/27/2023

Nonviolent Resisters Successfully Blocked Shift Change at Truax Air National Guard Base this Morning to Oppose F-35 Fighter Jets & War



Janet Parker, Madison for a World BEYOND War, 608-228-9096 janetparker8@gmail.com

Joy First, Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, 608-239-4327

Live this morning on Channel 27: https://www.wkow.com/news/demonstrators-gather-at-truax-field-to-oppose-arrival-of-f-35-fighter-jets/article_a526c44c-cc8f-11ed-9c13-6b59db1b26b4.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

A nonviolent resistance action successfully blocked the shift change this morning at Truax ANG Base this morning, March 27, 2023.   More than 40 activists, including Iowa County parish priest Father Jim Murphy, took part in protesting the F-35 fighter jets, which are scheduled to come to Truax Field in Madison this spring.  These jets were opposed by the MMSD School Board and the Madison City Council.  Activists are calling on the Governor to change the mission of Truax ANG base to a peaceful one.  Today in Burlington, VT, the other F-35 base, activists are also demonstrating.

“Help us say no to war, environmental pollution, militarism, and F-35’s in Madison or anywhere else.”              – Andrea Novotney, Great Turning Catholic Worker Farm, Madison

 “We call for grounding the F-35 fighter jets, gun control at the Pentagon, and war abolition: an end to the organized mass murder called war.”

– Janet Parker, Madison for a World BEYOND War.

“We want the Governor to meet with a delegation of Safe Skies representatives in order to discuss the F-35 project and to propose a solution that will meet the needs and concerns of Madison residents and our local public official allies.  We want the Governor to negotiate with the Air Force to create a new mission for the Air National Guard at Truax Field.”

– Safe Skies organizer Tom Boswell




We come here today, March 27, 2023 to say: ground the F-35 fighter jet and abolish war! The F-35 fighter jet is a threat to the planet. It should not be based in Madison or anywhere.

Under state law, the Air National Guard provides protection of life and property and preserves peace, order and public safety, but the ANG at Truax violates that mandate. ANG bases in several states provide emergency relief during floods, earthquakes and forest fires; search and rescue operations; medical missions. Fighter jets can’t “preserve peace, order and public safety.” They are worthless in a natural disaster.  They are not effective for search and rescue. They can’t help maintain vital public services. The F-35 is only an instrument of war and more than ever before, the ANG at Truax will threaten the lives of civilians abroad and degrade the quality of life in Madison.

The F-35, wherever it is deployed, will degrade the environment, intensify climate chaos, intensify the horrors of present wars and precipitate new ones. Due to the expansion of NATO and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the threat of nuclear annihilation has never been so grave as now. Placing the F-35 at Truax will make Madison a target in any nuclear confrontation with Russia.  But in reality, nowhere on earth will be safe.

We urgently call on the governor of Wisconsin, on the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard, on the commander of Truax Field, on the state’s legislature and congressional delegation to change the mission of Truax. We call upon world leaders to disarm and abolish war and on the world’s people to join us in this demand.

This weekend, Madison hosted the 20th Catholic Worker Midwest Faith and Resistance Gathering this past weekend, to prepare for nonviolent resistance actions in Madison on Monday, March 27 to oppose war and F-35 fighter jets.

Madison Veterans for Peace, Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin, Madison for a World BEYOND War are local hosts.  Madison activists are joined by Catholic Workers who converged from Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland and Wisconsin.  CODEPINK: Women for Peace are partners in the action also.

More details:


Catholic Worker was formed in the depths of the Great Depression, 1933, when Dorothy Day and a few others hawked The Catholic Worker in New York’s Union Square. Today there are 187 Catholic Worker communities committed to non-violence, voluntary poverty, prayer and hospitality. They continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.

All Posts – Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin

Campaign to Ground the F-35 Jet Program

Code Pink launches national campaign to ground the F-35 and cancel the F-35 program

Letter to to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin specifically mentions South Burlington and Winooski


Sign on to the brilliant letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin put out nationally by Code Pink today, January 29, calling “for a cancellation of the F-35 program, an end to F-35 training in residential areas like South Burlington, Vermont and Madison, Wisconsin, and a reinvestment of the project’s funds to life affirming programs.”

The Code Pink letter also notes that Winooski is within the F-35 noise target zone and is “a working-class city, the most densely populated in Vermont, with the state’s most ethnic diversity.”


The letter will also be hand delivered to members of Congress.

