Powder River Training Complex: A Hail Mary?

Back in July 2008 I first wrote about the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) and the proposal to expand it into southeastern Montana. The expanded training area would be used by B-1 and B-52 airplanes from Minot and Ellsworth Air Force Bases in North and South Dakota. Other planes from other bases could use the area, too. It would expand to about 28,000 square miles from the current 8,300 square miles.

I have been in favor of the PRTC since the beginning.

PRTC will save millions of tax dollars because crews will train closer to home. If the area had been approved in 2013, the Air Force estimates it would have saved $21 million. (Source)

Unfortunately, the Montana congressional delegation has not supported the expansion for trivial reasons. Who knows, maybe some big donors live in the area and this is their ultimate reason for not supporting the expansion.

Just last week, the Montana Congressional delegation attempted a “Hail Mary” type blitz. The Associated Press (AP) reported, “Montana U.S. Sens. Tester and John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines told Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in a Friday letter that the proposal would stifle economic development and threaten safety in the region.”

That’s absurd.

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Rep. Steve Daines: Montana’s Skies Are Closed

Since July 2008 I have been writing about the proposed Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) that would extend into southeastern Montana. The expanded training area would be used by B-1 and B-52 airplanes from Minot and Ellsworth Air Force Bases in North and South Dakota. Of course other planes from other bases could use the area, too. It would expand to about 28,000 square miles from the current 8,300 square miles.

I have supported the expansion from the beginning.

Unfortunately, the Montana congressional delegation has not supported the expansion for trivial reasons. Who knows, maybe some big donors live in the area and this is their ultimate reason for not supporting the expansion.

Since 2008, elected officials in Montana have basically told anyone and everyone that Montana’s skies are closed. Their backward thinking may have even caused the Montana Air National Guard to lose their jet fighter mission – plus hurt the chances of Malmstrom AFB (near Great Falls) from ever getting another flying mission – or getting an aerospace contractor to relocate to Montana to use Malmstrom’s closed runway.

The Associated Press yesterday reported that freshman Congressman Steve Daines has “asked the Air Force to remove from its plans a vast swath of airspace above southeast Montana, northwest South Dakota and southwest North Dakota.”

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Thursday Numbers

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers” – and welcome to May! Thanks for stopping by!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Thursday Numbers” is the column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes spiked with a little sarcasm) just to make you smile or to make you shake your head.

This week I write about the sage grouse, Malmstrom AFB, unemployment, the “anchor tenant,” Mission Accomplished, my Twitter followers, Paul McCartney, Josh Huestis, Jameis Winston, the anniversary, KFC, Taco Bell’s beef, minimum wage, most visited stores in the USA, Ryan Zinke bus tour, Jon Tester, John Walsh, Steve Daines, B-1 bomber, and much more!

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