Environmental Impact Study of Pinon Canyon

Illustration By Greg Cravens

Public hearings on Environmental Inpact Statement November 1,2,3

Copies of the DEIS also are available online at http://www.hqda.army.mil/acsim/brac/nepa_eis_docs.htm

Environmental Law Handbook chapter on Clean Water Act

Environmental Law Handbook chapter on Toxic Substances Control Act

Environmental Law Handook chapter on Underground Storage Tanks

Environmental Law Handbook chapter on Pollution Prevention Act

Here are resources needed to write a letter to the Environmental office of Fort Carson to request certain elements be included in the Environmental Impact Study of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site and propsed expansion.

Bill Sulzman's letter as a guide for syntax, format,and approach

Email address for letters:


Bill Sulzman's talking points on the EIS public hearings November 1,2,3

Scans of EIS FactSheets:

Factsheet 1

Factsheet 2

Facsheet 3


The notice from the Federal Register, November 23, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 225)]
ordering the EIS for the PCMS [wais.access.gpo.gov]


Department of the Army

Intent To Prepare Environmental Impact Statements for Realignment
Actions Resulting From the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment
Commission's Recommendations

AGENCY: Department of the Army, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commissions
were established by Public Law 101-510, the Defense Base Closure and
Realignment Act of 1990 (BRAC Law), to recommend military installations
for realignment and closure. The 2005 Commission's recommendations were
included in a report which was presented to the President on September
8, 2005. The President approved and forwarded this report to Congress
on September 16, 2005. Since a joint resolution to disapprove these
recommendations did not occur within the statutorily provided time
period, these recommendations have become law and must be implemented
in accordance with the requirements of the BRAC Law.
The BRAC Law exempts the decision-making process of the Commission
from the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
(NEPA). The Law also relieves the Department of Defense from the NEPA
requirement to consider the need for closing, realigning, or
transferring functions and from looking at alternative installations to
close or realign. Nonetheless, the Department of the Army must still
prepare environmental impact analyses during the process of property
disposal, and during the process of relocating functions from a
military installation being closed or realigned to another military
installation after the receiving installation has been selected but
before the functions are relocated. These analyses will include
consideration of the direct and indirect environmental and
socioeconomic effects of these actions and the cumulative impacts of
other reasonably foreseeable actions affecting the installations.
The Department of the Army intends to prepare individual
Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of
NEPA, regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1500-
1508), and the Army NEPA regulation (32 CFR 651 et seq.) for each of
the actions listed below.
Opportunities for public participation will be announced in the
respective local newspapers. The public will be invited to participate in
scoping activities for each EIS and comments
from the public will be considered before any action is taken to
implement these actions.
Environmental Impact Statements are planned for each of the following realignment actions:
Fort Carson, Colorado. Fort Carson will receive a Heavy Brigade
Combat team and a Unit of Employment Headquarters from Fort Hood,
Texas, and the inpatient care services from the U.S. Air Force Academy,
Colorado. Another Infantry Brigade Combat Team from overseas could also
be transferred to Fort Carson as a result of the BRAC recommendation.
(1) Alternatives that may be considered in the Fort Carson EIS
could include phasing movement of units to the fort, alternative siting
locations within the post of placement of new facilities, construction
of only new facilities, utilization and renovation of existing
facilities, a combination of new construction and utilization of
existing facilities, and utilization of alternative locations within
Fort Carson for training activities.
(2) Fort Carson will gain approximately 10,000 Army personnel as a
result of the BRAC action. Construction of new facilities, renovation
of existing infrastructure and additional training activities could
have significant environmental impacts on Fort Carson and its environs.
Impacts could concur to local air and water quality, archaeological
resources, noise and traffic.
h. Pinion Canyon Maneuver Site, Colorado. Pinion Canyon Maneuver
Site (PCMS) is a subpost of Fort Carson and a primary training area for
units stationed at Fort Carson and other Army posts. The new combat
units stationed at Fort Carson will increase the training tempo at the
(1) The EIS to be prepared for the PCMS will examine a number of
implementation alternatives that could include alternative placement of
new construction projects, alternative locations within the PCMS for
training activities, and alternative timing for units to conduct
training activities at the PCMS.
(2) The Fort Carson BRAC action has the potential to significantly
impact natural resources at the PCMS since the approximately 10,000 new
personnel to be stationed there will now be training at the PCMS on a
regular basis. New construction and increased training activities at
the PCMS could have an impact on archaeological resources, natural
resources, air and water quality, and soil erosion.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Public Affairs Office of the affected
installations or the appropriate higher headquarters as indicated: (1)
Fort Meade, MD--(301) 677-1301; (2) Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD--(410)
278-1147; (3) Fort Belvoir, VA--(703) 805-2583; (4) Fort Lee, VA--(804)
734-6862; (5) Fort Benning, GA--(706) 545-3438; (6) Fort Sam Houston,
TX--(210) 221-1099; (7) Fort Carson and Pinion Canyon Maneuver Site,
CO--(910) 396-2122/5600.

