February 18th, 2009 — By — In News & Events

Reason online: The U.S. Army’s Eminent Domain Abuse in Colorado

Not One More Acre!

THIS+LAND+NOT+FOR+SALEYesterday, Reason Magazine posted a report by Trey Garrison about private property owners who are fighting the Army’s attempts to seize their ranches in Piñon Canyon, Colorado. The Army argues that the property is needed for the expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. Property owners, local communities and politicians oppose the takings arguing that the land grab would devastate local economies and the +$20 million annual agricultural and cattle industry in the region.

Garrison writes: “The Army already occupies 245,000 acres of Colorado’s desolate Piñon Canyon, which it uses for large-scale, force-on-force mechanized brigade combat exercises involving tanks and armored units. But since 2006 Uncle Sam has had his eye on at least 418,000 acres more, to handle increased demand for maneuvers and the expansion of Fort Carson.

Most of that land is private property in the Comanche National Grasslands lying between the rustic ranching towns of La Junta, Trinidad, and Walsenburg. The proposed annexation, which would create a contiguous Army-owned area 85 percent the size of Rhode Island, has attracted loud opposition from local landowners, environmentalists, scientists, and politicians. Their combined efforts were enough to gain a congressionally ordered reprieve in 2007, but the Army appears determined to wear them down. In fact, the training ground expansion may be just the first phase of an enormous land grab potentially involving millions of acres.”

Garrison’s report is available in the March print edition of the magazine and online here.

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