Governor Expected to Deter Army Expansion

May 18 2009, 11:18 AM

Governor Bill Ritter plans to sign a bill designed to impede the U.S. Army's plans for expanding its Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeast Colorado, according to the Pueblo Chieftain, which reports that the so-called "Landowner and School Protection Act," sponsored by state Representatives Sal Pace and Wes McKinley, both southern Colorado Democrats, and Senator Ken Kester, a Las Animas County Republican, bars the leasing of certain state lands to the Army. Joined by former Congressman Scott McInnis, a potential GOP candidate for governor, Colorado Springs politicos, who fear Fort Carson will shrink if Piñon Canyon isn't allowed to grow, had lobbied Ritter to reject the measure (via 5280). Late last week, The Denver Post, citing unnamed congressional and military sources, reported that the Army dropped efforts to acquire an additional 100,000 acres for the maneuver site--at least for this year. The Army instead took $17 million that would have gone to land acquisitions in the region for 2010 and used it to fund military construction at Fort Polk in Louisiana. Meanwhile, Face The State provides an audio report on the latest developments and opinions.