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United States Army Maj. Gen. Wes Clark suggests that Coloradans should stand up and hand over a hunk of land nearly the size of Rhode Island “for the greater common cause.”

“Who,” Clark asked, “would let one life be lost because of lack of training?” The Army, he says, needs a massive 418,000-acre portion of southeastern Colorado to train soldiers.

“There is no one here today that is anti-military,” was the response, from Colorado Sen. Ken Kester. On Monday, Kester, a Republican from Las Animas, was joined by dozens of schoolteachers and their students, historians, conservationists, teachers, elected officials, archeologists and ranchers – many of whom have built their operations over generations – that do not believe that the United States military needs to take away their properties, their livelihoods, or their way of life in what they term would be the largest single condemnation of land in the history of the United States. “We are going to lose a whole region,” said Mack Louden, whose family has been ranching in the area for four generations.

During the emotional hearing at the state capitol, many of the longtime residents living in the impacted area noted that Army representatives have continued their silence when it comes to  talking about the potential seizure of their properties through eminent domain.

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Cara Degette

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