Friday, February 4, 2011

Mt. Taylor TCP Designation Thrown Out

It was about respect, said the Acoma, Hopi, Laguna, Navajo and Zuni tribes in mid-2008 pitching the designation of Mount Taylor as a traditional cultural property. A year later the TCP designation was a done deal, except that some other guys felt they were given insufficient respect. So they sued the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee and Acoma Pueblo. The petitioners included individuals, uranium mining companies and the Cebolleta Land Grant.
Today District Court Judge William G. W. Shoobridge of Hobbs ruled for the petitioners. He sent the matter back to the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee.
Essentially, the TCP designation expanded the bureaucratic requirements that must be met before doing anything with the land within the area.
My glancing through the ruling finds these main points.
1. “The designation in the Final Order of 819 square miles of raw land, even if reduced by 140 square miles for apparent clerical error, and fluid reductions for “non-contributing” properties, is overboard and arbitrary as the CPRC can not reasonably inspect, recommended repairs and maintenance of such a diverse constantly changing mass of land.”
2. “This cause should be reversed and remanded to the CPRC to provide personal notice to all property owners, including mineral estate owners, whose property rights may be affected by any proposed TCP designation as the failure to provide personal notice violated due process rights, is arbitrary and not in accordance with law.”
3. “…the Court finds that the listing of thousands of acres of Petitioner Cebolleta’s private common land as contributing state land is contrary to law and should be reversed.”
What now? An appeal? I have no idea. I suppose it depends on the Pueblo of Acoma and the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee. The committee, in turn, probably depends on Susana Martinez.

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