The Obama administration is set to designate a 600,000 acre national monument in south-central New Mexico to be managed and controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency. The designated land will be called the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and environmentalists have long-sought the designation.
Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, the chairman of a key subcommittee, blasted the plan in a letter Monday, saying it would allow the region to become an unfettered drug corridoor.
"National Parks, monuments, and wilderness areas along our southern border have become prime drug-trafficking corridors for violent criminals and drug cartels. Restrictive environmental laws within these federal corridors limit Border Patrol access and, as a result, make it easier for drug smugglers and human traffickers to move their drugs and people in and out of the United States unnoticed," Bishop, who is chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee on the House Natural Resources committee, wrote.
Melissa Subbotin, the Communications Director for Rep. Bishop, told Breitbart News that Obama appears likely to bypass the Senate and Congress by creating the monument under the Antiquities Act.
"The Antiquities Act is a tool for presidents to lock up land," Subbotin told Breitbart News.
"Environmentalists have had their eye on this specific land for a long time--they think that Border Patrol is destroying the landscape by driving vehicles on it. But it's often individuals involved in the drug trade who are littering the area and making fire bombs."
She added that ultimately, it will be up to the Obama Administration to decide if Border Patrol agents are able to access the land with vehicles. "In some national monuments, no vehicle traffic is allowed," Subbotin said. "Making this a new national monument will impede Border Patrol's ability to have routine access to the land."
Interfering with Border Patrol's access to highly trafficked land will likely "create a new criminal corridor," Subbotin said.
Zack Taylor, the Chairman & Border Security Expert of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart News the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument "is the biggest breach of border security i have seen in the lat 20 years. The people don't want it, and the sheriff doesn't want it. It is an open invitation for the foreign drug cartels and transnational criminals to bring their illegal drugs and aliens into the U.S."