FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Santa Fe, N.M. –
Today, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sent a report to the White House “outlining recommendations he made to the President on some national monument designat​ions under the Antiquities Act.” The final report changed only slightly from a report summary that was leaked in August. While the report does not recommend changes to the boundaries of New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments, the implication that potential changes in the management plan or proclamation could open protected land to destructive exploitation is of grave concern. In response, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) Political Director Ben Shelton released the following statement:

“President Trump’s illegal actions to shrink two vital national monuments in Utah – Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – is deeply troubling because of how deeply community and indigenous voices and values were represented in the process,” says Ben Shelton, CVNM Political Director. “The designation processes for New Mexico’s Organ-Mountains Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte national monuments were based on a similar model of how to build from the ground up by authentically engaging and organizing within communities to protect sacred sites and public land. Earlier this year, more than 2,500 Conservation Voters New Mexico members and supporters joined nearly 2.8 million people across the country in calling on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Trump to leave our monuments as they are. Zinke and Trump have chosen to continue to ignore the voice of the people in New Mexico and across the West. An attack on one monument is an attack on all our national monuments and New Mexicans won’t stand idly by and let the President threaten our public lands, no matter where they are.”

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Media Contact: Liliana Castillo at 505-992-8683 or liliana@cvnm.org