Gates Backs Army Commitment On Pinon Canyon Land

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he'll support any commitment the Army has made not to condemn private land for the expansion of the Pinon Canyon maneuver site in southeastern Colorado.

Gates responded to questions today from Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Gates also says he'll try to get the Army to respond to questions from the Government Accountability Office about why the Army cut the amount of land it wants to acquire from 418,577 acres to 100,000 acres, and how much of that would be used for actual training.

The Army has offered to buy the land it wants -- mostly from ranchers -- but there is still concern that taking a large amount of land out of the tax base will harm the local economy.

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