Dated: November 18, 2005.
Addison D. Davis IV,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety and
Occupational Health), OASA(I&E).
[FR Doc. 05-23162 Filed 11-22-05; 8:45 am]

The NEPA Process in Detail

The NEPA requires all federal agencies to consider and document the potential adverse and beneficial environmental impacts associated with major federal actions.  Agencies must evaluate and document alternatives, including a no-action alternative, before approving the project.  NEPA requires that federal agencies take an interdisciplinary approach.  Factors that agencies must consider include economic, socio-economic, and natural values.  The NEPA process ensures that environmental factors are considered in conjunction with technological, economical and mission-related components of a decision, and that the public is informed and appropriately involved in the decision-making process (NEPA Manual, Installation Operations and Training, June 1998). 

Proper NEPA compliance and management ensures regulatory compliance and integrates effective environmental stewardship with the military mission.  Early on in the planning process, tentative issues and management practices or concerns (i.e., resource management activities or land uses that must be considered throughout the process) are identified.  The NEPA process integrates the management of air, watersheds, riparian, vegetation, wildlife, cultural/historical, and fire with values such as aesthetic, wilderness, and social.  Ultimately when a particular treatment or land use is analyzed, its impacts on these inter-related activities are considered carefully.  Often, there will be impacts on one or more of these categories in a cumulative effects analysis. 

All Fort Carson projects require an appropriate level of environmental analysis pursuant to federal laws, regulations, and Department of Defense/DOA policy, unless it is excluded specifically by regulation [32 CFR 651.11 (a) and (b)].  Fort Carson is required to prepare one of the following analyses: an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), an Environmental Assessment (EA), or a Categorical Exclusion (CX).  Other environmental documents may accompany these, such as a Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI):

  Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  An EIS is a detailed, objective analysis of the environmental consequences of a proposed action.  It is required for any major action that significantly affects the quality of the environment, is environmentally controversial, or when an EA cannot be concluded by a FNSI [32 CFR 651.11 (e) and 651.41].  Fort Carson projects rarely fall into this category. Army actions that would require an EIS would include a significant expansion of a military facility or installation, extensive land acquisition, or major changes in the mission that would cause significant environmental impacts.  The last EIS prepared by Fort Carson was for the acquisition of the PCMS in 1980.

Environmental Assessment (EA).  An EA is a document prepared to consider the extent of environmental impacts of a proposed action and is used to determine whether those impacts are significant.  If the environmental impacts are determined not to be significant, then a FNSI is prepared.  Army actions normally requiring an EA (unless they qualify for the use of a CX) include the development and implementation of natural and cultural resource plans, any military construction exceeding five contiguous acres, or actions that may threaten a violation of federal, state, or local law, such as air quality standards.  A REC, which is a signed statement that briefly documents that an Army action has received NEPA review, may be prepared for actions covered by an existing EA.    

Categorical Exclusion (CX).  CX's are categories of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the environment and for which neither an EA nor an EIS is required.  In order to use a CX, an action must fall into one of the categories listed in 32 CFR Part 651, Appendix B [also known as AR 200-2], and no extraordinary circumstances can exist, as listed in 32 CFR Part 651.29.  The AR 200-2 groups common types of activities into several general categories of CXs (e.g., repair and maintenance, cultural and resource management, procurement, and real estate).

Army PCMS Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

Map of the 21,000 acres the Army gave back after the botched 1980 Environmental Impact Statement

2005 Forest Service Roads report on Comanche and Cimmaron National Grasslands (PDF)

Complete disagreement with 2004 Comanche and Cimmaron Grasslands Plan by 14 groups (PDF)