Monday, November 25, 2013

Udall: Let's scrap the idea of enlarging PCMS

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Back in August, the Southern Colorado Environmental Council issued a public "thank you" to Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., for pushing to remove the waiver from the moratorium on major land acquisition that would allow the Army to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site northeast of Trinidad by 418,000 acres.

click to enlarge Foxes and other wildlife call PCMS home. - RUSS DEFUSCO
  • Russ Defusco
  • Foxes and other wildlife call PCMS home.

The PCMS, now at 238,000 acres, provides training grounds for soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, which is getting a Combat Aviation Brigade with 113 helicopters and 2,700 soldiers that also will use the site.

"This action we view as a very positive sign and hopefully the final action that the efforts over the years by Southern [sic] Eastern Colorado residents and our congressional delegation to protect the private property rights of our agricultural community surrounding PCMS will be completed once and for all and the waiver is gone," the group's chairperson, Paula Ozzello, wrote in a prepared statement.

Now, the Pueblo Chieftain reports that Udall "is flying Army Assistant Secretary Katherine Hammack to the 238,000-acre training range Monday — a helicopter ride from Fort Carson to announce the Defense Department is repealing its 2007 land-acquisition waiver for the Army to try and add 418,000 more acres." This is a comprehensive article that spells out the history of this contentious issue.

As we've reported in the past, the Army has had problems handling the land it has in an environmentally friendly way, so ranchers, farmers and others in the PCMS vicinity are skeptical of allowing the military to have more land.

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