FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2017
New Mexico leaders call on Interior Secretary Zinke to support and protect public lands, national monuments
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America RV road tour stopped in Albuquerque today, where leaders urged President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop the assault on popular national monuments that boost local economies.
During a press briefing at Tiguex Park, business leaders, outdoor advocates and elected officials discussed how national monuments and other protected public lands help create jobs, support the local economy and define the West’s outdoor way of life.
Lucy Livesay, Center for Western Priorities:
“Our parks and public lands, particularly national monuments, are a testament to our history and culture. They form the very fabric of our Western way of life. Eliminating national monuments sends us down an unprecedented path that puts all of our treasured outdoor spaces at risk. We are calling on President Trump and Secretary Zinke to respect America’s public lands and let our national monuments stand.”
Greg Bloom, State Director, office of U.S. Senator Tom Udall:
“Our national monuments are treasured by New Mexicans and all Americans. They hold enormous significance for Tribes, and help fuel New Mexico’s growing outdoor recreation industry. If President Trump and Secretary Zinke attempt to eliminate or shrink national monuments in New Mexico, Senator Udall will fight them every step of the way.”
Chris Lang, founder, Organ Mountain Outfitters:
“Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has been a boon to Do√±a Ana County. Visitors spend money at our hotels, restaurants and other businesses. I have seen firsthand the economic benefits our region has received since the monument’s designation through the founding of my own business, Organ Mountain Outfitters.”
Kent Salazar, advisory board member at HECHO and Western Vice Chair at the National Wildlife Federation:
“Rio Grande del Norte is a crown jewel that highlights New Mexico’s natural and cultural heritage. We’ve been working on protecting it for 15 years. Hunters, anglers, rancher and businesses support the monument, which ensures it will be preserved for generations to come. The Trump administration should keep it the way it is.”
Gabe Vasquez, southern New Mexico coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and New Mexico coordinator for Latino Outdoors:
“Our public lands belong to all Americans, not just oil and gas companies and wealthy citizens who would rather them be private playgrounds. That’s why Las Crucens overwhelmingly support the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Our community is seeing the benefits of this national monument and we want President Trump and Secretary to hear this message loud and clear: our heritage and our land is not for sale.”
John Olivas, Owner, JACO Outfitters:
“I grew up hunting and fishing on public lands across New Mexico. Now, national monuments like Rio Grande del Norte will ensure future generations will have the same opportunities that I’ve had. We must protect these monuments, which not only protect our clean air and water, but honor the generations that have come before us.”
In late April, President Trump issued an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to review 27 national monuments protected over the last 21 years. Every indication from President Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and politicians close to them is that the outcome is preordained and review will lead to attempts to shrink or eliminate national monuments. Rolling back national monument protections through executive action is an unprecedented, and likely illegal, move that puts all of America’s protected lands, parks, forests and monuments at risk.
The Center for Western Priorities recently conducted an analysis of public comments submitted to the Department of Interior and found 98 percent expressed support for keeping or expanding the national monument under review.
Two of New Mexico’s national monuments are among the 27 monuments threatened under President Trump’s executive order.
Organ Mountains‚ÄìDesert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces includes numerous archaeological and historical sites, including the volcanic field where American astronauts practiced for the moon landing.
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in Taos County includes portions of several volcanic peaks on the Taos Plateau, then descends into the Rio Grande valley, where rafting and boating are popular activities that drive a thriving outdoor recreation economy.
The Center for Western Priorities’ Monuments to America tour is a six-state RV road-trip highlighting national monuments across the West that are threatened by President Trump’s executive order. The tour, featuring a wrapped RV and oversized inflatable State of Liberty, will conclude at the final Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. Outdoor Retailer is leaving Salt Lake City for Denver after 20 years in protest of Utah politicians’ anti-public lands agenda.
This spring, the Center for Western Priorities launched a multi-state ad campaign encouraging national leaders to respect the heritage and history of America’s national monuments.
Broadcast and print-quality photos, video and audio of the press conference will be available this afternoon at bit.ly/monumentsmedia.