Daines Statement on Air Force Decision to Move Forward with Powder River Expansion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today called the United States Air Force’s decision to move forward with the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex “disappointing and discouraging,” and called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address Montanans’ strong concerns before approving the Air Force’s proposal.

The Air Force today issued a record of decision on the proposed expansion that failed to address the many concerns that Montanans and the members of Montana’s Congressional delegation had repeatedly raised. The final proposal now goes before the FAA for final review and approval.

“The Air Force’s decision to move forward with this expansion without adequately addressing Montanans’ concerns is disappointing and discouraging,” Daines stated. “I strongly urge the FAA to examine Montanans’ well-founded concerns about expansion’s impact on pilot safety, emergency services and economic activity in southeastern Montana, and ensure Montanans’ voices are heard in the final proposal.”

Last week, Daines and Senator Jon Tester met with Air Force Officials to reiterate Montanans’ concerns about the proposed expansion. The Senators also announced yesterday that they are introducing an amendment to the Senate Keystone XL bill to prohibit the Air Force from occupying low-level airspace in southeastern Montana, as the proposed expansion would allow.