FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2021

NEW MEXICO CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS CELEBRATE PRESIDENT BIDEN’S BOLD EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO REFORM OIL AND GAS LEASING ON PUBLIC LANDS AND SET A NATIONAL 30X30 STANDARD

Administration Promises to Safeguard 30% of the Nation’s Land and Water by 2030 and Pause New Oil and Gas Leasing on Public Lands,
Aggressively Addressing our Nature and Climate Crises

 

NEW MEXICO – The Biden-Harris Administration has made clear that conserving land, water and wildlife for future generations is an absolute priority. Starting with the Inauguration Day announcement to review boundaries of national monuments downsized by former President Trump, to today’s executive order to save taxpayer money and our environment by fixing our broken federal oil and gas leasing program, to the nomination of environmental leader Rep. Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary, President Biden is quickly re-establishing the country as a global leader in conserving nature and fighting the climate crisis.

The nature crisis and the climate crisis are inextricably linked. Conserving our land and water, and at the same time supporting communities in the necessary and inevitable transition away from dependence on fossil fuels, are priorities that the previous administration not only ignored, but moved backwards on.

President Biden’s federal moratorium on new oil and gas development on public lands is the first such action in over 40 years. Combined with the commitment to 30×30, the bold executive  demonstrates a deep dedication to not only the environment, but to Tribal Nations, sportsmen and sportswomen and the growing outdoor recreation industry, and everyday New Mexican’s who rely on public lands for their livelihoods.

Jesse Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said:

“We are too great a nation to be willing to sacrifice our culturally important areas and national monuments merely to provide short-term profits for private industry. There are places where energy development is necessary and appropriate. But we also have an obligation to protect those other places where development is clearly the wrong thing to do. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is also pleased to see President Biden’s executive order moving to protect Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and other critical areas.”

Greg Peters, Public Lands & Wildlife Advocate for Conservation Voters New Mexico, said:

“President Biden’s commitment to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 is an ambitious and visionary goal that will help slow the loss of nature, ameliorate the impacts of climate change, strengthen sustainable rural economies, and ensure all Americans — no matter their economic status, race, or ethnicity — have access to the natural world. As these 30×30 policies are considered by federal policy makers and neighboring states, New Mexico can become a national leader in this effort by creating a uniquely New Mexican roadmap to protecting our lands, waters, wildlife, and cultural heritage for future generations. We thank the Biden Administration, Secretary of the Interior nominee Deb Haaland, and New Mexico’s congressional delegation for their leadership in tackling the ecosystem crisis.”

Patrick Nolan, Executive Director Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks:

“30 x 30 represents the bold and innovative thinking we need to address the climate crisis that is here already and impacting communities on a daily basis. As leaders in the conservation movement, we have a responsibility to push for science driven solutions like 30 x 30. Our protected public lands are the legacy we pass on to future generations. We need to do everything we can do now to ensure these places are not damaged by extractive industry. The public lands legacy we pass on needs to reflect the best of us and we can do that by leading efforts to protect them.”

Carrie Hamblen, CEO/President, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

“The commitment to protecting our public lands while recognizing the damaging impact extraction industries have on communities is a welcome step that has not been seen for the last four years.  Local communities benefit from the outdoor recreation industry by creating jobs, hotel stays, and meals in restaurants. Restoring the boundaries of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Escalante, and other areas will be critical to resuscitating the economies in those communities, getting people back to work, and protecting the spaces and landscapes we love and value.”

Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild said:

“It is with a profound sense of relief and hope for the future of planet earth and all its inhabitants that we welcome and celebrate President Biden’s actions overturning the disastrous and cynical attacks on the environment and our shared public lands that occurred over the last four years.  To have any chance of mitigating the challenges of climate change, mass species extinction, and issues of environmental justice, equity, and access, it will take all of us working together.  New Mexicans know that our natural heritage and our cultural heritage are inseparable and that it is the responsibility of everyone to do what we can on behalf of future generations. New Mexicans are ready and eager to be part of the solution.”

Angel Peña, Executive Director of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, said:

“Public lands and waters are often seen as a defining feature of New Mexico’s shared heritage and character. However, throughout our history, racism, exclusion, oppression, and injustices have traditionally shaped the operations and policies of land management agencies and created barriers to access and public participation. This new administration’s 30 x 30 vision represents a bold way of thinking that helps address the nature crisis that has already disproportionately impacted Latino, Hispano, and Indigenous communities in New Mexico.”

Teresa Martinez, Executive Director for the Continental Divide Trail, said:

“These actions are a firm and decisive step toward a healthier environment and improved access to our nation’s special places, like the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) for all Americans. Outdoor recreation drives significant commerce, especially in the West, and ensuring that our special and scenic places, especially those along the Continental Divide remain intact and protected from future development is critical to ensuring their existence for lovers of our wild places. The livelihood of local communities and businesses that rely on outdoors tourism, including gateway communities along the Continental Divide Trail, requires investment by the administration in the outdoor recreation economy over oil and gas development. The President’s directives are a wonderful indication that this investment is important and crucial to building new, robust and sustainable economies for our communities.”