Confirming what many Americans have already suspected, it has now come to light that the Interior Department review of national monuments was not based on evidence or public input. The review, which included 27 national monuments across the country, dismissed evidence that public lands increase tourism and support archaeological discoveries. In fact, a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the report was tailored to emphasize the value of logging, ranching, and energy development that would benefit from access to national monuments.
As sportsmen and women who hunt and fish on these national monuments and public lands, we call on the Interior Department to acknowledge and embrace the multitude of economic options that public lands provide – not just extractive industries. Public lands increase tourism, support local economies, and tell the story of our shared heritage. Collaboration is key to protecting and utilizing our public lands moving forward, completely dismissing entire aspects of the benefits of our public lands is unacceptable and dishonest to the American public.
We call on the administration to stop any and all leasing related to the national monuments that were reviewed until a thorough investigation has been conducted. The public deserves transparency and honesty around how their public lands are being managed.
Acting Executive Director
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
Oscar Simpson, Chair
New Mexico Sportsmen
Access New Mexico
Director, Conservation Partnerships
National Wildlife Federation