Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Monument Preserve in New Mexico Could be Next Land Rights Battleground
President Barack Obama's decision on Wednesday to declare 500,000 acres in southern New Mexico as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has set the stage for another controversy that pits conservationists against ranchers, The Washington Times reported.
Environmentalists, conservationists, and state tourism officials lauded the decision as bringing more visitors to the state while protecting the area's unique landscape. The monument is home to five mountain ranges, ancient rock art, and is also where the Apollo astronauts trained for their missions.
Ranchers are angry at losing grazing land. Local law enforcement authorities say the new environmental restrictions that come with the monument designation, will make it harder to patrol the area, which is fast becoming a haven for drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. Sheriff Todd Garrison of Dona Ana County said the designation would leave thousands of acres as pathways "for criminals to get into this country," the Times reported. Garrison said law enforcement vehicles will face environmental restrictions in patrolling the area, while smugglers will simply disregard the new monument designation.
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management will administer the national monument. The U.S. Border Patrol will have limited access to the land when agents are in hot pursuit of smugglers, the Times reported.
Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee's public lands subcommittee, confirmed that environmental restrictions have hampered the Border Patrol. He called on the president to delay the designation until "solutions to existing criminal activities plaguing the border" could be implemented...more