NEW MEXICO (STATEWIDE) – The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is running full-page newspaper ads across New Mexico this week to continue to raise public awareness around Representative Steve Pearce’s record on public lands. Our new ad, co-signed by Vet Voice Foundation and Hispanic Access Foundation, educates New Mexicans on Representative Pearce’s recent vote for H.R. 3990, which would undermine and weaken the Antiquities Act.
H.R. 3990 would seriously limit the authority of presidents to use the Antiquities Act to designate existing public lands as national monuments in several ways. It would drastically narrow the definition of what can be protected under the act, ruling out considerations for science, geography, wildlife, and other natural objects. It would also add arbitrary acreage limits on the size of monuments and prohibit national monuments that protect marine areas. Perhaps most distressing, H.R. 3990 would give presidents the authority to single-handedly erase large portions of existing monuments.
Thanks to the Antiquities Act, national icons like the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Grand Tetons along with many New Mexico treasures are protected today for present and future generations to enjoy. But if HR 3990 was law at the time these monuments were designated, their protection may have never been achieved. If this bill were to become law, national monuments in New Mexico such as Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Rio Grande del Norte, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks could be stripped of monument protection in the blink of an eye.
Time and time again, Representative Pearce has voted and proposed policies to reduce protections for public lands highly valued by New Mexicans and to make it easier for public lands to pass from the public to private interests. Pearce also urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reduce the size of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument by 88 percent. Earlier this month, Pearce co-authored a letter to President Trump, filled with glaring inaccuracies and misleading statements, urging Trump to abolish or shrink Rio Grande del Norte, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, and 20 other treasured national monuments across our nation. He also has supported proposals to remove protection from millions of acres of other public lands and to turn over public lands to western states who would restrict public access – making it harder for hunters, anglers, veterans, families, and others to recreate on public lands.
The newspaper ads are appearing from November 19 through November 26 in the Albuquerque Alibi, Las Cruces Sun-News, Rio Rancho Observer, Roswell Daily Record, Santa Fe New Mexican, and Valencia County News Bulletin. The ad will run one time in each paper. These ads follow the New Mexico Wildlife Federation’s “Step Up Steve” billboards, radio ads, and video ad that aired starting this past June calling for Rep. Pearce to “Step Up” and protect public lands.
“Sixteen Presidents, 8 Republican and 8 Democrat, have used the Antiquities Act to protect some of our nation’s most important historic, cultural, and natural resources as national monuments so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy them as we can today. But Representative Steve Pearce apparently wants to undo this legacy and undermine our outdoor heritage,” said Todd Leahy, New Mexico Wildlife Federation Deputy Director. “We are compelled to educate the public about Representative Pearce’s disappointing record on public lands. Representative Pearce’s claims that he is an advocate for public lands are at odds with his voting record. The reality is he often votes directly against protection and what the vast majority of New Mexicans want.”
“We have a moral obligation to protect our outdoor heritage, to protect our national monuments and preserve them as a legacy for future generations. But Representative Pearce seems determined to reduce America’s national monuments and to limit and make very difficult for presidents to designate new monuments,” said Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “These monuments were established to represent and celebrate amazing natural and historic resources, including unique wildlife, Native American sacred sites, unsurpassed scenery and geologic wonders. Representative Pearce’s support for H.R. 3990 could lead to the destruction of Native American archaeological sites, lost opportunities for hunting and fishing, and economic harm to local businesses.”
“Our nation’s veterans have stood up for the Antiquities Act and the national monuments that past presidents have established under its authority. Some monuments protect important military history sites, such as Fort Ord in California and Fort Monroe in Virginia. Others protect pristine areas for wildlife, archaeology, recreation, and spending time with our families, such as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte,” said Garett Reppenhagen, Rocky Mountain Director for Vet Voice Foundation. “They all are part of the public lands legacy that veterans fought for while in service to our country. We hope that Congressman Pearce will heed the message from veterans that we want him to do a better job protecting our public lands.”
As organizations that works to engage more people civically, it is important to us that New Mexicans know how Steve Pearce votes so that they can ask him to do better. For more information and to take action, visit www.StepUpSteve.org. Included on this website is a letter from 686 New Mexicans sent to Steve Pearce last week outlining concrete actions that Steve Pearce can take to improve his record on public lands.
The newspaper ads can be viewed online at https://stepupsteve.com/2017/11/17/nmwf-full-page-ad.