For immediate release
ALBUQUERQUE: On January 9th, Congress will hold a hearing on HR 4532, which would make permanent President Donald Trump’s illegal repeal of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Utah. The newest member of Utah’s congressional delegation, Rep. John Curtis, introduced the bill which would repeal Bears Ears National Monument and replace it with two significantly diminished landscapes: the 142,337-acre Shash Jáa National Monument, and the 86,447-acre Indian Creek National Monument. These new boundaries exclude 83 percent of lands protected in the original Bears Ears National Monument.
Today, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation calls on our delegation in New Mexico – especially Representative Steve Pearce, who is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee that will hold the hearing about HR 4532 – to stand up for our monuments across the country and speak out against this bill. Congressman Pearce often claims he is a proponent of public lands, but his actions and votes tell the real story. He advocated for the reduction of our own Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments here in New Mexico, and has voiced his support for the reduction of Bears Ears in the past as well. If Congressman Pearce is really an advocate for our public lands, he will voice his opposition to this bill.
“Public lands, no matter which state they lie in, belong to all Americans,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation Acting Executive Director Todd Leahy. “The national monuments of Utah are to be enjoyed by citizens in New Mexico and across the country. That’s why it’s important for our elected officials to fight for public lands in every state, not just our own. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation hopes that Congressman Pearce will do the right thing, and speak out against this bill that threatens our public lands.”
“Reducing protection of the Bears Ears region will not only reap tragic consequences for the land and the wildlife, but that effort overflows with racism. I hope to lend my voice to the voices of the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Ute Indian Tribe who are being ignored. Bears Ears National Monument has so much more to offer generations to come. Protecting these sacred lands will allow ones following us to learn from them, to be healed by them, and to reap their abundant blessings,” said Rev. Dr. William M. Lyons, Southwest Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ.
Now is the time to stand up against this unprecedented attack on our public lands.