HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- With Hill Air Force Base the top candidate for the new F-35 fighter mission, the Air Force has released a document detailing how the jet will likely impact the Top of Utah.
The Air Force released its F-35 Operational Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Friday, which examines impacts the jet will have on noise, land use, air and water quality, and safety.
In July 2010, Hill was chosen as the Air Force's preferred alternative for the location of the first two operational squadrons of the advanced F-35 stealth fighter.
The completion of the EIS is the only hurdle to clear before Hill can activate the squadrons by 2013.
According to the draft EIS, the F-35 will be considerably louder than the F-16s that currently fly at Hill.
A comparison table in the draft shows that the F-35 is 21 to 25 decibels louder than the F-16 during takeoff.
The F-35s would employ similar takeoff and landing procedures to those currently used by the F-16s at Hill.
The report says safety risks would not increase with the arrival of the plane because it will have undergone extensive testing before the time the beddown will occur.
Air quality in the area would improve, according to the report, with decreases in all criteria pollutants.
The draft also states that a number of construction and renovation projects, which could cost as much as $41 million, would have to be completed on base to accommodate the jets.
A 45-day public comment period for the draft went into effect Friday. During the comment period, three public hearings will be held, all from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The first hearing will be held May 1 at Northridge High School, 2430 N. Hill Field Road, in Layton.
The second will be held May 2 at Ogden High School, 2828 Harrison Blvd.
A third hearing will be held May 3 at the West Wendover Branch Library, 590 Camper Road, in Wendover.
In a statement released to the Standard-Examiner, Hill officials said they welcome and encourage public review and comment on the draft EIS.
To view the draft EIS and submit public comment on it, visit www.accplanning.org. Hill will also likely obtain a third operational squadron in 2019, assuming the F-35 program remains funded and on course.