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Pinon Canyon expansion unjustiified, says GAO report

KIM- The United States General Accountability Office released a report on the proposed expansion of the military base at Piñon Canyon, and found that the Army had again failed to provide sufficient reason for the expansion, or why the Army would be willing to settle for a lesser amount.

    After striving for years to increase the size of the base from its current 238,000 acres up to 418,577 acres, the Army in July of 2008 said it would be willing to “settle” for only 100,000 acres.

    The report also notes the estimated price tag of purchasing the land rose from the estimated $280 an acre to a higher, unreleased figure.  This is going on the assumption the Army does not attempt to use eminent domain to seize the land, as it did in 1983.  Virtually every Colorado politician from the Governor on down to local County Commissioners oppose this action.

The Army had budgeted $52.6 million over three years to expand Piñon Canyon.   

     Army officals see the report differently and believe it justifies their need for expansion, stating the report buttressed their claim they need more training land. “I’m exteremely pleased that the GAO  agreed the Army’s core needs,” said Army Assistant Secretary Keith Eastin.