by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG— Shelley Quartiero from the Piñon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition gave the County Commissioners and update on the latest tactics the Army is using in hope of gaining the property needed for the expansion of the maneuver site. If the Army is successful in procuring the land then it will effectively hold the entire 69 million acre corner of the state, according to Quartiero.
During the legal wrangling between the coalition and the Army, the PCEOC was able to acquire, through a Freedom of Information request, documents from the Pentagon that included a document titled “Piñon Canyon Vision.” In that document and according to current regulations the Army must show support from both the public and local politicians in order to receive a waiver allowing for expansion.
Over the past few months the military has been meeting with various city and county officials in Southern Colorado pitching a covenant that basically calls for communities to support the military. Quartiero believes the covenant is a statement of political and public support and will be used to affect waivers allowing the Army to expand its current training site in Piñon Canyon.
Currently legislation is beginning to move in Washington DC that will permanently ban expansion in Piñon Canyon. Quartiero requested the county commissioners sign a letter supporting the ban legislation. Commission Chair Scott King requested county administrator begin work on drafting a letter of support for the ban legislation.
Al Tucker from the Rural Advisory Committee along with Bob Northrup from the Cuchara Sanitation and Water District asked the county to support efforts by the CSWD to put in a 700 foot pipeline running from Dead Man’s Creek to a reservoir. The project will cost about $20,000 an will utilize Title Two money. The county has $38,000 in Title Two funding designated for use on such projects.
When completed the project will help purify water and contain erosion as it moves across state, Forest Service and private lands.
The project will need the support of the county commission before it can be approved by the Rural Advisory Committee.