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New Mexico Wild Calls on President Trump to Stand with Voters Above Special Interests for New Mexico’s National Monuments

Monument recommendations would put important cultural and ecological resources at risk, and harm local economies

Albuquerque, NM—Yesterday, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendations to President Donald Trump concerning 27 National Monuments were leaked to the press. These were made pursuant to Trump’s April 2017 Executive Order which directed Zinke to review all National Monuments greater than 100,000 acres designated since 1996, and to make recommendations about whether to abolish or shrink them.

While this national monument review never should have been ordered, the fact that Department of Interior Secretary Zinke is not recommending boundary reductions for either Rio Grande del Norte or Organ Mountains Desert Peaks must be seen as a direct result of the overwhelming community support the administration heard from New Mexicans. 

Both monuments were created after a decades long public process and overwhelming community support by broad coalitions of diverse stakeholders.  They enjoy support from all local governments in their respective areas, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, businesses, sportsman’s organizations, faith leaders, veterans and recreational users. 

Zinke recommends opening the monuments to drilling, mining and logging – even going so far as to disingenuously claim they are “traditional uses” comparable to hunting and fishing or Native American sacred ceremonial sites.  These heavy commercial industrial activities would decimate the very cultural, historic and natural resource values that the monument designations intend to protect.

Zinke’s report based recommendations in part on claims that roads have been closed due to the Rio Grande del Norte designation and that grazing permittees have chosen not to renew their permits due to the monument.  These are patently false assertions as the Bureau of Land Management has confirmed.       

New Mexico Wild now calls on President Trump to side with the people and reject Secretary Zinke’s national monument recommendations.  “Now that his review has concluded that over 95% of the public opposes any changes or harm to these natural wonders, President Trump can choose to side with voters rather than the radical proposals of Congressman Steve Pearce, DC lobbyists, and special interests,” said Executive Director Mark Allison.

Any Presidential action that removes protections for the numerous historic, cultural, and ecological objects and resources will be met with immediate legal action by New Mexico Wild.

“The Antiquities Act has been an important conservation tool used by Presidents of both parties for over one hundred years.  New Mexico Wild is prepared to take legal action so that our monuments and the integrity of the Antiquities Act will endure beyond the cynical and short-sighted attacks of this administration.”

ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), grassroots, statewide, conservation organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. Founded 20 years ago, the organization is aligned with our nation’s landmark Wilderness Act of 1964 and is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting increasingly rare wild places within public lands. Just as freedom is every American’s birthright so too is Wilderness. We know they are inseparable. We hold this truth dearly as we preserve Wilderness from generation to generation for us, for all species and for its own sake.