Monday, March 17, 2014

Rep. Steve Pearce: Our Community, Our Heritage, Our Voice on national monument

I'd like to invite you to join me in a conversation about the Organ Mountains at 6 p.m. this Wednesday at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. As you may know, there are very different proposals relating to the Organs. Some were written here in New Mexico, by New Mexicans, and some were written in Washington by radical special interests. Some are about protecting our heritage and respecting the needs of the community, while others will have a devastating impact on Doña Ana County. Each time I see the Organ Mountains, I am inspired by their beauty and grandeur. That's why I introduced H.R. 995 to preserve this treasured landmark as a national monument for generations to come. The monument will forever be a part of the National Landscape Conservation System. Recreation will be protected — the bill was written by local people who explore and enjoy the rugged beauty of the Organs. In my bill, mineral exploration will be banned, watersheds will be preserved, plans are made ahead of time to protect water conservation, dams, and other vital water projects, and law enforcement will be guaranteed access to protect our communities. Motorized vehicle use will be carefully prescribed in consideration of the environment, while promoting access thorough designated roads, so that all can enjoy the Organs. Access for hunters is protected, so that responsible game management can continue. The needs of the community are carefully balanced with the goal of responsible conservation. This bill has been a years-long process involving New Mexico ranchers, conservationists, public officials, business owners and interested citizens in a common purpose. It is a local solution. Tragically, all of this local effort is at risk of coming to nothing. An executive order from Washington would steamroll the careful efforts made by local residents. In contrast to the balanced approach created through the input of people throughout the county, the White House proposal takes away our voice. It tightens Washington's grasp over a fifth of Doña Ana County, restricts access to our land, and closes the discussion permanently...more

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