Senators Announce Wilderness Protection Plan

Las Cruces – Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall have introduced legislation designed to protect the scenic landscapes of the Organ Mountains in Dona Ana County.

The bill, called the Organ Mountains -Desert Peaks Wilderness Act, would create wilderness and conservation areas that would provide for continued public use while protecting the area.

Specifically, the legislation would create 259,000 acres of wilderness and 100,000 acres of National Conservation Area.

The bill would also release more than 16 thousand acres along the southern border that had previously been designated as a so-called "Wilderness Study Area". This would provide increased flexibility for border law enforcement.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Bingaman chairs. Bingaman plans to schedule a hearing on the bill this fall.