As Code Pink says in its email announcing the letter,

F-35 fighter jet production was halted pending an investigation into the crash where the pilot was ejected from the aircraft. [See video and analysis of the F-35 crash in Fort Worth last month]. Now the Dept. of Defense is delaying full-rate production, potentially for another YEAR. This is a win for the people and the planet and bad news for the war profiteers at Lockheed Martin.

Read and sign on to the Code Pink letter: http://www.codepink.org/secretary_austin_cancel_the_f_35?recruiter_id=355939 


Link to Cancel the F35 original article 

To get involved locally in Wisconsin or to sign up for updates. 

or comment on Facebook 

Hot Potato: PFAS Forever Chemicals in Madison

Hot potato: PFAS contamination lingers at burn pits as city, county, National Guard contest responsibility

“More than four years after the state Department of Natural Resources warned of toxic “forever” chemicals at former firefighter training sites near the Madison airport, city, county and state officials have yet to begin cleanup amid disputes over who is responsible.

In June 2018, the DNR notified Dane County, the city of Madison and the Wisconsin Air National Guard they may be responsible for PFAS contamination at the sites, which were known as “burn pits” used for firefighter training between the 1950s and 1980s.

Tests of shallow groundwater at the sites found two PFAS compounds at levels thousands of times higher than state standards for drinking water or groundwater, and millions of times what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for drinking water.

The sites on Darwin Road and Pearson Street both drain into Starkweather Creek, which flows into Lake Monona, where health officials have warned anglers to limit consumption of fish because of the chemicals, which have been linked to illnesses including high blood pressure, low birth weight, developmental delays and most recently liver cancer.

The DNR has also ordered the city, county and National Guard to clean up PFAS from other parts of the airport, which is home to Truax Field.

For years, the city and county have deferred to the National Guard, which is investigating PFAS contamination under the federal Superfund law, a process that could take a decade for actual cleanup work to begin.

But when the National Guard Bureau submitted a final plan last spring, the burn pits were not included because the bureau said it was not solely responsible.

Now the DNR is again asking the city, county and Wisconsin National Guard to further investigate the site and determine what, if any, cleanup is required.

‘Hot potato’

The delays come as industry groups have challenged the DNR’s authority to require cleanup of PFAS. A Waukesha County judge ruled in April that the agency must first go through a 2½-year rulemaking process to list the chemicals as hazardous substances, though his order is on hold while under appeal.

Maria Powell, founder of the Madison Environmental Justice Organization, which helped bring the burn pit pollution to light, said city, county and military leaders have been playing “hot potato” with the burn pits since pollution was first documented in the 1980s.

Powell said it would be “almost comical” if not for the “complete disregard” for people — many of them low-income people of color — who live downstream and eat the contaminated fish.

“It’s not funny,” she said. “It’s criminal.”

Long practice

The Darwin Road site was used from 1953 until 1987 to train firefighters with the National Guard, city of Madison, and Dane County, as well as volunteer fire departments, according to a 1989 Corps of Engineers report.

Jet fuel, kerosene and other flammable liquids would be spilled on the ground, set on fire and then extinguished. The report documented an array of hazardous chemicals in the groundwater, though there were no tests for PFAS.

A former firefighter training area, known as a burn pit, on Pearson Street is one of two sites near the Dane County Regional Airport with high levels of PFAS. Both sites drain into Starkweather Creek, which flows into Lake Monona, where anglers have been warned to limit consumption of fish because of contamination.


A second burn pit on Pearson Road was used by various fire departments starting in the late 1980s.

In 2018, the DNR notified the city, county and Guard that the sites were likely contaminated with PFAS and requested an investigation.

DNR spokesperson Sarah Hoye said the agency “didn’t have actual soil or groundwater data from the fire training areas demonstrating a release of a hazardous substance,” which it needs to require a cleanup.

In 2020, an environmental contractor found combined levels of two chemicals — PFOA and PFOS — at more than 68,000 parts per trillion in groundwater at the Darwin Road site and in excess of 20,000 ppt at the Pearson Street site. While Wisconsin does not regulate PFAS in groundwater, the standards for surface water is 8 ppt for PFOS and 95 ppt for PFOA.

City’s stance

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway told the DNR in 2019 that the city should not be responsible for the burn pits, but the DNR maintains that the city provided firefighting services for Truax Field and owned the Darwin Road site until 1974, when the federal government required the use of PFAS foams at military bases.

In March the City Council approved an agreement with the county and Guard to split the cost of a $30,000 investigation — not into the extent of PFAS contamination but “historical PFAS use” at the training areas.

According to the resolution, “a more complete understanding about the historical use of PFAS-containing firefighting materials at the Airport, including at and near the Burn Pits, will be helpful to the parties.”

