Fort Bliss is the Army’s largest maneuver installation for heavy armor units of tanks and other tracked combat vehicles, while also supporting rapid deployment. Mission growth is placing increased demand on training facilities. The installation is constructing new ranges at a cost of over $200 million that will likely be utilized at least 242 days per year. Half of the operations will likely be at night, so preventing light pollution from expanding growth is critical for training readiness and protecting this significant investment. To help address this issue, Fort Bliss purchased land use restrictions on thousands of acres from the New Mexico State Land Office, which currently leases out the land for livestock grazing. The state land office could have sold the property to developers to accommodate the rapid growth of cities like El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M. Instead, they are meeting their fiduciary duty while also protecting a large source of the local economy. The Army also has the right of first refusal to purchase the land, while the state will continue to manage the land.
CLF was brought in as a partner to protect 4,500 acres of private land that is at risk of development. Combined, CLF and the other partners will prevent incompatible residential development, maintain the rural character of the community, and benefit the state of New Mexico while also protecting Fort Bliss’s mission.