Rural New Mexico county fights feds over water rights
The latest dispute over federal control of land and water in the West has erupted along the banks of the Agua Chiquita, a small spring-fed stream in the mountains of southern New Mexico where the federal government has installed metal fences and locked gates to keep cattle out.
The move has enraged one rural county, where the sheriff has been ordered by the county commission to cut the locks.
The U.S. attorney for the district of New Mexico hoped a meeting Friday would ease tensions enough to avoid an escalation like the armed standoff last month over grazing rights in Nevada.
The discussion resulted only in more frustration and disappointment.
Otero County Commissioner Ronny Rardin said after the meeting that the dispute was far from over.
"Ultimately, it is incumbent upon the commission, the sheriff and the citizens of Otero County to stand up for our constitutional rights," he said.