Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill Thursday that will provide $1.845 million in state funding to help the Ellsworth Development Authority continue clearing the area around Ellsworth Air Force Base of incompatible land uses.
The money will fund the authority's continued participation in the federal Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program, known by the acronym REPI. Eligible REPI projects receive 75 percent federal funding and 25 percent state funding.
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Using REPI, the authority can buy land and clear it of certain uses, such as mobile homes, that are deemed incompatible with areas such as the Accident Potential Zones around the base. The authority also places easements on the land to prevent future incompatible uses when the land is sold or transferred to new owners.
Such transactions are part of a broader strategy to make Ellsworth Air Force Base, which is just east of Rapid City, less vulnerable to potential future base closures. Ellsworth was considered for closure by the federal government in 2005.