by Carol Dunn
In a letter this month to the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, United States Senator Ken Salazar reaffirmed his position that the Army needs to justify the proposed Piñon Canyon maneuver site expansion.
“As a life-long farmer and Coloradan,” Salazar wrote, “I certainly share your concerns, and those of many farmers, ranchers, and residents of the Pinon Canyon Area. Throughout this process, I have questioned the Army′s justification for an expansion of PCMS.”
Salazar helped secure a one-year moratorium on the expansion of the Pinon Canyon site via an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Administration Appropriations Bill of 2008. The moratorium halted the expansion and protected the agricultural and ranching heritage of southeastern Colorado.
Although Salazar asked that the moratorium on the expansion be extended another year, he wrote, “Unfortunately, the minority objected to the moratorium,” and the 2009 Appropriations bill does not include the language he requested.
Should the expansion project move forward, there is language in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act requiring an outline of steps to provide economic benefits to local communities.
The local Upper Huerfano Conservation District passed a resolution in 2007 opposing the Pinon Canyon Military Site expansion.