15 Feb 2011, 7:37pm
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by admin

New brigade prompts Piñon Canyon fears

By Randy Woock, Trinidad Times Independent, February 15, 2011 [here]

Plans by the U.S. Army to station a new Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) at Fort Carson has raised concerns among some southeast Coloradoans that the swelled numbers will result in forcing an expansion of the base’s training site at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS).

The Army recently released a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), which “compares and evaluates the environmental impacts associated with stationing and training” the CABs at various sites, including training at the PCMS, as well as at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington State. In the PEIS, the Army states that its “preferred” option is to establish CABs at both mentioned bases. …

Not 1 More Acre! President Mack Louden, who is also a Las Animas County commissioner, when asked if the organization was concerned with the possible swelling of population numbers at Fort Carson would lead to an excuse for the Army to expand the PCMS, said that the CAB placement was, “probably good for Colorado Springs.” “We’re fine with them moving the brigade in there, as long as it doesn’t facilitate the expansion of the (PCMS).”

Louden also emphasized the importance of attending the public meeting regarding the Army’s Environmental Assessment of increased usage of the PCMS, currently scheduled for Las Animas County residents on February 17 at Trinidad State Junior College’s Sullivan Center at 6:30 p.m.

Piñon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition President Lon Robertson said there existed a concern that the Army could, through the stationing of the CAB, “Create the need that they haven’t been able to (in the past), to justify the expansion of (PCMS).” …

As was previously reported in the Army’s 2008 document, Department of the Army Response to the National Defense Authorization Act; Section 2831, “Army units are transforming from ‘bigger and slower, to smaller and faster,’ the training of which allegedly requires a 156 percent greater area than previous training requirements.”

The Colorado Division of Wildlife also expressed concerns about possible impacts to local wildlife from the CAB at Fort Carson and associated training at Fort Carson. …

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, who has been “advocating for (the CAB) for years,” touted the potential economic development that stationing the CAB could bring to portions of the state, adding to the reported $5.281 billion in “total direct and indirect impact of military spending in our region (El Paso County).” …

Lamborn’s communications director, Catherine Mortensen, said. “Throughout the whole process, that was never part of their consideration. They made a point to emphasize and stress that to our district because we recognize that there are those concerns, those lingering fears that the Army has an idea of expanding (PCMS) or whatever, but this is separate from that.” … [more]

See also The Piñon Canyon War [here]



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