Governor fights expansion of bomber training zone

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) is asking the Obama administration to abandon plans to establish a bomber training area over his state.

Bullock sent a letter Monday to Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelMore than 100 national security professionals urge Trump to invoke Defense Production Act Almost 100 former officials, members of Congress urge Senate action on election security GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel MORE and Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE urging them to scuttle a proposal to expand the South Dakota-based Powder River Training Complex, The Associated Press reported.

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An Air Force decision on the expansion could come before the start of 2015. If approved, it would quadruple the training area for the Powder River’s B-1 bombers to include parts of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

South Dakota Sens. Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan MORE (D) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US death toll nears 100,000 as country grapples with reopening GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R) have endorsed the expansion, arguing that it would provide pilots and other personnel the airspace needed to carry out training in conditions that mirror combat without actually firing ammunition.

While Johnson is retiring, Thune is well-placed to make sure the expansion goes through. In addition to being the head of the Senate Republican Conference, Thune is likely the incoming chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Bullock said that if the Powder River expansion goes forward, military and federal aviation officials should amend their proposal to include more measures to protect civilian aircraft.