Protesters gathered in southern New Mexico last weekend, hoping to attract national attention to the federal government’s refusal to allow cattle critical access to water.
County commissioners told the crowd that the rights of citizens are “being trampled” by the U.S. Forest Service and other federal departments that claim authority over “public land.” In response to the Obama administration’s abuse of power, county leaders have pled with Congress to intervene on their behalf.
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"We've got the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the BLM [Bureau of Land Management], the Forest Service coming in here dictating terms to us and we're tired of it; we're pushing back," said rancher John Bell, as reported by news channel KVIA.
In a letter sent to their congressional delegation, the county commissioners wrote that the federal government has habitually exercised tyrannical control over western lands, depriving the people of their otherwise unalienable rights. They invited the lawmakers to last Saturday’s rally in Alamogordo, as well.
"Otero County has taken a strong stance to try to protect our citizens and their rights," the letters read. "To date, the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Justice have been unwilling to even reasonably compromise to de-escalate the situation and to work cooperatively.”
"This appears to be an uncompromising example of government bullying," the commissioners added.