FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM, July 17, 2018 - New Mexico Wild applauded today’s introduction of the America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States Act of 2018 (“The ANTIQUITIES Act” of 2018) in the United States House of Representatives by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D- CD1, NM) and Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-CD3, NM) along with 63 co-sponsors. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) sponsored and introduced the bill and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) co-sponsored the legislation in the US Senate in January.
This bill would legislatively protect 51 national monuments that were designated by executive authority dating back to 1996, including those threatened by President Trump’s national monument review.
New Mexico Wild has asserted that a president does not have the authority to rescind, harm, or amend previous presidential proclamations made under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Last year, New Mexico Wild announced its intention to bring legal action against President Trump if either of New Mexico’s national monuments named in the review, Rio Grande del Norte (RGDN) or Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (OMDP), were harmed. New Mexico Wild is filing an amicus brief in solidarity with the All Pueblo Council of Governors for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which President Trump shrunk by 85 percent in December.
While New Mexico Wild stands ready to take additional legal action if necessary, we praise Congresswoman Lujan-Grisham’s and Congressman Luján’s leadership in taking steps to safeguard these national monuments, including expanding protections for the Bears Ears National Monument. Moreover, New Mexico Wild and our thousands of supporters throughout the state are elated that the bill would designate over 249,000 acres of federal public lands in New Mexico as Wilderness, consisting of lands within the RGDN and OMDP national monuments.
“These areas have a special place in the hearts of New Mexicans and this legislation recognizes the desire to keep them wild and free for this and all future generations,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. “New Mexicans are rightly proud of the importance of these areas to our natural and cultural heritage.”
Designated in 2013 and 2014 respectively, both RGDN and OMDP enjoy overwhelming community support from diverse coalitions of business owners, sportsmen, tribal leaders, local and elected officials, faith leaders, and the general public. During the recent comment period for the Department of Interior national monument review process, New Mexico had the most comments submitted per capita of any state, with nearly 98 percent of those for RGDN and 93 percent of the comments received for OMDP wanting no changes. New Mexicans support protection of these areas as sources of clean water; areas to practice traditional uses such as hunting, fishing, and as ceremonial sites; places to recreate; and for the health of New Mexico’s economy.
“This bill recognizes and responds to the extreme attacks President Trump has leveled against the nation’s bedrock conservation laws, our national monuments, and public lands in general,” said Allison. “Congresswoman Lujan-Grisham and Congressman Luján are demonstrating the vision and leadership to go to bat for New Mexicans and protect the Land of Enchantment. They are doing what we all want the rest of congress to be doing – offering solutions.”
ABOUT NEW MEXICO WILD: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance or “New Mexico Wild” is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), grassroots conservation organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. Founded 21 years ago with staff and supporters throughout the state, 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.