Santa Fe, N.M. – The Washington Post recently obtained and released a copy of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s report to the White House concerning the fate of ten national monuments across the country.
In response, Conservation Voters New Mexico Executive Director Demis Foster released the following statement:
“It is a relief to see that Sec. Zinke did not recommend changing the boundaries of either Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks or Rio Grande del Norte national monuments here in New Mexico. However, the report alludes to changes in the proclamations concerning the management of both monuments which are deeply troubling,” said Demis Foster, Executive Director or Conservation Voters New Mexico. “Both national monument proclamations were created after detailed consultation with local communities and tribal representatives in order to protect important archeological and cultural sites and irreplaceable lands and wildlife. In addition, 82% of New Mexicans support keeping our national monuments just the way they are. They must not be altered to allow exploitation by mining, logging or other special interests.”
“Earlier this year, more than 2500 Conservation Voters New Mexico members joined nearly 2.8 million people across the country in calling on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to keep our national monuments as they are,” added Foster. “It appears Sec. Zinke is ignoring the will of the people by abolishing key protections for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte national monuments.”
“Not only is it important to protect these lands and keep them public, our national monuments are critical to the economy of rural communities in New Mexico,” added Foster. “In New Mexico alone, the Outdoor Industry Association estimates the annual economic impact of outdoor recreation is $9.9 billion in consumer spending, plus $2.8 billion in wages and salaries; $623 million in state and local tax revenue; and 99,000 jobs. It couldn’t be clearer – monument status does more than protect the land; it also supports local jobs and economies.”