06NOV2013: More Concerns as Military Destroys Parks with Drills in NM


MAYDAY

(MarineCorpsTimes) – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Objections are being voiced to Kirtland Air Force Base’s request to renew a decades-old agreement that allows military training in mountainous and high-altitude parts of a national forest in central New Mexico.

Kirtland has had an agreement since 1977 to use parts of the Cibola National Forest for training. That training includes establishment of helicopter landing zones, high-altitude flights by aircraft and remote deployment of ground teams.

Some conservation groups and at least one private landowner call the military activity noisy and harmful to wildlife habitat, the Albuquerque Journal reported Monday.

“The noise from helicopters both day and night shakes the houses and disturbs wildlife and cattle,” Magdalena-area landowner Arian Pregenzer said in an Aug. 22 op-ed in the newspaper. “It completely destroys the peace in this wild and open area.”

Pregenzer and other critics suggest that the training be conducted on military installations such as Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range.

Military officials say that units already use those facilities and that the forestland provides more realistic training locations to simulate places where Air Force and Marine Corps units could deploy.

“Because we send people out to units that might not have this terrain there, we train for it here,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Christina Willard, 58th Special Operations Support Squadron commander. “Then, when they’re sent to do operational things overseas, they’ve already worked in that environment before.”

Read More: http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20131104/NEWS/311040027/Military-s-forest-training-in-N-M-draws-concerns

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