Colorado

Dec 1, 2009 4:42 PM by Bea Karnes

Colorado lawmakers seek to extend Pinon Canyon ban

As President Obama announces the addition of 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan, four members of Colorado's congressional delegation are asking lawmakers to extend a ban on spending money to expand the Army's Pinon Canyon training site, used by Fort Carson to train soldiers for battle in Afghanistan.

Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and Reps. John Salazar and Betsy Markey asked a House-Senate conference committee on Tuesday to renew the ban through September 2010. The four Democrats cite unanswered questions about the need.

The current ban expires Dec. 18. It's been in place since 2007. The Army wants to expand the site from 238,000 acres, or 370 square miles, to 338,000 acres, or 525 square miles. Commanders say they need the space for new weapons and tactics and additional soldiers.

Some ranchers in the area are unwilling to sell their property, and argue the Army hasn't demonstrated the need for it.

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