Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Funding ban again halts expansion; Not One More Acre! file protest letter claiming piecemealing

The ongoing efforts of those groups trying to prevent the U.S. Army from expanding its Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS) gained another measure of success last week as the Military Construction Subcommittee of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted to continue the funding ban on “any action that relates to or promotes the expansion and size” of the PCMS, which is located in northeast Las Animas County. Because the U.S. Senate has not placed a permanent ban on expansion of PCMS, the House must act each year on the funding ban, according to information from “Not One More Acre!’’ (N1MA!), which is one of several groups opposed to expansion. The funding ban is part of a larger military construction budget bill that must first be passed by the full House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate before it goes into effect. The funding ban was first instituted by Congress in 2007 to stop what opponents believe are secret plans to expand across 6.9 million acres of fragile prairie ecosystem. Jean Aguerre, president of N1MA!, announced the renewal of the sixth annual funding ban Wednesday, on the same day N1MA! filed its third challenge against the Army’s PCMS environmental disclosures in the past six weeks. The filing was made on N1MA!’s behalf by the Ewegen Law Firm of Denver. That protest, titled “Programmatic Environmental Assessment and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact for the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan 2013-2017 for Fort Carson and the PCMS,” and other information can be found on the website Last Wednesday’s protest from N1MA! charged the Army with continuing to “piecemeal its plans for the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in an effort to sidestep basic requirements of the funding ban, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and a 2009 Federal District Court ruling that vacated the PCMS Transformation Record of Decision issued by the Army in its original efforts to expand the site.”...more

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