2018 State Legislator Monument Letter

May 2018

Ryan Zinke

Secretary, Department of Interior

1849 C St. NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

Re: National Monument Review

 

Dear Secretary Zinke,

 

In May 2017, you received a letter from New Mexico State Legislators during the comment period for the review of National Monuments per Executive Order 13792. That letter expressed the support of the signatories for leaving both Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments unchanged, and outlined how treasured they are to the people of New Mexico and to all Americans. Each is deeply valued for its outstanding recreational opportunities, scientific discoveries and cultural histories.

Our previous letter also noted the enormous economic benefits outdoor recreation brings to New Mexico. Now, one year later, those numbers have only grown. 2018 studies show that outdoor recreation provides New Mexico with 9.9 billion dollars a year in consumer spending, and is directly responsible for over 99,000 jobs in the state[1].

Annual voter survey continually show overwhelming support for public land protection in our state. In 2017, when asked specifically about National Monuments, 82% of New Mexicans supported keeping them completely intact[2]. This appears to have been an underestimate. During the comment period, your office received over 100,000 comments from New Mexicans, a higher per-capita commenting rate than any other state. 98% of comments on Rio Grande del Norte advocated for no changes to the Monument, as did 93% of comments on Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

While your report to President Trump did not recommend boundary changes to either Rio Grande del Norte or Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, it did recommend focusing management of those Monuments towards particular uses. We strongly oppose this recommendation. The original Proclamations establishing these two monuments already broadly allow for continued existing uses including hunting, grazing, and border patrol activities; new proclamations are unnecessary and would muddy the monuments’ future. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not begun the public process of developing a Management Plan for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, and is in mid-process for developing a Plan for Rio Grande del Norte. Please give these planning efforts a chance to work.

Your stated goals for Western land management have always been to listen to the public. The public has made its wishes for New Mexico’s Monuments very clear, as have many business owners, religious leaders, tribes, and local elected officials. We urge you to allow the BLM to develop the Monument Management Plans as indicated by the National Environmental Policy Act, Antiquities Act, and BLM guidance, without ordering that specific outcomes appear in a final plan. The local BLM offices, as well as the public, should be trusted to develop Monument Management Plans which protect their outstanding values, reflect the needs and wishes of the public, and address the uses outlined in the original Proclamations.

 

[1] https://outdoorindustry.org/press-release/outdoor-recreation-bolsters-new-mexicos-economy-9-9-billion-annually-consumers-spending-99000-jobs/

[2] https://coloradocollege.edu/other/stateoftherockies/conservationinthewest/2017/NewMexico_Info_17web.pdf

 

State Legislators who signed 2018 New Mexico National Monument letter

  1. Senator Howie Morales, Senate District 28
  2. Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, Senate District 15
  3. Representative Daymon Ely, House District 23
  4. Representative Linda Trujillo, House District 48
  5. Representative Liz Thompson, House District 24
  6. Representative Wonda Johnson, House District 5
  7. Representative Deborah Armstrong, House District 17
  8. Senator Michael Padilla, Senate District 14
  9. Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, House District 43
  10. Senator Carlos Cisneros, Senate District 6
  11. Senator Mimi Stewart, Senate District 17
  12. Senator Bill Soules, Senate District 37
  13. Representative Christine Trujillo, House District 25
  14. Senator Linda Lopez, Senate District 11
  15. Representative Sheryl Williams-Stapleton, House District 19
  16. Representative Joanne Ferrary, House District 37
  17. Representative Patricia Roybal-Caballero, House District 13
  18. Representative Tomas Salazar, House District 70
  19. Representative Gail Chasey, House District 18
  20. Senator Jacob Candelaria, Senate District 26
  21. Senator George Munoz, Senate District 4
  22. Representative Jim Trujillo, House District 45
  23. Representative Mo Maestas, House District 16
  24. Senator Peter Wirth, Senate District 25
  25. Senator Cisco McSorley, Senate District 16
  26. Representative Carl Trujillo, House District 46
  27. Representative Matt McQueen, House District 50
  28. Representative Anjelica Rubio, House District 35
  29. Senator Bill O’Neill, Senate District 13
  30. Senator John Sapien, Senate District 9
  31. Representative Derrick Lente, House District 65
  32. Representative Harry Garcia, House District 69
  33. Tomas Salazar (duplicate)
  34. Representative Rudy Martinez, House District 39
  35. Senator Nancy Rodriguez, Senate District 24
  36. Blank
  37. Representative Bill McCamley, House District 33

Organ Mountains N.M.