Monday, January 24, 2011

Pinon Canyon: Latest report supports expanded Army use

It was 16 months ago that U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch handed the Army a legal setback in its plan to ramp up training at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. But a lull in the legal battle over expansion of the site apparently is over. Matsch ruled the Army's environmental impact study was clearly inadequate and that evidence demonstrated the Army's past failures to protect the prairie grasslands that make up the 238,000-acre training range. Ranchers and other opponents of the Army's nearly five-year campaign to expand Pinon Canyon celebrated the ruling, seeing it as a formidable roadblock against a heavier and more damaging training schedule that the Army sought to use as justification for wanting more land around the 238,000-acre training area northeast of Trinidad. On Thursday, the Army released a new Pinon Canyon Environmental Assessment to answer to Matsch's ruling. The 43-page report defends and reasserts the original "proposed action" to ramp up training at Pinon Canyon...more

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