As expected, Fort Carson Garrison Cmdr. Col. David L. Grosso has ruled that a 113-helicopter, 2,700-soldier Combat Aviation Brigade due at Carson later this year and next will have no significant impact on the environment.
The post, located south of Colorado Springs, said in a press release today the finding allows the Army to proceed with construction and infrastructure improvements to support the CAB, which is a ludicrous statement, considering many of the facilities are already built and have been for a couple of years.
As Carson spokeswoman Dee McNutt told us in March, "The Grow the Army EIS [Environmental Impact Statement], completed in 2009 included the potential to receive a CAB. So, in that EIS some facilities were included and started once the decision was made in 2011."
From Carson's release issued today:
Based on the analysis of all the environmental concerns raised during the public comment periods, any activity with the potential to have impacts can be mitigated.
Fort Carson concludes that the Proposed Action is not a major Federal action that would significantly impact the environment and does not require an Environmental Impact Statement.
The CAB EA was prepared according to all applicable laws and regulations. The entire EA and FNSI can be found at the below link:
Not everyone is thrilled with the ruling, such as Bill Sulzman, a peace activist who has picketed local military bases.
"To me, it's more of the same," he says. "It's sad news and a sign of why military spending cannot really be cut, because it becomes a jobs program in whatever district a new proposal is made, and that always wins the day."
We asked the Chamber of Commerce and EDC for a comment but haven't heard back. We'll update later. But Brian Binn, the Chamber official overseeing mlitary issues, wrote the following to us in March:
- over the past several years the economic impact of Fort Carson, as reported by the Fort, has been near or just above $2B per year.
- it is estimated, depending on which economist you follow, that for every military position, it creates 1.3 - 1.7 (about) additional jobs within the community - in many sectors of the business community.
- As you know, we are looking at about 2,700 Soldiers with the CAB, and approximately 120 helicopters of various types.
- most will live off-base in our community. Buying or renting houses, condos, duplexes, or apartments.
- a CAB for a division is an essential piece of allowing fully integrated training for our Soldiers. I'm sure you'll agree that our Soldiers deserve the best possible training and integration with their own air assets if at all possible.
- the 4th ID is the only division in the Army without it's own CAB. Even in tough economic times for our DoD, Army leadership recognizes that the air assets are heavily tasked, and to bring our aviation units into better alignment with the Army's ARFORGEN model they need to continue fielding this CAB at Fort Carson.
-We, our community, has seen CAB size aviation units at Fort Carson before, when the 3rd ACR was here.