Monday, May 24, 2010

County passes ordinance opposing designation of Otero Mesa as a national monument

After about two hours of spirited discussion during a public hearing Thursday night, the Otero County Commission passed an ordinance opposing the designation of Otero Mesa as a national monument. The commission moved the meeting from its usual place in the county administrative building to the commission's larger former chambers in the county courthouse to accommodate the crowd that was expected. The room was full, with most people standing along the walls because there weren't enough chairs. Commission Chairman Doug Moore opened discussion at the regular meeting Thursday by saying he was opposed to the process that could be used to create the monument, a presidential signature without any local input or due process. "I think that is at the heart of my opposition to the creation," Moore said. "There may very well be some well-founded reasons for that area to be considered. I believe it inappropriate to do that consideration without local process and consideration of local custom and culture." Denny Berkstrom, general manager and vice president of Dell Telephone Cooperative out of Dell City, Texas, said the cooperative supports the county ordinance. He said the cooperative brings broadband and telephone service to ranchers, is the only company that was willing to serve Timberon and has miles of cables buried in the county. He said Dell is against having a national monument as the cooperative needs to maintain access to the Otero Mesa area to service lines. Bobby Jones, who lives on the mesa and is a fourth-generation rancher, said Otero Mesa is pristine because of the ranchers who have kept it that way for generations. He said he thinks if the mesa becomes a national monument, its availability for multiple use will disappear. He also pointed out on maps he brought that the mesa is not all federal Bureau of Land Management land. He called it a "checkerboard situation," with some private land, some state land and some BLM land...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wish our county had done the same
when clinton/babbit dropped the gavel. Eco-tourism will save all of us during the depression.