Why John Salazar Is Backing Off the Army

June 18 2009, 10:03 AM

salazar-johnFor a few weeks, it seemed the Army's plans to expand the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site were dead at every turn. Governor Bill Ritter signed a bill that impedes Fort Carson's controversial plans to grow the training grounds in southeast Colorado, and the Army announced it would not add another brigade to the post, as The Colorado Statesman noted earlier this month. But now there's a new twist to the drama. U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, has been successful in efforts to thwart an amendment in the House Armed Services Committee that would have banned Army expansion in the region, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. With a show of hands, the committee rejected the measure by Lamborn's Democratic colleague, U.S. Representative John Salazar, who has long opposed expansion. Salazar is downplaying the defeat, saying he believes expansion remains "off the table until someone introduces specific legislation to do so." The Denver Post writes that Salazar essentially "called a truce" by saying he'll no longer pursue efforts to ban Army growth in the region. At one point, the Army sought to increase the roughly 235,000-acre site by 400,000 acres, but later scaled back to 100,000 acres.