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Know the West

She's against grazing abuses

  Dear HCN,

My friend Jeff St. Clair listed me as a "grazing abolitionist" in an op-ed piece published in the 3/21/94 issue of HCN. As a candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands in New Mexico, I feel I need to clarify my position on this subject.

I am not opposed to public-land grazing, provided it can be done in an environmentally responsible way and provided grazing lessees pay fair market value for the privilege of using public resources.

What I am strongly opposed to are public-land grazing abuses and rip-offs, such as the poisoning, trapping and aerial gunning of wildlife, carried out on public lands to benefit the ranching industry, and the leasing of public lands to foreign nationals, large corporations and large-scale ranching operations for as little as 50 cents an acre, as is done on public lands in New Mexico.

I do care for truly needy ranchers, just as I care for truly needy teachers, secretaries and factory workers. But as a taxpayer, I am not interested in preserving a government-subsidized "way of life" for someone who makes far more money than I do.

Patricia Wolff

Santa Fe, New Mexico