Commentary: LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Wildlife Federation announces the release of radio advertisements holding Congressman Steve Pearce and Governor Susana Martinez accountable for their positions that put the protection and ownership of our public lands at risk. The ads are running statewide.
Earlier this week, we learned that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended changing the management of Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments – despite overwhelming support from New Mexicans to keep them as they are. These management changes could lead to logging, oil and gas development, or mining in the monuments, seriously damaging the natural and cultural resources the monument was designated to protect.
During the review period, Congressman Pearce and Governor Martinez reached out to Secretary Zinke to encourage his review of the monuments, endorse a drastic reduction of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, and provide misleading or inaccurate information to support their positions. Since President Trump has yet to act on Zinke’s recommendations, the possibility still exists that monument boundaries may be redrawn, thus removing an important designation that makes it harder for public lands to be disposed of and privatized.
“It seems like every time a politician gets involved in the public lands debate, sportsmen are the ones who end up losing,” said Mark Pantuso, a Roswell area hunter. “My son is a corporal in the army and I’m fighting for public lands so he can have the hunting experiences I had, but we keep losing.”
“New Mexicans were clear – hands off our monuments,” said Gabriel Vasquez, Southern New Mexico Coordinator at the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Yet here are our elected officials going against the explicit will of the people they’re supposed to be representing. The ads beginning today speak for many New Mexicans who are fed up with Congressman Pearce and Governor Martinez’ failed leadership.”