Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pearce Statement on Interior Appropriations Bill (wolves & mice)

Washington, DC (July 14, 2016) - Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5538, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017: 

This Administration’s consistent overreach has does nothing but hurt New Mexico’s economy.  Passing this bill is clear evidence that the people’s Congress is pushing back against the Obama Administration’s excessive and unnecessary regulations that threaten New Mexican jobs. This bill balances the need to preserve our natural resources, such as providing funding to fight and prevent forest fires, while simultaneously allowing for the responsible development of American energy resources.  

I am pleased to see key provisions vital to New Mexico were included in this bill.  For example, President Obama is trying to take control of ditches and farm ponds through the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.  This bill stops him. The legislation also includes amendments that would block the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) venting and flaring rule and the BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing rule, which would both be devastating to New Mexico energy production and jobs.  These provisions will help lower energy prices, meaning New Mexicans will not have to pay more for their electricity and at the gas pump.  They also will ensure that schools, local law enforcement, and hospitals have the funding they need to provide essential services for local communities.

“Overall, this bill will support local economies and start to make government agencies work for the American people not against them,” said Congressman Pearce.

Included in the final House passed version of the bill are both of Congressman Pearce’s amendments that are significant for New Mexico’s economy. 

The first would protect ranchers’ water rights in New Mexico by prohibiting funds from being used to treat the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse as endangered pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.  Essentially, this means the government would no longer be able to construct fences around the mouse’s habitat, ultimately opening up water access for cattle. 

Access to these water rights is essential for the survival of ranching in New Mexico.  Despite the lack of scientific evidence that the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse still lives in these designated areas, the Forest Service began fencing off and restricting access to these privately held water rights, threatening these ranchers’ livelihoods,” continued Pearce.  

The second amendment effectively de-lists the Mexican Wolf from the Endangered Species Act and will allow the states to manage the wolf recovery independently. 

“FWS has consistently proven its inability to manage the Mexican Wolf program in New Mexico. This is clear in the recent Inspector General (IG) Report substantiating claims from Catron County that those at the top levels of the program at FWS tolerated a culture of lies, falsification, mismanagement, and manipulation of scientific data, ultimately at the cost of public trust and species recovery.  I am pleased that the House passed this amendment, it is time to give this program back to the States,”  added Pearce.   

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