Some residents of Valparaiso, Fla., are apparently stepping forward to oppose the lawsuit that their city leadership intends to file by April 5 against the Air Force over the service’s plans to bring F-35s to nearby Eglin Air Force Base for a training schoolhouse. The Northwest Florida Daily News reported Monday that a group of Valparaiso residents has started a petition to end the forthcoming lawsuit and will hold local rallies Friday. While these residents say they have supported the city commission’s work in representing the local community’s concerns over the anticipated high noise levels of the F-35, the commission’s Feb. 18 decision to file the lawsuit went too far. “The Air Force has been pretty straightforward,” said Rick Woelfl, one of the residents behind the petition. He added, “It just makes it hard for everybody to deal with each other when there’s litigation going on, rather than negotiation.” Woelfl wants to present the petition at the commission’s next meeting on March 9. The Air Force agreed last month to conduct an additional study of how to mitigate the impact of the aircraft’s noise on the community when it signed the record of decision to base an initial tranche of F-35s at Eglin.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.