WASHINGTON, D.C. — Staffers from the New Mexico Wildlife Federation traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby the U.S. House to pass the landmark public lands package that includes wilderness protections within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Río Grande del Norte National Monuments.
The package also includes permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund was established in the 1960s and collects money from offshore energy production to fund land purchases for conservation around the country.
New Mexico Wildlife Federation Director Jesse Deubel thanked all three of New Mexico’s congressional representatives – Ben Ray Luján, Xochitl Torres Small, and Deb Haaland— for their votes in favor of the bill.
Deubel also expressed thanks to Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich who voted Feb. 12 to pass the legislation through the Senate.
The bill now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“This is the most important lands protection package to pass Congress in years,” Deubel said. “The New Mexico Wildlife Federation and its membership made their support known to the state’s delegation. We’re thrilled with the outcome and look forward to seeing this measure signed into law.”
Andrew Black and Jeremy Romero, New Mexico staffers who work with both the NMWF and National Wildlife Federation, met this week in Washington not only with members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation, but also with House Natural Resources Chairman Raul M. Grijalva, D-Arizona, and other key congressional players.
“The passing of the Natural Resources Management Act provides the assurance that future generations can continue to benefit from programs like LWCF, which play an important role in rural and local communities while also continuing to protect land, water, wildlife that is so important to our way of life,” Romero said.
Black, public lands field director for the National Wildlife Federation stated, “The passage of the public lands package is a historic win for New Mexico and for our nation. With 85% of U.S. House members voting in favor of this landmark legislation, America was reminded tonight that our public lands can truly unite the nation and bring people together.”