Monument Preserve in New Mexico Could be Next Land Rights Battleground

Image: Monument Preserve in New Mexico Could be Next Land Rights Battleground The landscape at the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument, near Las Cruces, N.M.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 07:53 AM

By Elliot Jager

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
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.

The state's two Democratic U.S. senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich back the administration's decision. Heinrich said that the monument will preserve cultural sites and boost tourism, the Times reported.

Republican Rep. Steve Pearce argued that only 50,000 acres should have been declared a monument – not half-a-million, the Times reported. He said the president's action amounted to a "land grab."

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.

While only Congress is authorized to designate a national park, the president may declare national monuments, the Times reported.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Washington School Gunman Was Homecoming Prince

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 07:49 AM

Jaylen Fryberg was well liked and athletic, a football player named to his high school's homecoming court just one week  . . .

Duncan's Nurses: We Held His Hand When Nobody Else Would

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 23:08 PM

The last people to hold Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan's hands to comfort him as he was dying at Dallas' Texas Presbyt . . .

Living Large: The Scandal of Bishops' Residences

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 20:31 PM

Camden, N.J., is one of the poorest cities in the U.S. So it was a shock earlier this year when reports surfaced that Bi . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved