U.S. Air Force officials have yet to decide if there will be an expansion of a bomber training area over the Northern Plains, but it could happen as soon as next month, Rapid City Journal reports.
The expansion would cover an area larger than West Virginia. The Powder River Training Complex, as it is known, encompasses parts of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. It would be used as training for B-1 bomber crews based at Ellsworth Air Force Base east of Rapid City and B-52 bombers based at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Air Force personnel say the expansion is needed to keep its force ready for combat. Some state officials, residents and politicians disagree with the expansion, worrying that it would cause economic harm to the area.
The Secretary of the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the proposal before any final decision is made.
Find more information about Ellsworth Air Force Base on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.