Terry Goddard Salutes Selection of Luke AFB for F-35 Pilot Training

(Phoenix, Ariz. -- July 29, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today commended the selection of Luke Air Force Base as a training base for the next generation of Air Force jets, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"The Air Force's choice of Luke is terrific news for the citizens of Arizona," Goddard said. "Since its opening in 1941, Luke has played a vital role in our nation's security and our state's economy. It has earned its status as one of America's premier air bases. Its choice for the F-35 promises to continue its prominent mission far into the future." 

Goddard has been one of the state's strongest advocates for Luke's selection. In addition to making several trips to the Pentagon to promote the base in meetings with senior Defense Department officials, he led the legal fight against residential encroachment that had placed Luke's chance of being chosen in jeopardy. 

Luke's bid for the F-35 was significantly enhanced by an agreement Goddard brokered five months ago with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Under the agreement, the county will no longer issue residential building permits in the high noise and accident potential zones near the base. 

Controversy over encroachment around Luke goes back to 2004 when the Arizona Legislature passed a law to ensure adequate buffer zones around the state's military bases. All local governments in Maricopa County complied with the law except the county itself, which continued to issue residential building permits near the base. 

Goddard issued a legal opinion to the county and followed up with a letter asserting its obligation to protect Luke from further encroachment. When the county did not agree to comply, he filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court asking the judge to require the county to take the steps specified in state law. Though the court ruled in the state's favor on nearly every point in the lawsuit, the county refused to give up its legal challenge until the out-of-court agreement was finally reached in February. 

For more information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at (602) 542-8019.