Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Advances Pecos Watershed Protection Act


The Pecos River, photo by Garrett VeneKlasen
By NM Wild Staff

In a promising move toward preserving the ecological integrity of the Upper Pecos River Watershed, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has voted 10-9 in favor of the Pecos Watershed Protection Act (S.3033). This critical legislation, led by Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, marks another significant step in the ongoing efforts of Pueblos, state leaders, activists, and conservation groups working to protect the Pecos.

The Pecos Watershed Act aims to prevent future mining contamination and to protect water quality and community health through a mineral withdrawal of approximately 165,000 acres of the Upper Pecos Watershed near Pecos, New Mexico. The legislation would also designate approximately 11,599 acres of wild and rugged National Forest lands, encompassing several headwaters of the Pecos River, as the Thompson Peak Wilderness Area.

Senator Martin Heinrich, a sponsor of the Pecos Watershed Protection Act and a strong figure on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has played a pivotal role in advancing this essential bill. His is unwavering commitment to environmental preservation and adept leadership within the committee are commendable. We also extend appreciation to Senator Ben Ray Luján, a co-sponsor of the legislation, for his steadfast support and dedication to protecting the Pecos by championing the Upper Pecos Watershed Act.

The urgency to secure mineral withdrawal in the Upper Pecos Watershed is more critical than ever. Now is the time to permanently protect the Pecos from mining and secure a clean and preserved watershed for generations to come.

Learn more here.