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Public Statements

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 15, 2007)

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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I support this amendment.

Passage of this amendment will not stop the proposed expansion of the Army's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado, but it will delay consideration of the Army's plans until two very important questions can be answered: (1) What are the Army's real training needs, and (2) will the Army assure Coloradans that it will not resort to condemnation to acquire land?

Before giving the Army money to take the first steps toward expanding these training grounds, we should be convinced that there is a real military need for the Army to acquire an additional 418,000 acres. I have kept an open mind on this question and that that is why, along with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, I have asked the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress on whether this expansion is the right way to meet the Army's training requirements and what other alternatives the Army should consider.

More important, it is abundantly clear to me that there is no support--even among proponents of an expansion--for the Army's use of eminent domain to acquire any land. But so far, the Army has been reluctant to give the State of Colorado and the landowners in the area a commitment that it will not resort to condemnation. For me, that commitment is essential, and unless and until the Army makes clear it will not use condemnation, I believe Congress should not allow the expansion process to go forward.

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