By Felton Davis
David Swanson calls it “the Pentagon’s 51st state.” Ten percent of the land area of Colorado, to be seized and set aside for robotics and drone warfare testing.
On Friday, the US Army posted the final Environmental Impact Statement for the expanded Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, on the Fort Carson website. The public was given until April 10th to comment on the plans, which have been called the largest eminent domain land-grab in the history of the United States.
On Saturday, the impact statement was withdrawn, without any warning.
On Sunday, “Not One More Acre” asked supporters to contact the Army and ask for an explanation, something many are reluctant to do, for fear of being “tracked” by the military.
On Monday morning, I sent the Fort Carson public information officer an email, and asked for a copy of the document, and received a polite reply within two hours, containing a link to the statement.
Later on Monday, the Army updated its website, restoring the impact statement for public access, and changing the deadline for comments from April 10th to April 19th.
However, the two documents may not be the same. The EIS posted on Friday was over 30 megabytes in size, and 665 pages long. The one I got was only 22 megabytes in size, and 642 pages long. What happened to 23 pages of the environmental impact statement?
And, needless to say, how many people are going to be able to wade through all that dense material between now and April 19th?
Following one of the hundreds of articles that have appeared about this controversy, a woman from Texas sent in a comment, that she had made a special trip to Colorado to see the area for herself, and what struck her the most was how quiet it was in comparison to Dallas. And that’s how I feel. Not NIMBY (not in my back yard), but NOMV (not on my vacation). I don’t want to ride through that special enclave of grasses, bushes, shrubs, and small trees, and hear the sounds of weapons being tested. I don’t want to see mock Iraqi villages being blown up. And I don’t want pilotless drones in the testing phase hovering overhead, ready to zap anything that moves. And as far as the Army’s robotics plans are concerned, I believe Yul Brynner’s robot gunslinger in “Westworld” is the bottom line. If you build a robot, and set it in motion, eventually it will organize high-resolution vision for its computer brain, and real ammunition for its guns.
Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site on horseback and by tank: Two views of a region under siege By Alan Prendergast, February 24, 2011
Piñon Canyon Preservation Exhibition: video
Rep. McKinley’s Piñon Canyon Trail Ride: video
No Piñon Canyon Expansion: video
Piñon Canyon Ablaze – A Hot Issue Gets Hotter: video
PCMS Uranium News: video
Army’s New Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site Map: video
Salazar Piñon Canyon Expansion Protest: video