TRINIDAD, Colorado (STPNS) -- Precinct caucuses of Las Animas County will vote on a resolution opposing the Army's proposed expansion of the Piņon Canyon Maneuver Site. The resolution will be voted on at local Democratic precinct meeting sites during Super Tuesday.

In addition to being places for the designation of delegates to represent the candidates, caucuses can be used by attendees to introduce resolutions. Should a sufficient number of votes be gathered by the resolution at the precinct, county and state meeting levels, the resolutions can eventually be included in the political party's state platform.

Democratic Party member Doug Holdread introduced the resolution to the Democratic caucus agenda. Holdread said that he introduced the resolution for, "The opportunity to get some of our local concerns into hopefully the state platform and also to keep that issue visible."

The resolution reads, "The Bush administration's policy of preemptive war and foreign military intervention has taken a huge toll in terms of human life and upon the U.S. economy. The current policy of military expansionism is happening at the expense of the American people. It is excessive and unnecessary. Initiatives by the Department of Defense to seize private property in order to expand military training lands are not justified since the military already has over 25 million acres of training ranges within the U.S. and 40 million acres across the globe.

The ranching community in Las Animas County is an irreplaceable element of the history and culture of Colorado. The area surrounding the (PCMS) in Las Animas County is rich with historical and natural assets of value to the people of Las Animas County and to the State of Colorado. Therefore, in the interest of the common good, the Las Animas County Democratic Party opposes the U.S. Army's attempted land grab of additional lands surrounding the (PCMS) in Southeastern Colorado."

The Republican Party of Las Animas County is also expected to have a PCMS-related resolution presented at its upcoming caucuses, according to party chair Kimmi Lewis. "I'm expecting (a resolution) to come out of the caucus...I expect to have that in wording for the (county) assembly March 1...I haven't been handed (a resolution) yet, but I hear there is one," Lewis said.

Two amendments related to the proposed expansion of PCMS have been signed into national law in recent months. The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, signed last month, contained an amendment requiring the Army to conduct a study to justify the proposed expansion. The $555 billion 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Appropriations bill, signed into law at the end of December, included an amendment for a one-year ban on the Army's spending of any money on expanding the PCMS.

A combination of grassroots movements and local political opposition have also struck the proposed expansion during the past year. The city council of Trinidad, along with other local town councils, has passed a resolution condemning the proposed expansion. Also having passing resolutions against the expansion are the Boards of County Commissioners and other organizations in Las Animas County, Otero County and Huerfano County.

Gov. Bill Ritter signed House Bill 1069 last April, removing the state government's support for the Army's use of eminent domain against landowners in the targeted area.


Democratic Party (by precinct) at 7 p.m.

PCT. 1 Kim Activity Center

PCT. 2 Branson Community Center

PCT. 3 Hoehne Community Center

PCT. 4 St Anthony Parish Hall

PCT. 5 Primero School

PCT. 6 Segundo Kennedy Center

PCT. 7-16 Trinidad Middle School Gym

Republican Party (by precinct) at 6 p.m.

PCT. 1 Kim Senior Citizen Building

PCT. 2 Branson School Cafeteria

PCT. 3 Hoehne Community Center

PCT. 4 Aguilar Community building

PCT. 5 & 6 Primero High School

PCT. 7-16 Trinidad State Junior College, Sullivan Center, Multi-purpose Room