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Step Forward for Melrose Expansion: The Air Force has been granted a waiver by the Office of the Secretary of Defense so that it may receive a $5 million land gift associated with expanding Melrose Bombing Range in eastern New Mexico. “I am pleased that the Department of Defense has approved the waiver that will allow the Air Force to acquire the land," said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) in a release Monday. In 2005, Richardson committed $5 million worth of land to the bombing range to help save Cannon Air Force Base from closure during BRAC deliberations. The state's legislature appropriated the money in 2006 to acquire the land. Air Force spokesman Gary Strasburg on Tuesday confirmed approval of the waiver, which was necessary since DOD currently has a moratorium on major land acquisitions by the services for installations in the US.