Farm Credit
Apr 12 2017

Cattle Growers’ Push for Monument Elimination

Here’s The Moos….                 For Immediate Release / April 12, 2017

The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) is urging President Donald J. Trump to address the abusive monument designations made in past administrations, according to the group’s President Pat Boone, Elida.

In an early April letter to Congressman Steve Pearce, the NMCGA asked the Congressman to bring the New Mexico monuments to the President’s attention.     

“I know of few that don’t want the best for the land,” Boone said. “But putting layer after layer of bureaucratic designations isn’t often what is best for the land and its’ creatures.”

“Ranchers and other agriculturists have been managing lands in New Mexico for more than 14 generations. If it wasn’t for that stewardship, there likely wouldn’t be pristine lands available today,” he continued.

“We all remember visiting monument designations across the country as youngsters and we enjoy sharing those places with our children and grandchildren today,” Boone noted. “These sights are of a reasonable size for all to enjoy.”

“Unfortunately more recent monument designations starting back in 1996 with the Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah that encompasses 1,880,461 acres appear to be about controlling the land rather than conserving special places,” he said.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument takes 776 square miles, or about 25 percent of Dona Ana County, New Mexico, according to Boone. There are several entire ranches within the monument designation.

An additional concern with this huge amount of land is border security, Boone noted. Both the Border Patrol and local law enforcement concerns were unheeded with the Dona Ana County designation.

The federal Antiquities Act requires that “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” The act was designed to protect federal lands and resources quickly, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report issue in early September, 2016.

“It doesn’t seem to me that these vast designations meet the letter, spirit or intent of the law,” Boone said.

Furthermore, after three (3) years, the Bureau of Land Management has yet to come up with a plan or guidance on how the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks are to be managed as a monument, he added.

Congressman Pearce fully understood the impacts of such a huge designation in Dona Ana County and attempted to reduce the size of the monument to about 60,000 acres prior to the monster designation by President Obama, Boone pointed out.

 The CRS says that presidents have proclaimed a total of 151 monuments. Congress has modified many of these proclamations and has abolished some monuments. Congress also has created monuments under its own authority.

These monster designations are not limited to New Mexico, with many other Western states suffering from vast monument designations as well, Boone explained.

“We sincerely hope that President Trump will consider the people who live and work on the land as he addresses monuments,” Boone concluded, “and that he takes action to eliminate harmful designations.”

 

For further information, contact:  Caren Cowan

505.247.0584 phone / nmcga@nmagriculture.org