Rhodes-Conway’s chief of staff, Mary Bottari, said the city is not contesting its responsibility for the site, though its share “has yet to be determined.”

“The city would still like to ultimately see a complete picture of the historical PFAS use at the airport, including at the two firefighting training areas, which a historical investigation could help develop,” Bottari said. “We do know, for example, that other local fire departments trained at the facilities. If we are able to identify those parties, they can help build a complete picture of historic use on the site.”

A former firefighter training area, known as a burn pit, on Darwin Road is one of two sites near the Dane County Regional Airport with high levels of PFAS. Both sites drain into Starkweather Creek, which flows into Lake Monona, where anglers have been warned to limit consumption of fish because of contamination.

It’s not clear when that investigation began or how long it will take.

Bottari said it wouldn’t be “appropriate” for city staff to comment on cleanup plans because the land is owned by the county, which will play the “lead role.”

Update pending

County officials declined to be interviewed about the cleanup plan.

In a written statement, airport spokesperson Michael Riechers said the city, county and Guard are developing “a plan to further investigate the firefighting training areas that will incorporate several facets including investigative efforts already completed and the pilot projects currently underway at the airport.”

Riechers said the county intends to update the DNR next week.

The state Department of Natural Resources has asked the city of Madison, Dane County and the Wisconsin National Guard to clean up firefighter training areas on Pearson Street, above, and Darwin Road that are contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals.

Maj. Leslie Westmont, a spokesperson for the Air National Guard, referred questions about the burn pits to the National Guard Bureau, the federal agency that excluded them from its cleanup plan for the rest of the base.

The National Guard Bureau did not respond to questions.

Federal process

The bureau is overseeing the base cleanup under the federal Superfund law, a process that could take up to a decade for actual cleanup to begin.

The military has spent about $2 million so far investigating the extent of PFAS contamination at the base and expects the next phase of the investigation will cost almost $2 million more.

Lance Green, co-chair of the Friends of Starkweather Creek and a member of the Sustainable Madison Committee, said he’s been frustrated for years by the lack of action.

“PFAS is fairly new, but everybody knows about sucking the water out of the ground and getting the PFAS out,” Green said. “We need stronger action now to start lowering the contamination. That’s simple.”

DNR spokesperson Sarah Hoye said there’s not enough data to determine if the pollutants have spread from the site, but environmental watchdogs say there’s no reason to believe the highly-mobile chemicals would stay put.

“It can only spread,” Green said. “That’s the thing it does: spread.”

Green said it will take years to reduce PFAS levels in the lakes and fish, but only if the city, county and Guard take immediate action to eliminate the source.

“It continues to move out and it continues to get fish full of PFAS,” he said.

The city council has approved spending $425,000 on a treatment system for one East Side well that was shut down in 2019 because of PFAS contamination, though the Madison Water Utility contended that Truax Field — not the burn pits — is the likely source of that contamination.

Discarded deadlines let polluted plume from military base spread unchecked | Local Government | madison.com

County sues

Earlier this year Dane County sued foam manufacturers in an attempt to recover “substantial costs” associated with cleanup of the airport.

The suit claims the defendants knew — or should have known — that using the foam, required by the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration, would release PFAS to the air, soil and groundwater.

The lawsuit notes the chemicals, which can damage the liver, kidneys and nervous system, spread quickly in the environment, “contaminating soil, groundwater, and surface water” and are “readily absorbed in animal and human tissues.”

In emails with the county’s outside attorney, obtained through an open records request, assistant corporation counsel Amy Tutwiler discusses formulating media “talking points” for “how to respond to the concern that the health effects alleged in the complaint suggest pfas remediation should be occurring at a more rapid pace.”

Those talking points were not provided in response to the records request.

With PFAS cleanup years in the future, National Guard says its moving ‘quickly’ on Truax investigation | Science & Environment | madison.com

The county has since sued the DNR in an effort to strike conditions included in the airport’s stormwater permit intended to measure and limit PFAS in water that drains into Starkweather Creek.

The county contends the conditions are illegal because the DNR has already required cleanup under the remediation program and that they would be too costly.

County officials have said they did not know what the additional testing would cost, but according to documents obtained through an open records request it would be about $8,000 a year.

That case is on hold while the DNR conducts an internal review of the permit.”

More on PFAS Forever Chemicals

  1. Home – Madison Environmental Justice (mejo.us)
  2. About 3 — Military Poisons
  3. For decades, polluters knew PFAS chemicals were dangerous but hid risks from public | Environmental Working Group (ewg.org)