Valparaiso Lawsuit over F-35 Dismissed

A federal judge has set aside one of the two lawsuits that the City of Valparaiso, Fla., filed against the Air Force over the decision to bed down the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter at nearby Eglin Air Force Base. The Pensacola News Journal reported Aug. 2 that the judge’s action came on July 22 after both parties reached a settlement out of court. The dismissal pertains to the lawsuit that the city filed last August after it claimed the Air Force did not respond properly to a freedom of information request for records dealing with the noise levels associated with operating F-35s out of Eglin. The Air Force has proposed locating the joint F-35 schoolhouse there. Unlike in some other nearby communities, Valparaiso officials expressed concern over the potential detrimental impact of the F-35’s noise levels. The Northwest Florida Daily News reported last month that, under the settlement, the Air Force agreed to release the noise data that the city wanted so that it may have its experts estimate the effect of the F-35’s noise. But in a quid pro quo, the city reportedly abandoned its quest for information on noise mitigation as part of the settlement. Valparaiso’s second lawsuit against the Air Force still stands; it was filed after the service issued its record of decision in February to base an initial bunch of 59 F-35s at Eglin by 2014, but said it would study in more depth the environmental impact of housing the full schoolhouse complement of more than 100 F-35s there.