STOP LOW ALTITUDE TACTICAL NAVIGATION (LATN)
In 2010, the US Air Force announced a proposal for Low Altitude Tactical Navigation (LATN) flight training over a region of 94,000 miles encompassing Northern New Mexico and most of Colorado. The proposal calls for an average of three flights per night, or 688 training flights yearly of CV-22 Osprey and C-130 Tanker aircraft out of Cannon Air Force Base, NM with no proposed end date. These aircraft will fly at altitudes as low as 200 ft. and will also practice mid-air refueling. The estimated flight cost of the Osprey is $11,000 per hour. With 688 five hour flights, Osprey flight costs will total nearly $38 million per year, with additional costs for the much larger C-130 tankers that have not been disclosed.
This comes at the same time that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is pleading for the cessation of Special Forces Night Missions and drone attacks, which have caused a high number of civilian deaths. The proposed LATN training is designed exactly for such night missions, which draw the US deeper into an unsustainable war. The Department of Defense already spends over 1 trillion dollars per year on existing military ventures, exhausting the American economy.
The proposed LATN flyover region includes cities, populated rural areas, Native American communities, protected wilderness, wildlife refuges, mountains, watersheds, ski resorts and recreation areas. While the Air Force says it will not fly over population centers, they fail to realize that the majority of the population in the LATN region lives outside of the cities in rural or forested areas. Residents and tourists cherish the peace and tranquility of this region. The noise from the flights would not only destroy this peace, but could lead to health disorders from repeated noise stress and loss of sleep. Veterans who suffer from PTSD could experience a reactivation of their traumas. Residents who have already experienced military flyovers report an increase of fear and anxiety, being startled awake from sleep, and feeling they are in a war zone.
The loud noise vibrations from over flights threaten the structural integrity of both historic and new adobe buildings in the area, including houses, churches and ancient Native American dwellings such as Taos Pueblo. Snow packed mountains near the ski areas could experience avalanches resulting from the noise vibrations or a possible crash, and the drivers on the many mountainous highways could be harmed by boulders falling on to the roads, loosened by military aircraft.
Livestock and wildlife could be harmed. Deafening noise could cause panic stricken animals to stampede into fences as well as miscarry their offspring. Many species of wildlife, including endangered species that inhabit this region, are at risk of being harmed. Flyways for migrating birds would be threatened. Federal laws protect wildlife from being harassed. Harm to endangered species is illegal. The military is not above the law.
Our air, water and soil could become contaminated from toxic chemicals in the jet fuel emissions. Burning jet fuel releases perchlorates and other contaminants, which can lead to long term health disorders in humans and animals, including respiratory disorders, cancer and death. Jet fuel will almost certainly be spilled during LATNs low altitude refueling maneuvers.
There are municipal air fields within the LATN region, increasing the probability of catastrophic mid-air collisions, leading to death, destruction and the danger of wildfires. LATN aircraft would fly below radar at speeds up to 250 knots in challenging weather over mountainous terrain at night. Local hospitals and first responders are not equipped to handle military air crashes or wildfires ignited from jet fuel.
The LATN proposal threatens already overburdened local economies by reducing property values and discouraging tourism, which is the regions main source of income. A huge portion of the national budget is already spent on the military while urgent human needs for sustainable jobs, education, and health care are going unmet. The LATN proposal is wasteful, unnecessary and dangerous.
Please ask your political representative to demand that the USAF Low Altitude Tactical Navigation proposal be withdrawn permanently. For more info, visit http://www.peacefulskies.org/
We, the undersigned, oppose the LATN (Low Altitude Tactical Navigation) nocturnal flight training program, proposed to originate out of Cannon Air Force Base and fly at altitudes as low as 200 ft., over 94,000 square miles of New Mexico and Colorado, for these and other reasons: disruption of peace and quiet to an area dependent on tourism; threats to health and public safety, disruption of Native American communities, disruption of wildlife, bird migration, domestic animals and livestock, with possible illegal harm to endangered species; potential damage to traditional adobe structures; pollution from jet fuel exhaust and possible spills during refueling maneuvers; danger of catastrophic military crashes that could ignite wildfires; and probable emotional trauma to sufferers of PTSD. The LATN program will train pilots for night operations in the disastrous Afghanistan war, the cause of countless indiscriminate civilian deaths. Meanwhile the ranks of US poor are burgeoning, education and health care are in crisis, the depleted job market stagnates, and military adventurism sinks our nation ever deeper into debt and unsustainable wars. We ask for your support in insisting that the US Air Force permanently withdraw this wasteful and dangerous proposal.