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U.S. Congressmen call for public hearings on proposal for low-flying planes in the Pennsylvania Wilds

A woman looking for elk in a field
Anne Danahy
In this file photo, a woman uses binoculars to look for elk in a field near the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, Pa. Elk and other outdoor activities are tourism draws to the area known as the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Three Pennsylvania congressmen are calling on the Maryland Air National Guard to hold in-person, public meetings to hear residents’ concerns before moving forward with a proposal to fly planes lower during training it does in northcentral Pennsylvania.

“We need to have the people that want to do this over the place where we live stand before us and get asked the tough questions," said U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, a Republican who represents the 12th district.

He and Republican Congressmen Glenn Thompson, R-15th, and Dan Meuser, R-9th, wrote the Maryland National Guard asking for public meetings held in the area that will be affected.

In Pennsylvania, that’s Clinton, Cameron, Elk, McKean, Potter and Tioga counties. It’s a rural part of northcentral Pennsylvania that’s home to an outdoor tourism industry.

“You’re looking at state parks, you’re looking at forest land, you’re looking at recreation. We have an elk herd here in Pennsylvania. We have Class A trout streams," Keller said.

The National Guard is still accepting public input on its proposal— it extended the deadline comments can be emailed from Dec. 15 to Dec. 31. But Keller said he wants to see the comment period continue after a public hearing.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.