Tuesday, July 05, 2016

USFS promises to meet area ranchers halfway

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and State Rep. Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, travelled to Cloudcroft Thursday to advocate for area ranchers with the goal of providing the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) with a first-hand look at how restrictions on water rights affect the industry and the state’s economy. The legislators, along with members of the U.S. Forest Service, met with ranchers Spike and Kelly Goss in the Penasco Pens electrified fencing area in the Sacramento Ranger District to discuss potential solutions to ranchers’ concerns over grazing allotments and restrictions to water access points that resulted from the closure. Pearce told the Daily Press Thursday the meeting, which lasted approximately three-and-a-half hours, was positive overall. “I’m cautiously optimistic about the outcome from it all,” Pearce said. “I think we will be able to reach an agreement where the ranchers will be given enough flexibility to do their work and stay in business, and also preserve the habitat. “There is literally no way to make a living if these restrictions continue to stay in place.” Townsend, along with fellow area legislators Yvette Harrell, Candy Spence Ezzell, Bob Wooley, Gay Kernan, Carroll Leavell, Cathrynn Brown and David Gallegos drafted a letter signed by 50 lawmakers that petitioned the state engineer and Gov. Susana Martinez to “take a more aggressive role in protecting New Mexico water rights from, in this case, federal government overreach, for lack of a better word.” Both Pearce and Townsend pointed out the Forest Service hasn’t spotted mouse activity near the streams affected in the most recent closure and blocked some areas due simply to their habitat potential. Pearce said the legislators asked the service to provide its findings on the subject. “We need to make real decisions based on real science,” Pearce said. “I’m asking the Forest Service, our office, and the ranchers to produce their idea of agreements and the things that still need work after today’s meeting. Our office will correlate all of these, we will continue talking via conference calls, and we will keep this thing moving until we have reached a final solution.”  The Forest Service reiterated Thursday a need to keep the mouse’s habitat low-intensity in terms of livestock and wildlife traffic in order to facilitate the recovery of the species but agreed to do what it could to meet the ranchers halfway.  Pearce says the service agreed to reposition the location of fences today or Monday...more

A longer, more complete article from the Alamogordo Daily News is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apprehensive caution.
When is reaching a 1/2 way point compromise a Right into something less?
Maybe the political/environmental climate will be more amiable after the election.
NM 47-1-34