Not 1 More Acre has issued a statement regarding the Army's release of the Draft Environmental Assessment of Fort Carson as home to the Army's 13th Combat Aviation Brigade, a new unit that will bring thousands of soldiers and support personnel to Colorado Springs.
Not 1 More Acre is a group of citizens and landowners who oppose the Army's expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeast Colorado.
Under cover of another sham environmental analysis and public disclosure document, the Pentagon made clear today its decision to waste nearly $5 billion taxpayer dollars to establish drone warfare training across southeastern Colorado.
$5 billion taxpayer dollars are being spent to build a new Combat Aviation Brigade complete with Grey Eagles and other drones.
Their decision flies in the face of reality: our national security doesn't need it; taxpayers strongly oppose it; for six years Congress has said "no" to military expansion across the last intact shortgrass prairie;
the federal court said "no" to expanded military training at Piñon Canyon. The Combat Aviation Brigade is an unprecedented escalation of military expansion prohibited across southeastern Colorado.
Call Senator Mark Udall, the politician pushing the new Combat Aviation Brigade and $5 billion for it.
Tell him to stop.
Democracy doesn't work without us.
Please call now.
—————-ORIGINAL POST, WEDNESDAY, 12:30 p.m.——————
A heavy combat aviation brigade at Fort Carson that would include 113 helicopters and 2,700 soldiers to train more than 20,000 hours a year would have very little impact on the environment, according to a draft Environmental Assessment released Tuesday for public comment.
Public meetings from 6 to 8 p.m. are scheduled for later this month:
Jan. 23 at Trinidad State Junior College, Trinidad.
Jan. 24 at Otero Junior College, La Junta.
Jan. 26 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Colorado Springs.
Comments by the public, government agencies, other appropriate entities, and stakeholders may be submitted at the above-mentioned public meetings or sent to the U.S. Army Environmental Command (USAEC) during the applicable published comment period. Comments can be sent by e-mail to USARMY.JBSA.AEC.MBX@mail.mil or mailed to: Public Comments USAEC, Attn: IMPA — AE (Kropp), 2450 Connell Road (Building 2264), Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234-7664. For questions regarding comment submittals, call (210) 466-1590.
In a nutshell, the study found these impacts in various environmental categories:
Carson's heavy CAB would have UH-60 Black Hawks (medium lift helicopters), AH-64 Apaches (attack helicopters), and CH-47 Chinooks (heavy lift helicopters). The difference between a medium and heavy CAB is that a heavy CAB has more attack helicopters, giving it more fire-power, the EA says. Also, the CAB would maintain and operate between 600 to 700 wheeled vehicles and trucks to support aviation operations.
With the CAB will come new construction of facilities for brigade, battalion, and company headquarters operations, replacement and additional aircraft maintenance hangars, vehicle maintenance shops, and storage units.
From the EA:
To support the CAB Soldiers, Fort Carson would need to build barracks, a physical fitness facility, and a dining facility in the vicinity of CAB operational facilities. The proposed action would also require the construction of an additional fire station. Infrastructure construction would be required to provide improved access to the post resulting from CAB-related traffic, access roads, utilities, and stormwater control in support of these new facilities. Upgraded Access Control Points (ACPs) would be needed at Gates 6 and 19. Provision of utilities is anticipated to require additional sewer lift station(s), electrical substation(s), and water well(s). The support of the CAB would also require the construction of a central energy plant (CEP) to efficiently provide electricity, heating, and cooling to CAB facilities. The CEP would be a natural gas plant and would require connections to those facilities it is to support.
No CAB facilities would need to be built at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, where a third of the fly time of the CAB would take place. "It is estimated that up to one third of CAB flight time may occur at PCMS," the EA reports. "Using the annual average CAB units training hours of 22,957 from Table 2.3-1, this would translate into an anticipated 7,652 annual average flight hours at PCMS; however, as noted in Section 2.3.2, it is believed that a more probable estimate of annual CAB flight hours is 14,880. One-third of this more probable figure indicates the anticipated average annual flight hours at PCMS would be 4,960. The stationing of a CAB at Fort Carson would not result in a significant increase in use or scheduling of PCMS. A majority of aviation operations at PCMS would be conducted to support ground operations that would have otherwise occurred without aviation support."
The EA states that training by mechanized ground units at PCMS would not exceed a total of 4.7 months per year, a limit established in Fort Carson’s 1980 Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements for Training Land Acquisition.
At Carson and PCMS, the CAB would cause the Army to increase its live-fire training activities by 6.5 percent.
All firing would take place on existing designated range facilities or in existing impact areas. The vast majority of increased firing activities would be small arms and machine gun munitions from qualification activities that Soldiers must conduct twice per year. A majority of the eastern portion of Fort Carson is dedicated to supporting live-fire activities; therefore, the majority of the maneuver training involving CAB wheeled vehicles would occur on the western half of the Installation. Ideally, battalion and brigade maneuver training would primarily occur at PCMS, within established limits, to help alleviate overcrowding at Fort Carson. In practice, travel to PCMS for maneuver training may be affected by funding, timing, and logistical concerns. CAB stationing implementation would have no impact on the current limitations on live-fire at PCMS.
As for noise, the EA found "no significant change" would be caused by the CAB, and notes the areas most affected will be Colorado Springs, the foothills area to the west, Rancho Colorado area to the east, Fountain, Widefield and Security, Penrose and Pueblo West.
According to the EA, adding the CAB would increase the average number of daily flights from Fort Carson from 283 to 324.
Soldiers are expected to begin arriving in 2013.