Congressman Steve Pearce opposes President Barack Obama’s use of executive powers under the Antiquities Act to designate one-fifth of Doña Ana County to create a new national monument.
“President Obama’s announcement today that he will establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument flies in the face of the democratic process,” said Congressman Steve Pearce. “This single action has erased six years of work undertaken by Doña Ana County ranchers, business owners, conservationists, sportsmen, officials and myself to develop a collaborative plan for the Organ Mountains that would have preserved the natural resource, and still provided future economic opportunities.
“The President’s reckless use of his executive powers also takes away assurances of border security for county residents, soil and water conservation, hunting and motorized vehicle access,” Pearce continued. “I was elected to represent the people of Southern New Mexico, and President Obama ignored the people of Southern New Mexico with the stroke of a pen.”
Congressman Pearce has always supported a permanent solution to protect the Organ Mountains. Pearce introduced H.R. 995 in March 2013 to establish the Organ Mountains National Monument. The bill would have protected the rights of ranchers, hunters and law enforcement to access the monument. It would permanently withdraw 54,800 acres of the land from mineral exploration, and ensure that new roads would not be constructed without the consent of the Interior Secretary. It also guaranteed that flood control structures could be repaired when necessary.
President Obama will instead use the Antiquities Act to bypass Congress and establish half a million acres of land in Doña Ana County as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The Antiquities Act states that the President must only use this power to declare monuments within “the smallest area compatible.”