February 07, 2008 Contact: Kristen Hainen 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Office: 202.225.4422; Cell : 202.441.3178
  Kristen.Hainen@mail.house.gov

At the Veterans’ Affair Committee hearing, Lamborn questioned Secretary Peake and Under Secretary Tuerk on new line item for land acquisitionWashington, D.C. – Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) today announced that a new line item in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2009 will be allocated for land acquisition for a cemetery to be phased in as a replacement for Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver. This new line item provides the National Cemetery Administration the flexibility to purchase land well in advance of Fort Logan‘s reaching capacity.During a hearing of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Congressman Lamborn questioned Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake, M.D. and Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs William F. Tuerk, on the intended use of a new line item in the VA FY2009 Budget in the amount of $5 million.“We would certainly want to begin planning for a successor cemetery to Fort Logan before that cemetery closes so there won’t be a lapse in service for the veterans on the eastern slope of the Rockies in Colorado-certainly. In response to your question, yes we most definitely plan to and intend to and are beginning now to plan for a successor cemetery lest there be an interruption of service.” – William F. Tuerk, Under Secretary for Memorial AffairsUnder Secretary Tuerk stated that when looking at the numbers, Fort Logan National Cemetery appears to be the next large cemetery in the nation to reach capacity-aside from Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO which already has a plan in place to meet that need. In response to questions asked by Congressman Lamborn, Under Secretary Tuerk made assurances that the new line item is intended to address the anticipated obstacles and costs associated with any land acquisition.Southern Colorado has a proud military history and an active veterans population. As the U.S. Representative for this community, it is my duty to see that veterans who have sacrificed for their country are properly honored. Establishing a veterans’ cemetery nearby, where families of veterans can visit the final resting place of their loved ones, is an appropriate way to do that. The significance of a new line item proves that VA recognizes the real need for a veterans’ cemetery on the Front Range. I was pleased to hear Secretary Peake and Under Secretary Tuerk reaffirm this today.”-Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)Fort Logan is projected to be at capacity in 12 years and this new land acquisition policy would ensure that a replacement location is in place before that date arrives. It remains to be determined where such a replacement cemetery will be located. In 2007, a consensus began emerging that a future Colorado veterans’ cemetery should be located in El Paso County once funding is secured.About 150,000 veterans living in Southern Colorado must currently rely on Fort Logan in Denver. Yet, according to recent statistics, Fort Logan, which had the seventh largest rate of use of all veterans’ cemeteries in the country in 2006, will be reaching full capacity earlier than anticipated. It was confirmed in today’s hearing that the new line item is specifically allocated to be used for land acquisition for a cemetery to be phased in as Fort Logan begins to reach capacity.Over the past year, Congressmen Lamborn and Salazar have introduced and passed legislation seeking to create a new national cemetery that would address the needs of Southern Colorado‘s large veterans’ population. The bill has gone to the Senate, where it has the support of Senators Ken and Allard. Congressman Lamborn has also been working closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs since he took office to designate funding for land acquisition for a cemetery to meet the needs associated with the aging veterans’ population in Southern Colorado.###