With resistance mounting in the state legislature, Congressman John Salazar announced today that he will ask the U.S. Army to halt its plan to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site by 418,000 acres in southeastern Colorado.
In a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Salazar describes how the Army made an “about-face” and writes that there is no “demonstrated need for expansion.”Parts of the letter:
Apparently the Army made an about-face. After an inquiry to the Army, I received a letter on May 12, 2006. The response read, “Should the Army take on a project of such importance as the PCMS expansion, it is the Army’s view that the use of eminent domain, if required, is an appropriate exercise of authority and that condemnation is an important acquisition tool that should be available.” I continue to be disappointed that the Army switched its position on such an important matter, especially since it fed into pre-existing animosity and distrust about the Army that lingers from the original Pinon Canyon acquisition of 1982.
At the same townhall meeting in Pueblo, Fort Carson staff explained the need for a 26-mile buffer zone. Is that really necessary? Could you imagine losing your home to a buffer zone? Furthermore, Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site has been underutilized since its inception. Many locals speculate that prior to 2006 it was never used in more than three trainings in one year. Simply put, the Army has neglected to make a compelling reason to acquire an additional 418,000 acres.
Salazar also stresses in the letter that his decision to oppose the expansion in not in opposition to the U.S. Armed Forces.
Complete coverage of the Pi