Thursday, March 20, 2014

Town hall pans proposed U.S. Senate legislation on Organ Mountains national monument

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's visit to Las Cruces earlier this year apparently sparked what turned out to be a standing-room-only public meeting Wednesday to talk about federal legislation that could lead to Organ Mountains, and possibly other peaks in Doña Ana County, being designated as a national monument. The auditorium at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum was filled to capacity and an overflow crowd of as many as 100 more spilled into the museum hallway to talk about markedly different pieces of legislation that have been introduced into the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, aimed at protecting the Organ Mountains. The town hall meeting was organized by Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., who is proposing the Organ Mountains National Monument Establishment Act to protect 54,800 acres in and near the Organs, east of Las Cruces. The Senate legislation, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, New Mexico Democrats, proposes to set aside 498,815 acres — including much the Organs and other undeveloped areas of the county — that would be designated as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. At the core of many of the concerns voiced at Wednesday's town hall was the vast difference in the size of a proposed national monuments. "I've been attending thse meetings for several years," said Las Crucen Ron Camunez, who was clear he doesn't support the Senate legislation. "I say it's time we stand up and say enough is enough. It's time we tell those in Washington (D.C.) to leave us alone and stop the grandstanding and lying to us. Let's stop this nonsense." Most of the comments at the meeting echoed much of the same sentiment. Mark Cox, whose family has owned and operated the Cox Ranch near White Sands Missile Range since 1893, said years of the U.S. government telling his family what they could and couldn't do on the family ranch — after the federal government acquired much of the family's ranchland to establish White Sands Proving Grounds in 1945 — has Cox skeptical about the Senate proposal...more

1 comment:

Hemingway said...

After one year Rio Grande del Norte National Monument brings economic benefits.