Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Plan To Widen Airspace Riles Dakota Ranchers

The northern Great Plains is among the most isolated parts of the country, making it perfect for raising cattle and finding solitude. But it's also an ideal training area for the Air Force, which hopes to expand its flights there. That possibility is a cause for concern for people in both the ranching and aviation industries in the area. At 500 feet overhead, a B-1 bomber at full throttle can sound louder than a rock concert. The noise is above the normal threshold for pain. Stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, B-1 bombers often use the Power River Training Complex, which includes parts of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The military is proposing a fourfold expansion of the space, which would then cover more of both Dakotas, and parts of Wyoming and Montana. Ranchers point to more than two dozen court cases where landowners have been compensated for excess aircraft noise. Kammerer says that at the very least, the ranchers should get some consideration. "If you want the overflight and use of this land," he says, "then have the good grace to pay us like you do everybody else, in easements and property damage." This economic issue stretches beyond ranchers. Ray Jilek manages the airport in the town of Spearfish, S.D. The number of flights out of the small airstrip would be cut in half to make way for military training. Jilek says the airport is in the middle of a $15 million expansion project, as the military forms its plan. And all of the sudden they are going to say, 'OK, you've made the investment — but we're only going to let you use it part of the time now,' " he says. The Air Force says there are no plans to pay anyone here for losses...more

The Dept of Defense owns 30 million acres, 32% of which is managed by the Air Force. But it is never enough.

The individuals and small communities involved should get ready as the federal military authorities execute a political "shock and awe" against our own citizens.

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