Army Tells Allard No Final Decision on Possible Expansion of Pinon Canyon Until 2008

This is the continuation of articles on the plans the U.S. Army has for the Pinon Canyon  area of Southeastern Colorado . A current maneuvering area of 25,000 acres is rumored to be expanded to take all of Baca County . These articles were first printed in the Baca county Plainsman-Herald.-Ed.

U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) met with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations & Environment on Thursday regarding the Pinon Canyon report that he requested in the Defense Authorization Bill, approved by Congress earlier this year.

 “I requested this morning's briefing with the Army to get an update on the report I asked for and was assured that the earliest that the Pinon Canyon expansion could possibly move forward would be fiscal year 2009,” said Allard. “While the Army was able to provide answers to some elements of the reporting requirements, they were unable to provide answers to many of the questions regarding eco-nomic and environmental impacts without having approval to proceed with the expansion.”

   During the briefing, Allard restated that the only way the Army should proceed is to pursue willing-seller, willing buyer land acquisitions and to conduct a comprehensive study on the economic and environmental impact of expanding Pinon Canyon .

   “As the Army is in the pre-liminary phases of the possible Pinon Canyon expansion, it is important for them to know what our concerns are. The questions that were included in the report were brought to me by the community and need to be addressed,” said Allard. “Now that we know the decision from the Army won't come until 2008, I am confident that they are aware of the benchmark questions that are important to southeastern Colorado and will take them into account as they proceed.”

“I am committed to ensuring that the community receives the answers to the questions that were posed in this report,” Allard said. “Congress still plays a powerful role in this process, and we will get answers to these questions as the Army's process on a possible Pinon Canyon expansion moves forward.”

Who Tops Mr. Scrooge As The Worst Holiday Gift Giver? -

The U.S. Army

Rep. Musgrave disappointed that Colorado families are again left wondering on federal land grab for military training site expansion    Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-Fort Morgan), expressed enormous disappointment after the U.S. Army failed to provide straight answers about its planned expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, keeping family farmers, ranchers, business owners twisting in the wind until 2008.  In its recent report to Congress, the Army announced it is delaying any decision as to whether or not to request funding for the expansion of the military training grounds with the likely use of eminent domain to acquire the property.

   Congresswoman Musgrave offered the following comments regarding this matter: “The news from the Army is a pit-tance of good news. During this holiday season, even Mr. Scrooge could manage to give a better present to families of southeast Colorado . This region of our state is vital to agriculture and ranching and has a rich history. In fact, many of the farms operating today have been handed down through the generations from family members who were homesteaders.

“Putting off this decision for a few more years actually harms local families, it doesn't help. Farmers and business owners have even less certainty today about their future. I oppose any expansion by the Army and I will continue pressing them to stop dragging their feet.”