Uranium contamination at Pinon Canyon

LAS ANIMAS- State Rep. Wes McKinley of Walsh last week made public the results of soil samples he took while touring the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site and had analyzed.  What his lab found was unusually high concentration of uranium at four different sites across the 238,000 acre site.

    The samples showed a uranium concentration of 20 to 60 parts per million.  The heavy metal does occur naturally in Colorado soil at 5 parts per million.  At amounts greater than 50 parts per million, the State has previously required the contaminated soil to be cleaned up.  State officials have said they do not have the authority to force the Army to clean up the property if it is found to be contaminated; that would have to come from the environmental Protection Agency or the Pentagon.

    McKinley, who is unabashedly anti-expansion of PCMS, has stated, “You don’t want young soldiers out there training if the ground is contaminated with uranium.”  McKinley wants congress to block funding for the expansion of PCMS until the contamination questions have been answered.

    Army officials have responded by saying they would allow further soil sampling to be done on the property, and denied that the Army was using depleted uranium ammunition in live-fire training exercises.  "Right now, we don′t consider the sample data provided by Rep. McKinley to be a sign of any imminent public health threat.”