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Jan 19, 2010 1:52 PM by Associated Press

Army focused on current land at Pinon Canyon

The Army says it's focusing on its existing land and "mending fences" with its neighbors rather than expanding the hotly contested Pinon Canyon training site in southeast Colorado.

Col. Robert McLaughlin, the garrison commander at Fort Carson, said Tuesday that the Army may still need to expand the Pinon Canyon someday. But he says for now commanders are looking at how to best use the land they have.

Pinon Canyon covers about 235,000 acres or 370 square miles. The Army has said it needs to add 100,000 acres or about 156 square miles to accommodate new weapons and tactics and a proposed expansion.

Nearby landowners object, saying that would remove so much land out of agricultural production that the local economy could suffer.

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