Tuesday, June 24, 2008

County Commissions

All over the western U.S. County Commissions seem to be amongst the biggest obstacles to public land reform. I am talking about Wilderness designations, watershed protections and landscape conservation. Many rural commissions are run by exploiters of public lands, like livestock operators, oil and gas businessmen and mining interests.

A case in point in obstruction is wolf protection. By a large margin a recent poll showed most people really want those critters in the wild. The reaction of the Catron County Commission was that essentially, "people are stupid" and it is only an opinion anyway. Well opinions are what people believe and they do believe by a large majority that the wolf introduction program is worthy of continuance.

Now, switch over to the Commissioners in Lincoln county. These folks, many who are involved in one way or another with the economic well being of Ruidoso and its beautiful surroundings, just voted to support reform of the 1872 mining law. That law was passed when Grant was President and he may have rolled over a little in his grave when this Republican Commission opted to reform this outrageous law. These Commissioners have seen the future of the west and know protection of their landscapes and the good economies they engender are the right thing to do.

Most rural counties depend on public lands for their resources of forage and minerals. Currently they are losing population and their economies are hurting because they are still in a boom and bust mode. Their big hope is to cash in on the beauty of the land and its watersheds for tourism. That takes some protections. Let's hope the Commissioners see the light!


cred said...

As a person who actually lives in Catron County, and who also actually attends most Commission meetings, I can tell you that at no time have I ever heard a Commissioner say "people are stupid" - not even abut pro-wolf people.

I would also like to point out that the recent poll which supposedly shows that "most" people really do want these critters in the wild did not poll the people who have to bear the burden of having *habituated* (not wild) wolves in their back yards. It is very easy to be "pro" anything that you don't have to pay for yourself.

Jim Baca said...

Actually, the burden is not being borne by the cattle growers since they can be reimbursed for the predations. Also take into account the heavily subsidized nature of grazing fees on public lands. The livestock folks are being more than compensated.