Army unveils two environmental studies

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The Army has completed the Environmental Impact Statement that examined intensified use of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site about 150 miles southeast of Colorado Springs.
SGT. FELIX ACEVEDO
  • Sgt. Felix Acevedo
From a summary of the report provided by the Army:
Training activities in the Final EIS include electronic jamming systems, laser target sighting, tactical demolition, unmanned and unarmed aerial reconnaissance systems, and light unmanned ground vehicle training. In terms of training infrastructure, PCMS would establish two new drop-zones, and restricted airspace directly over PCMS for use during periods when training activity poses a hazard to non-participating aircraft. The restricted airspace would be activated as required by training scenarios. Among the changes made since publication of the Draft EIS are the removal of aviation rocket (2.75 inch) and flare training, removal of two of the original eight demolition sites from the proposed action, and reduction in the maximum charge per blast at one of the six remaining sites. 
For a little background on the project, you can read this previous blog. Or read the entire report below:
See related PDF 2014-PCMS-Training-and-Operations-Final-EIS.pdf
Not 1 More Acre!
, a group that opposes more usage of PCMS, issued a news release on Friday:
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the only law that requires the government to assess every type of impact from its proposed actions, analyze alternatives, describe proven measures to mitigate the impacts and disclose all of that to the public for serious review before the government action is approved.

That level of assessment was not conducted or disclosed in DOD's latest EIS for Piñon Canyon Manuever Site, Colorado and so its plans and impacts remain hidden from the public now, just as in 2009, when DOD's PCMS Transformation EIS so failed NEPA's required analysis and public disclosure that it was thrown out by a federal judge.

Urging people across the country to submit comments, Jean Aguerre of watchdog group Not 1 More Acre! said, "Our goal is to re-establish the rule of law that requires public disclosure of government plans and rigorous analysis of impacts before their plans are approved, and to CLOSE Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site to end military takeover of Southeastern Colorado and Northern New Mexico."

To comment, email by April 10 to usarmy.carson.imcom-central.list.dpw-ed-nepa@mail.mil, or mail your comment to the Fort Carson NEPA Program Manager, Directorate of Public Works, Environmental Division, 1626 Evans Street, Building 1219, Fort Carson, CO 80913-4362, or call (719) 526-4666.

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In a related matter, the Bureau of Land Management has completed its scoping report on the Army's application to conduct High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training over BLM land southwest of Colorado Springs.

We wrote about that as well here and here.

During the public comment period, the BLM got 239 written comments; of those, 215 came from the public 14 from non-profit organizations and 10 came from county, state and federal government entities.

Concerns included noise, sense of place, wildlife, livestock and pets, impacts to private property, fire potential, safety hazards, recreation, economic impacts and lower property values, land use, questions about the need for the training and other training areas, including PCMS, biological resources, and so on.

The full report can be found at this link by clicking on public scoping report. The next step is the BLM writing an environmental assessment, about which public comment will be sought.


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