Lawmakers Take Action On Pinon Canyon Expansion Plans

Committee Votes In Favor Of Bill Opposing Land Expansion

The military's plans to expand a Fort Carson training facility took a major blow on Monday.

A Senate committee voted 4 to 1, approving a bill that aims to stop the Pinon Canyon expansion.

Supporters of the bill said the training facility's expansion would swallow up dozens of ranches and force hundreds of families to leave homes they have owned for several generations.

"Ranch land is hard to come by. You don't just move an entire ranch," said Cathy Calderwood with the Colorado Independent Cattle Grower's Association.

"I am a great supporter of the U.S. military. This is the land of the free because of the brave. But that freedom also ensures our basic right to own property," said Charles Sylvester with the Colorado Independent Cattle Grower's Association.

The bill has already passed the full House, and it will now be heard by the full Senate.

Those who oppose the bill said Fort Carson is becoming one of the premiere military installations in the country, and its expansion only enhances its status as a premiere military base.

"I would like to make sure we provide them with the ultimate training facility before they make the ultimate sacrifice," said Democratic State Senator John Morse.

Morse said he believes there should be more communication between the military and the state about exactly what the military plans to do.

"And how can we work collaboratively together to try and iron this out instead of starting with a parting shot and saying, 'We don't want you under any circumstance'," he added.

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