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Hickenlooper, Bennet Introduce Legislation to Return Former Chemical Depot Land to Pueblo

Jun 9, 2023

Following the decommissioning of the Pueblo Chemical Depot, the PUEBLO Act will spur development and create jobs on the site

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet introduced The Promoting Utilization and Economic Benefits from Land Optimization (PUEBLO) Act, which will fully close the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo County, Colorado, and transfer the remaining parcel of land to the Pueblo community for economic redevelopment.

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 is on track to be fully destroyed this year.

“The Pueblo Chemical Depot is successfully completing its mission. A new future is on the horizon,” said Hickenlooper. “The redevelopment of the Pueblo Chemical Depot land will help Pueblo County expand its already growing economy and create even more jobs for Coloradans.”

“The Pueblo Chemical Depot has dutifully served our country for decades – and now, PuebloPlex is ready to play a new role in Pueblo’s continued growth and economic development. This critical legislation will assist PuebloPlex and Southeast Colorado as they forge a path forward that provides certainty and opportunity for the community,” said Bennet.

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.

Hickenlooper and Bennet submitted language to the Senate Armed Services Committee to include the PUEBLO Act in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. In addition, Representative Lauren Boebert introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is co-sponsored by Representatives Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck.

For full text of the bill, click HERE.


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