Group Fights Water Protections

New Mexico – New Mexico ranchers concerned about a sweeping water protection measure are taking their case to the state Court of Appeals.

The New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association tried to petition the Water Quality Control Commission this week to stay the so-called "outstanding waters" designation, but the commission's acting administrator and legal counsel decided the petition had to wait until the commission's next meeting.

An attorney for the ranchers says the move is essentially a pocket veto, so he filed a notice of appeal Friday with the appellate court.

The designation guarantees special protection for rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands in federal wilderness areas across the state.

The ranchers say the designation is too broad and could result in lawsuits over grazing on public forest lands.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.