Salazar Discusses Pinon Canyon

U.S. Senator Ken Salazar reports the future of the Army's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site is surrounded by unanswered questions. Salazar visited with state and local leaders Wednesday to compare notes on a possible expansion.

A standing room only crowd filled the Springs city council chambers Wednesday to discuss a parcel of land nearly three hours away.

"This must be an important issue since we have so many people who are here," said Sen. Ken Salazar (D) Colo.

In the group, local leaders with a take on the future of Pinon Canyon.

"Our top priority is taking care of men and women in uniform and their families," said Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera.

Rivera believes expanding the site is one way to do it.

The Army wants more than 400,000 acres to give troops more room for real-world training.

"I think we owe it to our military to have the best training possible before they deploy to the middle east," Rivera said.

Salazar has his own questions: specifically if Pinon Canyon is already large enough and if there could be a win-win answer for the Army and the ranchers who own the land it wants to buy.

"We need to explore concepts with respect to additional land that may be acquired and how that might be managed in a way to help support ranchers and the ranching community in the southeastern part of the state," he said.

Opponents outside the meeting said the Army wants too much.

"This would really open the door to the demise of a whole chunk of our state," said Bill Sulzman.

Local leaders urged Salazar to support pre-expansion environmental impact studies while giving landowners a break from Army pressure to sell.

Salazar said he'll take their input back to the drawing board for the upcoming legislative session in September.

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  • by Susan Location: Walsenburg CO on Sep 4, 2007 at 01:10 PM
    Mayor Rivera and Senator Salazar should have the Pentagon threatening to take their land and livehood. The people who own the land the Army wants more of are physically sick and mentally abused. Yet they still labor each day on land their forefathers sweat blood and tears to keep for future generations. They work hard, making near to nothing raising cattle to put meat on American tables. Who is looking out for their interests? With droughts, floods and wildfires ruining land cattle graze over the whole United States what sense does it make to take good grassland out of production? Feeding people is also a National Security Issue, especially since Swift & Company is now owned by the number 2 beef producer in the world...BRAZIL! What easier way to take over a nation from within than to make sure her people are dependant on foreign food sources. Wake UP!!
  • by nc Location: cs on Sep 3, 2007 at 08:21 PM
    I agree with Troy. The mayor clearly sees all the citizens of Colorado Springs on an unequal status. I feel so great knowing that what I want and need is dead last on his list since I am not in the military. That land should be untouched. Those people have priority in my opinion, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
  • by Troy Location: Colorado Springs on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:32 AM
    "We owe it to the military and our top priority is taking care of men and women in uniform and their families" ??? What more do they want? and now I know that civilians fall way down on the list of Lionel Rivera. Ship the military somewhere else to train and GO AWAY and leave the people who have owned the land for years and years alone.
  • by Christy Location: SE CO on Aug 30, 2007 at 04:40 AM
    We don't need a "break" from the Army "pressuring us to sell" what we need is for it to be off the table completely! Say NO to Pinon Canyon expansion! Don't take agriculture out of Colorado, don't hurt our small towns economies to boost Co.Springs and Pueblo! We don't need a "break", what we NEED is OUR LIVES BACK!
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