Local Viewpoints
3:16 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Green Chamber Of Commerce Objects To Pearce Bill

Statement from the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

LAS CRUCES--- New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce has reintroduced controversial legislation to lessen current land protections in the Organ Mountains in exchange for a small National Monument. Below, community leaders have provided statements pointing out where Rep. Pearce's legislation (HR 995) falls well short of meeting community needs and goals. The statements also point to the unanimous resolutions that showcase how strong community support for the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is.

According to Congressman Pearce’s website, the purpose of this legislation, HR 995, is to preserve the ecological integrity, livestock, watershed and educational resources in the monument area.  You can find more information on the legislation at his website:   http://pearce.house.gov/organ-mountains.

The statements below reflect the various leaders and representatives from the community who do not support Congressman Pearce’s legislation and encourage the designation of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks as a National Monument. 

Wayne Hancock, Doña Ana County Commissioner & Sharon Thomas, Las Cruces Mayor Pro Tem

While we are glad to see that Rep. Pearce agrees that we should establish a National Monument in Doña Ana County, we are disappointed that he has once again chosen to ignore the wishes of the Doña Ana County Commission, and the cities of Las Cruces and Mesilla to establish a comprehensive Monument.  We have an historic opportunity to protect world class historical and cultural sites including the Buttefield Stagecoach Trail, Apollo Space Mission training sites, rare Native American petroglyphs, and incredible public lands included in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal. We continue to agree that this is the best path forward for Doña Ana County.

David Chavez, Mesquite Historic Preservation Society President

Rep. Steve Pearce’s legislation, HR 995, totally ignores our community’s rich cultural heritage and the potential to protect the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, and thousands of Native American sites in the Sierra de Las Uvas and Robledo Mountains. Why Congressman Pearce refuses to the see the value of this heritage—from both a cultural and economic perspective—is a mystery. We need serious leadership like the efforts of the Doña Ana County Commission, Las Cruces City Council, and Town of Mesilla, who all unanimously support the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Steve Pearce is out of step with his constituents, and I join others in asking that he rescind HR 995 and join in supporting the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Sanford Schemnitz, Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen Chairman

Doña Ana County sportsmen and recreationists treasure nearby public lands, particularly in the Sierra de las Uvas and Potrillo Mountains.  We have spent countless hours working with diverse community organizations on a comprehensive plan to protect areas most important to us and our way of life. Rep. Pearce's legislation, HR 995, completely misses the mark.  Local long time sportsmen organizations call on the President to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region by designating the community supported proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which will pass on a priceless legacy to future generations of Americans and sportsmen.

Renee Frank, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce President:

The Green Chamber of Commerce stands in strong support of the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.  Only this plan takes full advantage of the incredible historic sites and natural resources that we are blessed to have in Doña Ana County.  The community supported Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is a balanced effort that would boost our local economy and protect our treasured history. Studies have shown time and again that National Monuments create jobs for communities near them.   We will maximize our economic development potential by protecting all the areas included in the comprehensive Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal. Unfortunately, Congressman Steve Pearce’s HR 995 falls far short of what we can achieve through a comprehensive proposal.

For more information, please contact the Las Cruces Green Chamber at 575-323-1575 or visit www.organmountains.org.