Monday, May 12, 2014

Close PCMS, says Not 1 More Acre!

Colorado Springs Independent
Posted by Pam Zubeck 
Full story: 1-more-acre

The Army's desire to use heavier arms fire training and drones at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site is drawing opposition, judging from comments made during a public meeting in Trinidad on Tuesday.
Not 1 More Acre! spokeswoman Jean Aguerre urged the Army to simply close PCMS, saying the 235,000-acre short-grass prairie can't survive heavier use, according to the Pueblo Chieftain's story about the meeting.
"You can't train soldiers in a Dust Bowl," Aguerre said, drawing applause, the Chieftain reported.
The Army isn't seeking to expand PCMS, as it has in the past. This time, it wants to intensify use of the property in southeast Colorado. As the Chieftain describes, the Army is studying the impact of drone aircraft, helicopter gunnery, drop zones for paratroopers, electronic jamming and demolition training.
[Click here to listen to the list of expanded weapons systems the PCMS EIS will analyze for environmental, cultural and socioeconomic impacts.]
Not 1 More Acre! issued a statement of its position prior to the meeting: 
The Department of Defense has spent more than a decade implementing plans to expand the PCMS through additional training, intensified use, expanded operations and land acquisition.
Every internal military planning document obtained by Not 1 More Acre! has insisted that the PCMS in its current size can neither meet mission requirements nor sustain the environment to meet multi-force training requirements.
By contrast, the Army's recent public statements have all reversed those positions and indicate that use of the existing Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site is able to satisfy all mission and environmental requirements without causing any significant impacts.
These later conclusions were presented without supporting data, are completely at odds with the Army's previous positions, and are false.
The Department of Defense and Department of the Army cannot meet its maneuver training requirements at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site without causing irreversible degradation and total destruction to PCMS and the region (Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas), which is located on fragile shortgrass prairie at the headwinds of the 1930's Dust Bowl.
Fort Carson is only one of many DOD users of Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site and the CAB is only one of many complex weapons systems DOD is operating there. The new EIS will pile on more.
If we don't speak out, the only guarantee is that for a second time in a hundred years we the people will allow our government to bury the Southern Great Plains in dust.
DOD and its contractors must be stopped at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, Colorado. It will take each one of us to grow the campaign to stop the them. We can.
Represent a challenge to everything that is wrong with politics and governance in this country today.
Click the link to tell the Pentagon to CLOSE PINON CANYON MANEUVER SITE!
Bill Sulzman of Colorado Springs also questioned the plan in comments drawn from this prepared statement he provided to us: 
I believe real consideration should be given to a liquidation process for the PCMS. There really needs to be a going out of business sale. Correct the original mistake once and for all. That would take a lot of planning with many having a say in how it is carried out.
Here are some of the reasons why:
It is obvious after 30 years of operation that this terrain is not suitable for the kind of training being conducted here.
The Army as a whole is shrinking in size, up to a 130,000 decline in numbers. Fort Carson itself will lose a complete Brigade Combat Team as part of the drawdown. Why then is there a proposal for new facilities and new training requirements at PCMS?
Army Aviation as a whole is being scaled back also, roughly in proportion to the Army wide cutbacks. Why are the demands for more airspace being pushed as the program overall is getting smaller? In addition to the new demands in the PCMS area, Fort Carson plans to greatly expand its use of airspace in the Canon City area.
The Air Force also wanted a bigger training space in the area for its plans despite overall cutbacks. Thankfully that seems to have been stopped. It is time to protect our common resource of airspace from this huge military demand for even heavier use.
It will be an uphill battle. The political forces, both democrat and republican can't get enough federal military handouts. The giant military contractor firms have enormous influence on military expansion policies.
We have to be able to counter the business as usual atmosphere that drives these policies. Closing PCMS would be a good start.
The point of the meeting in Trinidad, as well as another in La Junta, was to define the scope of the environmental study that will determine what, if any, the changes in training will have on the training grounds.
Sulzman says Carson officials said a draft report will be completed within three months after which more public meetings will be held. A record of decision is expected within about six months.
Click the link to tell DOD to analyze CLOSURE OF  PINON CANYON MANEUVER in the new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Please do it now.  Click the link.  Tell the Pentagon to CLOSE Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.
Thanks to CBS Morning News for yesterday's Almanac on the Dust Bowl:
Almanac: The dust bowl
Almanac: The dust bowl


Post a Comment