Franklin Countys First News

Senators Snowe, Collins respond: House asks Maine Congressional Delegation to oppose low-flight modification

AUGUSTA - A resolution petitioning Maine's Congressional Delegation to oppose proposed modifications to the military operation area that encompasses Franklin County and much of western Maine overwhelmingly passed a House vote Tuesday morning.

The Senate is expected to consider the resolution, presented by Rep. Tom Saviello (R - Wilton), on Thursday, according to an aid in the legislative information office. The House passed the bill by a vote of 116 in favor to 20 opposed, with 15 abstentions. Saviello said today that his issues are with an Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Air National Guard on the proposed modification which he has said is incomplete at best.

"I am very proud of the House for their vote," Saviello said. "My remarks made it clear that we want the best training possible for our pilots and soldiers. However, we want the Massachusetts Air National Guard to do the environmental impact statement completely."

U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) said of the resolution petition today: ”I have closely monitored this issue over the past decade and continue to have serious concerns regarding the comprehensive review that I requested in my letter to the Federal Aviation Administration last fall.  We must judiciously balance the need to provide our brave men and women of the Armed Forces with the equipment and training necessary for them to protect the nation here and abroad with the need to safeguard the public interest and ensure that those Mainers living in the proposed CONDOR area are safe and free to conduct their business and live without undue interference.  I appreciate the sentiment behind the Resolution passed by the Maine State House and have carefully reviewed the document.  I will continue to closely monitor this issue and work with my fellow representatives from Maine, the Governor and his staff, and the Air National Guard to ensure the greatest weight is given to the concerns of residents in the affected areas.”

Communications director, Kevin Kelley, released this statement for U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine): “Senator Collins is concerned about the potential effects that lowering the flight level could have on the environment, the economy, and the quality of life of those who live in Western Maine. She contacted the National Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration to convey her concerns, and to ensure that the concerns of residents and businesses are being carefully considered before any changes in flight restrictions are made. In response, the ANG and FAA indicated that a decision to approve the airspace change would not be made until appropriate environmental and community impact reviews are completed. The Senator’s office continues to be in close contact with the National Guard and the FAA on this issue.”

Cosponsoring the bill are Sen. Walter Gooley (R- Farmington), Rep. Paul Gilbert (D - Jay), Rep. Lance Harvell (R - Farmington), Rep. Jarrod Crockett (D - Bethel), Rep. Matthew Peterson (D - Rumford) and Rep. Wayne Mitchell, representing the Penobscot Nation.

Harvell said he was pleased with the overwhelming support of the resolution.

"Tom (Saviello) did his homework on this. He made his case very well," Harvell said.

The resolution asks the Maine Congressional Delegation to request the Federal Aviation Administration delay any decision on a proposal by the Air National Guard to modify Condor 1 and Condor 2, military operation areas that have encompassed most of Franklin County for 30 years.

Currently, in Condor 1 and Condor 2, ANG pilots must stay above 7,000 feet throughout the MOA, unless they're training in military training routes, or MTRs. The ANG wants to lower the minimum altitude to 500 feet throughout most of the MOA.

A copy of the resolution can be found here.

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13 Responses »

  1. Thank you to Mr. Saviello, Gooley and Harvell for representing everyone in the area.

    Senators Snowe and Collins' statements were supportive as well, although still noncommital.

  2. Well the nimbys won. There will be two less votes for the Rs from here. When one military person dies from lack of air force training, it will be on all those who voted against the training. I remember when EVERYONE supported the war efforts. Now we only have sniveling politicians who cave into the minority groups. Remember Rs, that the nimbys do not vote R!

  3. Senators Snowe and Collins are increasingly revealing themselves as weasels on everything but Mothers' Day.

  4. Vet:

    The issue is with the impact study alone nothing else. That is all the resolution is about.

  5. Lance,

    What is an impact? No one has ever explained what an impact is. And I am sorry, but we go Independent
    from now on.

    When a jet flies over my house and the roof is torn off, then I will agree. How come the constant noise of large trucks is OK? Why don't you folks reguire muffling devices on all motorcycles? Ooops. Sorry. Motorcyclists are in the minority and Augusta fears them.

    School buses are very loud when they go by.

