Wilmeth column - On the border: One-sided agency cooperation

From the Westerner - Agency Cooperation Where? By Stephen L. Wilmeth - “After a slow start and much trial and error, cooperation among federal departments and agencies charged with protection of the border and wilderness areas has been improving in the past few years," concludes the report produced by consultant Kirk Emerson of the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy and requested and funded by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Was this the same New Mexico Wilderness Alliance whose Associate Director, Nathan Newcomer, stated that concerns arising over border security activities hindered by federal land management priorities and interagency cooperation have stymied the passage of Senator Bingaman’s S.1689 with its 241,400 acres of designated Wilderness of which 180,050 acres are located in a direct line of sight of the border. This is an interesting development in the S.1689 debate. Eyebrows are being raised in the opposition coalition of more than 800 Dona Ana County, New Mexico businesses and organizations and the more than 2250 additional petitioners who stand firmly in opposition to the bill. The word to that opposition from the Bingaman camp has been, “Wilderness is not causative” in terms of illegal traffic and impediments to border security. If that is the case, why on earth should there now surface a suggestion that such concerns have stymied S.1689 from passage? Senators Bingaman and Udall of New Mexico certainly have not demonstrated to their constituency that they have had that concern. Read more


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