Today Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell gave a speech on conservation at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The following is a statement from Sanders Moore, Environment New Mexico’s Director.
“Environment New Mexico thanks Secretary Jewell for publicly committing to ensure that our parks have the resource they need to stay open to the public and to stand up for and protect our pristine public landscapes that deserve protection.
“Our national parks and public lands are more popular than ever, with millions of Americans planning family vacations for this year and next summer to places from Carlsbad National Park to Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. We look forward to working hand in hand with Secretary Jewell to keep these popular places protected by restoring our national parks funding and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our nations’ premier conservation program. Additionally we look forward to ensuring special places here in New Mexico, which deserve similar protections to what our national parks and monuments enjoy today get the protection they need including Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.
“As advocates of our national parks and public lands, we’d love to see a Congress that’s more supportive of what the writer Wallace Stegner called “America’s best idea.” However, with logging, mining, drilling and development threatening to spoil some of our natural treasures we can’t afford to wait. We look forward to Secretary Jewell visiting some of our nation’s public lands ready for protection and hope she’ll start at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.
“Since World War II, every single Congress has added to our natural heritage by protecting more of our scenic, historic and cultural treasures. The 112th Congress failed to protect a single new acre of public land as a national park, monument, or wilderness area despite more than two dozen bills introduced in Congress which together would protect 4 million acres of public lands. That’s why we’re excited to work with President Obama and Secretary Sally Jewell to do everything in their power to protect and invest in New Mexico’s special places. As the Secretary said today, we hope that if Congress doesn’t act to protect these landscapes, the President will take action.
“In addition, as some of our most vital public lands are at risk from fracking, and as the Obama administration is considering a weak pending rule at the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management. We were encouraged to hear the Secretary say today that ‘some places are too special to develop.’ We hope that President Obama and Secretary Jewell will heed the call from New Mexicans, including those that contributed to more than 1 million public comments this summer, to strengthen their rule and keep dirty and dangerous oil and gas drilling out of our national forests and away from our national parks and special places."