President Barack Obama Wednesday signed a proclamation designating a new monument in southern New Mexico to cover nearly a half-million acres – which the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association opposes. NCBA says the designation includes 68-percent of public grazing lands and 9,000 head of cattle – which threatens the livelihood of family ranching operations in the area. NCBA member Jose Varela Lopez says this is just another decision by the administration driven from pressure by radical special interest groups without the consideration of the negative impact on local economies or the will of local residents.
Valeral Lopez says the cattle industry has operated on western rangelands for more than a century in some areas creating and contributing to the landscape this monument claims to protect. He says adding layers of red tape and regulation only hinders ranchers’ ability to continue operating in the area. Representative Rob Bishop of Utah has sent a letter to President Obama urging reconsideration of the designation.