This year has thus far been punctuated with standoffs between the federal government and citizens opposed the encroachment of D.C. bureaucracy. What started as a protest against armed agents at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada last month continued this past weekend near Recapture Canyon in Utah.
Commissioners in Otero County, Utah, this week apparently wanted to act before such a stalemate erupted in their backyard. In a unanimous vote, they decided to authorize local law enforcement to reopen a watering hole closed by the U.S. Forest Service in an ostensible effort to protect the environment of an endangered rodent.
According to Commissioner Tommie Herrell, claims that the closure was in accordance with the affected rancher are inaccurate. He explained the apparent disconnect led to local lawmakers to act:
“We are reacting to the infringement of the U.S. Forest Service on the water rights of our land allotment owners.”
While the measure must still be approved by the state House, this initiative is nevertheless indicative of the rising populist opposition to ever-expanding federal authority.