Ranchers Oppose Army Taking Over Southeast Colorado Land

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Bill Heats Up Debate Over Southeast Colorado LandBill Heats Up Debate Over Southeast Colorado Land

DENVER — Opponents of the U.S. Army's plan to expand a training site in southeast Colorado are gearing up for another fight at the state Capitol.

On Monday, a Senate committee will take up a bill that would block the federal government from condemning and acquiring more land.

House bill 1069 passed the House by a large margin. 

But proponents of the measure said they are staying on the offensive. They rallied Sunday afternoon on the steps of the Capitol…

     

The debate centers on the Pinon Canyon maneuver site between Trinidad and La Junta.

The Army wants to expand the site by over 400,000 acres.

Ranchers and residents of the area said they believe the Army has its sights set on much more land than that.

At least 80 people stand to lose their properties.

The bill would deny the federal government the authority to buy the land through eminent domain.

Homeowners said the Army took over some of their land in the past, and they said they won't let it happen again.

"It uprooted families back then. It's going to uproot families now," said Las Animas rancher Kennie Gyurman. "We've got a way of life down there (that) we'd like to keep."

"The Senate is going to hear it. They're going to review it, and we're real hopeful that they'll also support us, (and) that they're concerned about family and history and heritage as we are," said Lon Robertson of the Pinon Canyon expansion opposition coalition. "Keep our families and communities together."


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