The Pueblo Chieftain is reporting that the Army is close to an agreement with a Denver landowner to lease 70,000 acres near, but not adjacent to, the present Pinon Canon maneuver site.
Area ranchers and members of Colorado’s congressional delegation were quick to condemn the proposed deal, saying that it represents an attempt by the Army to circumvent the congressional resolution requiring the Army to justify the proposed Pinon Canon expansion.
A deal to expand Pinon Canyon to which all parties would agree would be good news for Colorado Springs since it would virtually guarantee that the Mountain Post would remain one of the Army’s most important facilities. But this proposed lease agreement, if the Chieftain’s report is correct, might do more harm than good. It could trigger a confrontation between imperious Army officials and imperious members of Congress. In such a confrontation, the Army will be overwhelmed by superior bureaucratic firepower and forced into a humiliating retreat.
Let’s hope that our now well-connected and powerful Colorado voices in Washington, including Sens. Bennet and Udall, not to mention Interior Secretary Salazar, and Reps. Salazar, Markey, Perlmutter, Polis and Degette, will seize the moment and structure a fair, reasoned approach to expansion.
And if doing so means that they have to embarrass Army bureaucrats and ignore Congressman “Lonely Doug” Lamborn, so be it … we just want them to remember how important Fort Carson is to the regional economy, especially in these difficult times.
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