LOCAL NEWS

Lands Council Membership, Legislative Priorities on County Commission Agenda

By Tony A. Archuleta

HERALD Reporter

The Sierra County Commission, during its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 4, was expected to entertain a number of proposals, including American Lands Council membership and support of 2013 legislative priorities as outlined by the New Mexico Association of Counties.

AMERICAN LANDS COUNCIL

Otero County is inviting the county to join the American Lands Council.

The council is “a grassroots initiative committed to securing and defending local control over land access, use and ownership of public and private lands through education, political persuasion/action, legislation (local, state and national), and litigation.”

In an Aug. 20 letter, Otero County Commission Chairman Ronny Rardin states, “The federal government has failed to extinguish title (i.e. transfer away title) to all public lands within the states of the west as they have in the eastern states. This has substantially damaged New Mexico’s ability to provide funding for education and for the common good…”

Rardin singles out federal forest management policies for “doubling the acreage and intensity of wildfires, spewing billions of pounds of pollution, killing hundreds of millions of animals, destroying their habitat and decimating for decades the watershed.”

The Endangered Species Act has also adversely affected western states, according to Rardin.

“And, while we may have dodged a bullet with the decision not to list the Sand Dune Lizard, decades of experience confirm that other species will be proposed for listing, and other regulations and mandates will follow, that threaten our access and use to both public and private lands,” he wrote.

The ALC website (www.americanlandscouncil.org) asserts the “‘preservationist’ policies of the federal government have failed the test of time. Forests, animal species, wetlands, etc., are not materially better off (in many cases they are significantly worse) for heavy-handed federal controls. And yet, cities, counties, states, businesses, and individuals are suffering the serious effects of federally constrained access and use of public and private lands.”

Yearly ALC general membership dues range from $5,000 (state), $1,000 (county) to $100 (small municipality).

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES LIST

The commission was also to consider supporting by resolution the NMAC’s 2013 legislative priorities.

To read the rest of this article, call (575) 894-2143 for an e-subscription.

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