Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tribes seek to ground Ellsworth bomber range

There are several editing errors in today's Rapid City Journal coverage of the proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex over parts of the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and the tribal nations trapped within those states' borders:
The Air Force could fly its planes as low as 500 feet above sea level, or as high as 1,200 feet above sea level, [Lt. Col. Allen Barksdale, commander for the 28th operations support squadron] said. He said the expansion proposal has been modified to address concerns that arose out of Montana. "The initial proposal was 500 to 1,200 feet above sea level, but we've taken those concerns and we've cut out the air space in Montana to modify it based on the feedback from the FAA and rancher aviation," he said. [Emily Niebrugge, Big decision looms for Ellsworth: Officials say expansion of air space key to base's future]
That should read, "above ground level," of course. To a sage grouse, a pronghorn or even a stupid cow that's really fucking close. Rapid City sits at about 3200 feet above sea level, the North Dakota portion only a little lower, and most of the South Carolina-sized bomber range is much higher in elevation.

The Air Force base in South Dakota has been droned in an attack of bad news: an E. coli. scare prompted a boil water advisory and now tribal nations want to drive its plans to expand a bombing range over the cliff.
In response to the proposal to expand the Powder River Training Complex connected to the Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, which would include airspace over four Great Plains Indian reservations and additional ancestral lands in four states, the meeting resulted in a joint resolution on the 22nd of July. The Joint Resolution in part requests that Ellsworth AFB consider a No-Action Alternative that eliminates the expansion of airspace. They would not fly over reservation lands nor sites considered sacred and culturally significant to the tribes, such as Bear Butte and Devil’s Tower. [Karin Eagle, Native Sun News, posted at indianz]
In a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and to the Air Force Chief of Staff, Montana Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh have voiced their opposition to the proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex in southeastern Montana. Citing the potential loss of 95 Montana jobs, concerns over the safety of Montana citizens from aircraft based at South Dakota's Ellsworth AFB and outcry from residents in the area, the Senators wrote that they are unwilling to include the Little Bighorn National Battlefield within PRTC.

It costs about $42,000 an hour to fly an Ellsworth Air Force Base B1-B bomber.

Even the earth hater At-large US Representative from Montana running for US Senate opposes the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex where an increased nuisance from the aircraft based near Rapid City, South Dakota would further threaten sage grouse habitat.
But the prospect of bombers roaring over rural communities 240 days a year has drawn resistance, with one Montana official referring to the proposal as a federal government “airspace grab.” Montana Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division Administrator Debbie Alke said she’s been told by Air Force officials that a final environmental study of the proposal will be released next month. [Matthew Brown, Billings Gazette]
Flights have been added to serve the ecocide taking place in the Bakken oil fields in the news for killing a record number of non-union workers. Small airports are concerned that a proposed increase in military traffic could be even deadlier.

Sure is curious how South Dakota's junior US senator favors federal land grabs at his donors' behest and for his TransCanada sponsors while raising money protecting them from environmental protection.

The Base is home to the 432d Attack Squadron: engaged with droning the children of militants for the Islamic State, no doubt.

The Ellsworth military/tourism complex just wrapped up a schmooz-fest to marshal support from the hospitality industry: more like a swan song from this post.

2 comments:

Duffer said...

I served and observed . . . .

The words "military", and "intelligence" should not be used simultaneously.

Elevation of military officers to "cult" status in our government makes me want to puke.

Colin Powell, a genuinely nice fellow, was easily duped by a couple dorks like Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em. This country is circling a very large drain.

larry kurtz said...

Mutually assured destruction seems even too crazy for Tsar Vlad...i hope. That the B-52, commissioned over 60 years ago is still out-flying the B-1B just reinforces your observation, Duff.

Always good to read you.