Sunday, June 01, 2014

Rally draws hundreds to support water and private property rights

Several hundred concerned residents, cattle ranchers and several politicians on the campaign trail came out to the Otero County Fairgrounds Saturday to show their support for water and private property rights in light of the recent grazing and water dispute between a local rancher and the Otero County Commission have with the U.S. Forest Service. In what has become another national story from the area, over 150 people attended the rally, organized by the Otero County Cattleman's Association. Ranchers along with state, county and local politicians came from across the state and Arizona to show their support for water and private property rights they felt were being overtaken by the government. John Bell with the board of directors of the Otero County Cattleman's Association said the U.S. Forest Service was trying to take private property rights and has kept cattle away from the water. He said he wanted to have more rallies with other organizations throughout the state, and his second goal was to stop the implementation of designating the New Mexico jumping mouse as endangered to prevent the Forest Service from fencing more areas. "We want the U.S. Forest Service to start to following the U.S. Constitution," Bell said. State Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Dist. 51, said the federal government has turned a deaf ear. Herrell said in New Mexico there has to be some pressure placed on those running for office. "I don't care what party they are in, but if they are not going to go up there for New Mexico and work for what we are needing, for get it," she said. "They are the wrong candidates. We've got to make sure we are electing folks that get what we are talking about. And I hope that this year we will get more traction on the transfer of public lands bill." Congressman Steve Pearce said he believes the Otero County Commission has taken a bold stance against the government. Pearce said the core of the problem is water rights, which are also private property rights. "The courts have said water is private property and the Constitution says in the Fifth Amendment you can take your private property away without due process or compensation," he said. "It's both. It is water and private property and then government is being arrogant to say they don't have to follow the Constitution. That's when we the people need to say 'you must.' So it is a very simple process." Gary Stone, President of the Otero County Cattleman's Association asked if the government gets water rights what is going to be next? He said that is the issue...more

The Albq. Journal has the AP article on this by Susan Montoya.  That article has quotes from Governor Martinez...about which I will have more to say in the next couple of days. 


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