Group, residents file lawsuit against Air Force over southern Idaho training project

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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A group of Boise residents and wilderness advocates are suing the U.S. Air Force for not providing adequate notice to the public concerning its Urban Close Air Support Training Project.

Under the Urban CAS project, the Air Force intends to deploy F-15 military jets and ground troops in Boise and other cities for urban warfare training exercises, which could be very disruptive to nearby citizens. The suit alleges that the training program is centered over nine southern Idaho counties from Boise to Burley. The project reportedly involves thousands of annual overflights of F-15 military jets with on-the-ground troop activity within cities, occurring day and night for up to 160 days per years.

The lawsuit filed Monday contends that the Air Force violated numerous federal laws in approving the Urban CAS project last fall without preparing a full environmental impact statement to disclose the scope of its actions and likely impacts.

“Boiseans and other southern Idaho residents don’t realize that the Air Force has authorized itself to conduct extensive urban warfare training using military jets over our cities and public lands,” said Laird Lucas, lead attorney on the case and Executive Director of Advocates for the West, the Boise-based nonprofit law firm handling the case in a news release. “The Air Force needs to fully disclose its plans and their impacts, as federal law requires."

According to the complaint, the program allegedly endangers health, safety and quality of life of Idahoans, as well as bird and wildlife.

Anne Hausrath, a long-time Boise resident, community leader, and a plaintiff in the case, summed up concerns expressed by many others in her comment:

“I strenuously object to the presence of ‘friendly’ and ‘enemy’ teams playing hide and seek in our community. I object to the presence of unmarked vehicles and plain clothes participants; if you are going to use our community for training, we the people need to know who you are. This proposal seems to blur the line between civilian and military, a move that I consider to be threatening to our very form of government.”

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