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Hickenlooper, Bennet Cheer PUEBLO Act’s Impending Passage into Law

Dec 7, 2023

Bill would return former Chemical Depot land to Pueblo

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet cheered the inclusion of their Promoting Utilization and Economic Benefits from Land Optimization (PUEBLO) Act in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation will allow for the full closure of the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo County, Colorado, and transfer of the remaining parcel of land to the Pueblo community for economic redevelopment. The bill is expected to pass before year’s end.

“Our bill is the result of collaboration between the Pueblo community, our military, and advocates in Colorado and Washington who know the value of investing in southern Colorado,” said Hickenlooper. “This next step for the Pueblo Chemical Depot land will create new jobs and supercharge Pueblo’s economy – let’s finish the job!”

“Since the second World War, the Pueblo Chemical Depot has helped safeguard our national security and provide economic opportunity for Southeast Colorado,” said Bennet. “That’s why I worked to include our PUEBLO Act in this critical national defense bill – to ensure PuebloPlex has the certainty it needs to continue creating good-paying jobs and contributing to Pueblo’s local economy well into the future.”

The Pueblo Chemical Depot is one of two remaining military sites in the United States that stores chemical weapons originally manufactured during World War II. The U.S. Army is decommissioning all chemical weapons at these sites to fulfill American obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. The stockpile at Pueblo Chemical Depot was fully destroyed in June.

Specifically, the PUEBLO Act would direct the Army to close the Pueblo Chemical Depot no later than one year after the completion of the chemical demilitarization mission using the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. This approach allows for the seamless transfer of Department of Defense (DoD) land to a designated Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) to redevelop the land.

PuebloPlex has been formally designated as the LRA for this project. PuebloPlex is actively redeveloping 16,000 acres of former Pueblo Chemical Depot land previously transferred through the BRAC process for a variety of new purposes, including research and development facilities for the rail and transportation industry. The PUEBLO Act would hand over the remaining 7,000-acre parcel to PuebloPlex for further economic development.

For full text of the PUEBLO Act, click HERE. For full text of the NDAA, click HERE.


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