Letters to the Editor

McInnis is on the wrong side of Western values when it comes to Piñon Canyon and eminent domain

To the men and women of the Armed Forces:

Thank you for your service. Thank you for having the courage to move to the sound of the guns for your country. Further, the Army’s own study (“Fort Carson and Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site Community Research,” July 2008) confirms that the ranchers and farmers of southeast Colorado also thank you and understand the importance of training for combat. This is not about you.

Scott McInnis is on the wrong side of Western values with his position on Piñon Canyon. His support for turning more of Colorado land into a large live-fire range solely on the basis of “jobs, jobs, jobs” is misguided, and, quite frankly, troubling.

The incremental job impact of expanding the training site is not clear. The Army is committed to the Fort Carson community and will continue to be an important part of the Colorado Springs economy. What is less clear is the economic benefit to Piñon Canyon ranchers and farmers, 100 miles away from the where the soldiers live. Creating jobs in one part of the state at the expense of another is not the way forward.

The 2008 study suggests the right path forward. Rather than seizing ranchers’ land (another “government grab”), the Army should address the concerns of those who will be directly impacted by the expansion. Eighty-seven percent of residents are concerned about the loss of local water rights, and 83 percent are worried about unemployment (and that was a year ago).

Sixty-eight percent support the Army’s right to buy and sell land in the open market, but 53 percent of respondents say they don’t have enough information to evaluate whether the expansion is necessary, and what other options have been considered, to determine whether to sell or not.

McInnis should focus on addressing these concerns so that individuals can make their own choice.

Rep. Steve King
R-Grand Junction