Army Only Wants 100,000 More Acres At Pinon Canyon

By: KKTV/Associated Press
By: KKTV/Associated Press

The Army calls it a compromise. Some residents believe it's a step closer to losing their land. Military officials scaled back a requested expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver site from more than 400,000 acres to 100,000 acres.

If Stanley White's voice isn't loud enough, the signs he placed along I-25 do the talking for him.

"It's still not right. There's a right and a wrong here," White said.

The signs are tractor-trailer cargo bins painted end to end with letters three feet high. The message: Southeastern Colorado is not for sale to the Army.

"We really believe we can't allow this phase to happen," he said.

In a statement from Army officials, Assistant Secretary for Installations and Environment Keith Eastin said an upcoming report to congress aims to address resident's concerns and find common ground.

White is one of hundreds of landowners who fear the army will force them to sell their property to expand Pinon Canyon.

Following a congressionally ordered yearlong review, the Army's latest offer is to buy less land than it wanted, and only from willing sellers.

White believes more purchases would follow.

"It'd be similar to taking one of your children this year, and one of them next year. It would hurt just as bad," he said.

State lawmakers are trying to extend legislation to prevent expansion by another year.

The Army report outlining the need for expansion of Pinon Canyon will go to congress Friday.

Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar wants to extend the ban on spending money on the expansion for another year during a Senate hearing planned for Thursday. Republican Sen. Wayne Allard just wants to stop the Army from taking land from unwilling sellers.

To read the complete statements from the Army and from Senator Ken Salazar, click on the links above.

To read more about the controversy surrounding the expansion of Pinon Canyon, click on the stories below.

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