PUEBLO, Colo. - The Defense Department is repealing a 2007 land-aquisition waiver for the Army to try and add 418,000 more acres to the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado.
Sen. Mark Udall and Army Assistant Secretary Katherine Hammack made the announcement Monday (11/25/13).
Army leaders have insisted in recent years they no longer want to expand the 365-square-mile site north of Trinidad. Congress has imposed a series of one-year bans on funding for expansion.
The expansion was proposed when U.S. troops were fighting insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Army officials said they wanted a larger Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site because the terrain resembled those countries. Ranchers countered that the Pentagon already had millions of acres to train on in the West.
KRDO NewsChannel 13's Eric Singer was in Pueblo for the announcement. Las Animas County Commissioner Gary Hill is also a rancher in the area. His family was on the short end of previous Army expansions. He showed Senator Udall and the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Katherine Hammack a picture of his family and said, "This is my grand-kids seven years ago. They're a little bit older today. They said tell you thanks for ending plans for the expansion."