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Fort Belknap Community, Montana

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The Montana Air National Guard has been considering a site on the reservation as a bomb test range since May 1999, but Col. Rex Tanberg Jr. wants a backup plan. Tanberg said Aug. 18 that more options are needed. "If something happens - if a tribal councilman gains support to put this on a ballot and it's voted down - we're done." He said people at public meetings largely supported a test range on the western edge of the reservation. The guard approached the Bureau of Land Management and three private landowners, looking for a 3- by 5-mile patch of land north of the Missouri River between Big Sandy and Glasgow to lease for at least 25 years. Construction of the $3 million to $10 million training range could begin within the next two years. Planes will make four flights a day, four days a week, dropping bomb dummies from three miles up and firing 20mm dummy bullets at ground targets. Only a square mile in the center of the range would be fenced off. Remaining acreage could be used as farm or ranch land. People would have to leave during target practice.

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