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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:45 am 
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The 5900 acre Double E Ranch in Gila as Bear Creek winds its way through. Tuesday WNMU hosted a celebration of the acquisition of the ranch by the state to permanently protect as a wildlife preserve.

With $1.5M from the Natural Resource Damage settlement and $1.5M from the New Mexico State Game Commission the Double E Ranch has been acquired to permanently protect and restore valuable wildlife habitat. The property will be owned and operated by the NM Game and Fish Dept. During discussions with the bureaucrats after the "celebration" I ask about a timetable for public access as it is now closed, the guess was "at least a year if the politics goes well". It also came out that all who are authorized to enter must wash their horses hooves and human boots/shoes with bleach before entering; the question was raised about enforcing the rule for public visitors; there were only shrugs.

The bureaucrats were in force slapping each other on the back:
New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn
New Mexico Game and Fish Director Alexa Sandoval
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, USFWS, Southwest Region Elizabeth Oms
New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Executive Director Rebecca Neri Zagal
Hosted By: Western New Mexico University President Joseph Shepard

At least half the money comes from a December 2010, $13 million dollar lawsuit settlement with Freeport for water pollution they caused at the Tyrone Mine which, among other issues, polluted creeks and exposed tailing ponds that killed many local and migratory birds and other wildlife. The first use of the money went to cleaning up a mill/smelter site on the banks of San Vicente Creek on the south edge of Silver City in 2013.

Interestingly, just before this celebration NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn had attended the Gila Economic Alliance meeting touting the Copper Rule, written by NMED and Freeport, that would allow the NMED to permit pollution at copper mines and protect Freeport from future lawsuits that resulted, in this case, in the acquisition of the Double E Ranch and the cleanup of the pollution on San Vicente Creek.


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