As the long-term drought continues, there will be more potential for confrontation between public lands ranchers and government officials charged with protecting forests, grasslands and wildlife. The failure of the federal government to enforce the law in Nevada sets a dangerous precedent for New Mexico. Catron County ranchers have long ignored wildlife laws. Now Otero County ranchers seem to be on the verge of actively resisting enforcement of grazing regulations.
The Otero County Cattle Growers Association and their parent organization New Mexico Cattle Growers Association are organizing a rally May 31 in the name of Like Cliven Bundy in Nevada, they claim a right to use public land without the need to follow government regulations.
As a member of the American Lands Council, Otero County claims to speak for “ranchers, loggers, miners, hunters, trappers, fishermen, and energy producers across the West.” Their new sagebrush rebellion aims to return to the states rights guaranteed by the Constitution as it existed before the Civil War, when, according to their hero Cliven Bundy, slaves lived a good life.