    When at Fort Dix for recruit training, the big prop jobs took off from McGuire all day long. Not one building or person was hurt by the noise. Never saw a deer or other critter run out of the woods there either.

    We are at war and the nimbys have your ears. How about the rest of us that think an impact study is like the phoney global warming study. Does anyone know that global warming caused the ice ages(per the History channel)! No SUVs then.

    Had a helo headed for the Hosp last night, fly over my house very low, and with it's spotlight on and my dog did not even look up. I thought is was neat!


  6. Wonder how "A Vet" feels about bipartisanship? Compromise ?

  7. Vet:

    I spoke in detail with Both Mike Wells who is a retired Lt. Col. and fighter pilot, as well as other Maine Air Frce pilots all said that the way the impact study was done was incomplete.I asked Mike Wells and other commanders about our pilots receiving proper training. I was assured that only the Mass Air Guard was going to use this space. I am a veteren and have always supported the troops but When we are being treated like a bunch of hicks who can have anything done to us and we are not smart enough to figure it out that is an insult. Do the study correct this was rejected in the 1980's My a Republican governor and in the 90's by an independant. The issue is not about support of our troops or political parties.

  8. Lance,

    What is an impact study? No one knows. I know there are plenty of people who support the troops. But many do not. They say they do, but it is just lips service because they would be run to ground.

    Now. What is an impact that a low jet would make. Noise is all I can figure. But a jet flies very fast and is gone before you know it. Plus we are hicks. We live in rural Maine. So defeating the mean Military makes us non-hicks? Doesn't make sense.

  9. Vet,

    I Slept in the compartment next to the main engine room on my ship - eventually I learned to get some zzzz's. I had an apartment in Winthrop, MA, years ago just off the end of a runway. The lights from landing aircraft flooded my room. I learned to sleep. Your experience in Ft. Dix and the dog not reacting to a police helicopter looking for pot or maybe a Tea Bagger out pretending to be Rambo doesn't compare. It is possible to adjust when there are no options, but with this, we have options.

    When there are ranges already established for low altitude practice in mountainous terrain by fighter jets, they should be used. It's accountants complaining about the extra jet fuel that would be used to get to upstate New York to Ft. Drum. If there's a problem anywhere in our country - it can usually be traced to accountants .

    Vet - should the CG and BFD blow up an LNG tanker in Boston Harbor for a realistic drill? Instant urban renewal might be a good thing for some of the neighborhoods lost, but I'm betting the people who live tere would be demanding an impact statement prior to the exercise.

    Stop wrapping yourself in the flag. There are a lot of veterans who stand just as straight as you when the colrs pass in a parade, but when I find I'm the only one who is pounding the table in righteous anger, I'm usually wrong. Is it possible that you might be? (GASP!)

  10. I could always be wrong. But other then noise, what is the impact? No one has explained it. No nimby has come forward with an impact.

  11. Maybe Vet wraps himself in the flag because that's all he has. Sad.
    As a kid my bedroom was in the attic. Our house was about a mile and a half from what was then called Dow Air Force Base. We lived directly below the flight path of the B52s, KC135s and Voodoos. These jets would return from training missions at all hours of the night. I'm guessing there would usually be around 20 or so aircraft flying a few hundred feet above the house, one ever three of four minutes. Not only would the windows rattle but the whole house would shake and I would lay awake waiting for one of them to slam into the house. It didn't happen of course but it terrified me and I would lie awake for an hour or more not sure if there were more jets to come. then I would get up at 4:30 to deliver 120 newspapers, go to school and sleep through class.
    Just because you think it's some kind of macho fantasy to have these aircraft screaming around your house doesn't mean those of us who live here because of the solitude hate the military. So unless you've had an experience similar to mine then back off because once again you don't know what your talking about.
    The only thing that really scares me now is ignorance. Get my drift?

  12. Vet:

    That was the exact point I made at the hearing I hate impact studies of any kind because they only point to the negative and no one can know all the influences on either an economy (economic empact study or on enviromental impact study) The point of the resolution is that they (The Air Force didn't follow their own guidelines I did not make them they did it is that simple.

  13. When I type, nimbys begin to cry, their pulse begins to race and blood shoots from their eyes. Since the majority no longer rules in America, I shall let the minority sit on their hands and enjoy every military death
    they have allowed because of make believe impacts. No deaths shall be on my conscience.