Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in testimony yesterday that he would come to New Mexico and see first-hand areas within at least one of the state’s two National Monuments his department is reviewing. I thank @MartinHeinrich for the invitation to see #NewMexico on horseback. Looking forward to it. — Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) June 20, 2017
The DOI is reviewing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and Rio Grande del Norte National Monument because of spurious claims that President Obama overreached his authority when designating both areas under the Antiquities Act. Read more to see why we know New Mexicans want our monuments to be left as is.
Over 97,000 individual comments were submitted to Trump’s secretary of the interior in support of current the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument designation, organizers announced on Monday as the comment period closed. ProgressNow New Mexico activists added more than 1,340 in the final weeks of the comment period. PNNM worked with conservation groups around the state to help spread the word and add your story to those comments as well. Related: Comment pages overwhelmed in final hours, Final day to comment on national monuments designation | NM Political Report
PNNM also live-streamed the event from the Monument entrance on Monday:
Rumors of Secretary Zinke coming to visit New Mexico’s national monuments have been swirling since an exchange last month between he and Senator Martin Heinrich in a hearing. Our hope is that with the level of support for national monuments from around the state and a first-hand account will make an impact that even Zinke can’t ignore. The other elephant in the room is Monday’s announcement that Congressman Steve Pearce will be leaving behind his congressional seat in 2018 to run for Governor of New Mexico.
By this point, the news that Rep. Steve Pearce (NM02) has done something bad when it comes to America’s public lands is hardly earth shattering. So, imagine our surprise when it became known over the holiday weekend that Pearce joined with 17 radical tea-party Republicans calling on Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for the complete (nearly) undoing of national monuments all across the western United States. via GIPHY
Members of the so-called Western Caucus have for years been trying to dismantle land designations that protect important cultural and environmental resources within the 11 western states that compose the majority of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Led by stalwart Industry supporters like Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, the Western Caucus has pushed back against national monuments, wilderness, and supported extreme radicals like Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his ilk.
But what is a little surprising is this: Even this group of nearly 70 representatives has never gone so far as to call for the complete dismantling of protected public lands with such detail oriented calculation. Under their plan, the following monuments would be reduced or completely removed:
But Pearce and just 16 out of over 70 members signed onto the letter calling on Zinke to shrink or completely remove up to 30 national monuments across the West.
After a marathon meeting Tuesday, Doña Ana County’s Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution in STRONG support of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The move was directly aimed at sending a clear message to those in Washington calling for a reduction in the sizes of national monuments.
Residents in Dona Ana County will, once again, have to respond to this call of action RIGHT NOW to oppose lone Republican commissioner Ben Rawson’s call to support Trump’s “review” process. There’s also a counter resolution being presented supporting the monument AS IS and commissioners will have to vote on one or the other.
Just one day after Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told a Senate committee that he had not yet decided whether he would shrink New Mexico’s national monuments, Steve Pearce demanded that Zinke shrink Doña Ana County’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument by an astounding 88% to accommodate just 800 businesses and individuals in the district of more than 606,000 people. From Michael Coleman in the Albuquerque Journal’s Washington Bureau:
WASHINGTON – A day after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he might not alter the size of two of New Mexico’s newest monuments, Rep. Steve Pearce implored him to dramatically shrink the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in his southern district. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
At a Senate hearing Wednesday, Zinke, who is reviewing more than two dozen national monuments for possible reductions in size, said he was open to keeping New Mexico’s newest monuments unchanged. “If it’s settled and people are happy with it, I find no reason to recommend any changes,” Zinke said. But at a House hearing to consider the Interior Department’s budget Thursday, Pearce said that’s not the case.
ProgressNow New Mexico EF (501c3) has released a video ad featuring City of Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima that calls on Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-2) to step up for his constituents and represent their interests in Congress and supporting renewable energy policies.
New Mexico’s public lands are in danger. The Trump administration seems to believe these culturally rich pieces of land are commodities rather than treasures. Senator Martin Heinrich strongly disagrees.
That’s right, Congressman Steve Pearce’s Political Action Committee, GOALWest, sent out these pandering mailers to Las Cruces voters in advance of today’s Soil and Water Conservation District election.
President Trump just announced a plan to “reevaluate” Obama-era national monuments and Congressional Republicans are working with Scott Pruitt to give oil and gas companies “more input” on rules governing our clean air and water. Across the country, and especially here in New Mexico, local leaders are holding the line and the next fight is coming to the ballot box in Dona Ana County NEXT TUESDAY. Our ProgressiveChampions PAC is working to put two progressive conservation champions on this board but we need YOUR VOTE! Visit our Progressive Champions Voter Guide to find out more about them! In 2014, local Tea Party leaders noticed that almost no one votes in local Soil & Water Conservation District elections, so they ran their own candidates and won enough seats to change their work from conserving public lands and water to opposing it.
For communities around New Mexico, undoing the Antiquities Act or reducing our National Monuments is a troubling development in the ongoing effort to protect important cultural sites in areas in and around Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Taos and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Doña Ana County.