Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hispanic leaders call for protection of public lands

Hispanic leaders from throughout the state have banded together to call for congressional leaders to enact federal legislation to protect public lands in southern New Mexico, such as the Organs; the Robledo Mountains, near Radium Springs; the Potrillo Mountains, and Sierra de las Uvas. Twenty-nine Hispanic leaders, including former governor Jerry Apodaca and former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid - both Las Cruces natives - have signed and sent a letter to Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, New Mexico Democrats, and Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., to support the proposed Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, introduced into the U.S. Senate last year...more

You can view the letter here.

The first thing you will notice is nowhere in the letter do they endorse or call on anyone "to support the proposed Dona Ana County Conservation and Protection Act."  The act is not mentioned.  Instead they call for the lands to be "protected", which can be done in several ways without designating them as wilderness.

The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces is listed twice as a signor of the letter. Once by John Munoz, as President, and again as the organization in general.  They have also endorsed the Bingaman bill which would designate 232,000 acres of Wilderness on or near our border.  One must continue to wonder why they take this position.

Government surveys demonstrate that only 3% of those visiting Wilderness areas are Hispanic and the most recent research finds that counties with the Wilderness designation had lower per capita income, lower total payroll, and lower total tax receipts than was the case before the designation was made.  So again one must ask:  Why does the Hispano Chamber support a land designation that is minimally used by the Hispanic population and that has a negative economic impact on our community?

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