New Mexico county defies U.S. government over cattle grazing
A rural New Mexico county has voted to defy the federal government and give a rancher's cattle access to a watering hole fenced off by the Forest Service in the latest dispute over federal control of public land in the U.S. West.
Commissioners in Otero County voted 2-0 on Monday night to authorize Sheriff Benny House to open a gate allowing nearly 200 head of cattle into the 23-acre area despite Forest Service restrictions. A third commissioner was out of town for the vote.
"We are reacting to the infringement of the U.S. Forest Service on the water rights of our land-allotment owners," Otero County Commissioner Tommie Herrell told Reuters. "People have been grazing there since 1956."...