DENVER (AP) — Federal land managers have agreed to bar drilling and mining on two Army sites in Colorado for 15 more years.

The Bureau of Land Management said Thursday the protection covers about nine square miles of surface land and 221 square miles of subsurface land at the Pinon Canyon training site in southeast Colorado and at Fort Carson, just outside Colorado Springs.

The BLM says the protection does not add any area to the Pinon Canyon site.

The Army’s on-again, off-again efforts to expand Pinon Canyon have stirred up opposition from southeastern Colorado ranchers, who fear the loss of more agricultural land will hurt the regional economy. The Army currently says it’s not actively pursuing expansion.

Minerals protection for the land would have expired Thursday without the extension.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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