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Agency upholds bid protests over 2 air tankers

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A federal auditing agency has upheld a challenge to a U.S. Forest Service contract for two next-generation air tankers to fight wildfires.

But what that means for the federal air tanker fleet this summer is not yet clear.

Competing air tanker companies objected to a sole-source contract the Forest Service awarded to Neptune Aviation Services in Montana. It would be worth $496 million over nine years.

The Government Accountability Office said Wednesday the Forest Service should…

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