July 17, 2018
Today, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Congressman Ben Ray Luján along with more than 60 cosponsors introduced the America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018 aimed at protecting our national monuments and wilderness areas. At a time when our public lands are facing unprecedented attacks, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation applauds Representatives Lujan Grisham and Luján for their leadership in fighting for our monuments.
Last summer Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (OMDP) and Rio Grande del Norte (RGDN) National Monuments avoided an acreage reduction during the Interior Department’s “review” of 27 national monuments. Others were not so lucky. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were reduced and their vacated acreage opened up to extractive industries. At others, including those in New Mexico, management changes were recommended leaving both our monuments – and others across the country – vulnerable. Today’s introduction of the Antiquities Act 2018 is an important step in fully protecting these monuments that belong to all Americans.
“Every time this administration attacks our public lands, New Mexicans have joined Americans across the country in fighting back,” said Todd Leahy New Mexico Wildlife Federation Acting Executive Director. “Over and over again we’ve heard the same thing – New Mexicans want national monuments to stay protected as they are. With this legislation today, Representatives Lujan Grisham and Luján are protecting our culture, economy, and outdoor opportunities for future generations.”
Today’s legislation follows an identical Senate version introduced by Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich in January. Once again, the majority of the New Mexico delegation has shown its commitment to public lands.
Our national monuments not only protect our natural resources and history, but they also provide a huge benefit to the national economy. In New Mexico alone since the designation of OMDP and RGDN in 2013 and 2014 visitation is up leading to an increase in local tax revenues and support for local businesses. Across the state, outdoor recreation generates 9.9 billion dollars a year and is directly responsible for over 99,000 jobs.
We encourage all Americans to show their support for this bill by contacting your representative today and asking time to stand up for public lands.