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.”