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.
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Pearce visits Silver City, speaks on public lands
SILVER CITY — Congressman Steve Pearce was in town Saturday to connect with media outlets and to hold meet-and-greets with his constituents.
"About 1½ years ago, I met with 18 Forest Service officials," Pearce told this reporter. "I told them basically that we couldn't continue operating like this, just de facto burning down forests."
They said they were doing forest cleanup, and Pearce replied: "Yes, 30,000 acres at a time in a million acres of forest. You'll never catch up."
He traveled to Grants about a month ago.
He said the community was asking him for help to create the jobs they used to have. "It was the forest. 'We need to cut trees,' they told me."
"We get to Grants, and the one mill left in New Mexico is there," Pearce said. "One-hundred-twenty-two mills have closed down in the state."
The last mill owner was at the table, and he said he had a stewardship contract and if it lapsed, he, too, would have to close. Pearce said he pushed the Forest Service not to let the last guy shut down, so they gave him a 10-year extension on the stewardship contract, which is not yet completed.
"I need to know what you are doing to cut trees," Pearce said to the Forest Service, which replied that it had a 90,000 acre-project on the books that was close to final signatures.
"Two days later, we went down to the Lincoln Forest, close to Weed," Pearce said.
In a three-hour meeting with the Forest Service, including the Deputy Regional Forester Jim Upchurch, Pearce said he explained the problem for a ranch families. "You're blocking off their water. You're telling them they have to move their cattle to market," but the fence is right up to the mountain on one side and the road on the other, "so the family will have to herd their cattle down the one-way road to get them to market, and people will come flying around the corner and meet a herd of cattle. You're telling me this is what they will have to do. I think we can do better."...more