Making the Pitch

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard was in Washington, D.C., last week to reiterate the state’s support for Luke Air Force Base becoming a home to F-35 stealth fighter training. The Peoria Times of Peoria, Ariz., reported yesterday that Goddard met with former Arizona State Sen. Chuck Blanchard (D) who now serves as a general counsel for the Air Force. According to the newspaper, Goddard wanted to make sure that Blanchard and the Air Force accurately understand the nature of the state’s lawsuit against Maricopa County. Back in February the state won a court ruling that prevents Maricopa from issuing residential building permits in high-risk potential zones surrounding Luke and its auxiliary fields, thereby protecting Luke from potential residential encroachment. Goddard and other Arizona state officials have been careful to reinforce that their quest to secure the F-35 for Luke is not meant to influence the Air Force’s decision regarding Eglin AFB, Fla., the intended location for the F-35 initial joint training schoolhouse. While the Air Force announced in February its plans to bed down 59 F-35s at Eglin by 2014, it deferred its verdict on basing additional F-35s there until it has competed additional analysis of environmental issues.