27 May 2010, 11:58am
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County passes ordinance opposing designation of Otero Mesa as a national monument

By Laura London, Alamogordo Daily News, 5/22/2010 [here]

After about two hours of spirited discussion during a public hearing Thursday night, the Otero County Commission passed an ordinance opposing the designation of Otero Mesa as a national monument.

The commission moved the meeting from its usual place in the county administrative building to the commission’s larger former chambers in the county courthouse to accommodate the crowd that was expected. The room was full, with most people standing along the walls because there weren’t enough chairs.

A news release issued from Gov. Bill Richardson’s office March 18 states the Obama administration may be considering 14 sites across the West for national monument status, including Otero Mesa. President Obama could make Otero Mesa a national monument by executive order by invoking the Antiquities Act, according to discussions at previous county meetings.

Commission Chairman Doug Moore opened discussion at the regular meeting Thursday by saying he was opposed to the process that could be used to create the monument, a presidential signature without any local input or due process.

“I think that is at the heart of my opposition to the creation,” Moore said. “There may very well be some well-founded reasons for that area to be considered. I believe it inappropriate to do that consideration without local process and consideration of local custom and culture.”

Commissioner Clarissa McGinn agreed, and said passing the ordinance would require any agency to come to the county and local citizens first before taking action to create a national monument on Otero Mesa.

“I consider it a preemptive action so that we can all be involved before that were to happen, with our input,” McGinn said. … [more]



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