The monumental fight over Otero Mesa

Excerpts:

The decade-long tussle over energy development in New Mexico's Otero Mesa has been reinvigorated recently, as hardrock mining claims now threaten the region for the first time.

The area, sometimes referred to as the "Southwest's Serengeti," is a 1.2 million-acre stretch of undisturbed Chihuahuan Desert grassland. The sprawling but sensitive expanses of black grama are home to over 1,000 species of native wildlife including a genetically-pure herd of pronghorn antelope, the endangered northern aplomado falcon, mountain lions, mule deer, bald and golden eagles and hundreds of species of plants, insects and migratory birds.