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RMFU celebrates Sen. Salazar’s Pinon Canyon Timeout

Denver — Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) congratulated Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) today for leading the successful battle to postpone expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. His amendment to a military spending bill put a one-year hold on plans to expand military land ownership in southeastern Colorado by appropriating private property owned and farmed by food producers.

The Republican senators from Kansas, including presidential hopeful Sam Brownback, crossed party lines to support Salazar’s move. Sen. Salazar attached the amendment to a military spending bill that imposed a ban on the Army spending any money to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in the coming year. His amendment passed in the Senate by a narrow margin. It is expected to survive conference debate because it echoes a similar amendment passed overwhelmingly (383-34) in the House.

With the exception of Senator Wayne Allard and Representative Doug Lamborn, who serves Colorado Springs, Colorado’s federal representation has been united across party lines in opposing the Pinon Canyon expansion. Support for expanding the training site has come primarily from urban interests in Colorado Springs. RMFU has joined with conservation and rural community grassroots organizations to prevent what some see as a federal land grab. “A military expansion program that further weakens America’s ability to feed itself is not serving our national security effectively,” said Kent Peppler, President, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and farmer from Mead, Colo. “The farmers and ranchers of southeast Colorado produce food, fuel and fiber essential to the well-being and security of all Americans.”

Parties on all sides of the issue expect to use the delay to explore solutions that do not impact our national food security and protect the property rights of individual citizens.