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2011

  • WASHINGTON— In a victory for imperiled species, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted not to include the “extinction rider” in an appropriations bill that would have stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act or to designate “critical habitat” for their survival. The House voted 224-202 in favor of an amendment from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) to strip the “extinction rider” from the Interior department’s appropriation bill.

    “The extinction rider would have been a disaster for hundreds of animals and plants across the country that desperately need the help of the Endangered Species Act to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Today’s vote is a promising sign for wolverines, walruses and species in all 50 states that, without help, face the very real prospect of extinction.”

    The vote comes as plants and animals across the country are at heightened risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, global climate change, extreme weather events and other factors. Earlier this month the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service reached a landmark agreement to speed protection for 757 imperiled U.S. species, including the wolverine, Pacific walrus, Rio Grand cutthroat trout and Mexican gray wolf. The passage of today’s bill would have delayed protection for those species and made their recovery more difficult.

    “While the vote on the extinction rider shows that the Endangered Species Act enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, the House is still threatening wide-spread environmental damage with other amendments to this spending bill,” Greenwald said. “We can’t allow these measures to move ahead that will pollute our air and water, threaten public health and destroy pristine landscapes.”

    Among the measures still under consideration in the House are those that would:
    * Stop more than 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon from being protected from new uranium mines;
    * Force the Environmental Protection Agency to stop all work limiting carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, refineries and other large pollution sources;
    * Halt efforts under the Clean Water Act from protecting human health and endangered species from pesticides;
    * Block EPA oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia;
    * Interfere with the Environmental Protect Agency’s work to protect the public from toxic coal ash;
    * Hinder the EPA’s and U.S. Corps of Engineers’ work to protect wetlands and other waters of the United States;
    * Expedite air-pollution permits for offshore drilling in the Arctic

    The full appropriations bill for the Interior department is expected to be voted on by the House in the coming days. If it passes, it moves to the Senate. Last week, the White House signaled plans to veto the spending bill because of amendments that threaten wildlife, the environment, and clean air and water.

    mexican wolf 9 FWS 250x165

  • WASHINGTON— In a victory for imperiled species, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted not to include the “extinction rider” in an appropriations bill that would have stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act or to designate “critical habitat” for their survival. The House voted 224-202 in favor of an amendment from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) to strip the “extinction rider” from the Interior department’s appropriation bill.

    “The extinction rider would have been a disaster for hundreds of animals and plants across the country that desperately need the help of the Endangered Species Act to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Today’s vote is a promising sign for wolverines, walruses and species in all 50 states that, without help, face the very real prospect of extinction.”

    The vote comes as plants and animals across the country are at heightened risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, global climate change, extreme weather events and other factors. Earlier this month the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service reached a landmark agreement to speed protection for 757 imperiled U.S. species, including the wolverine, Pacific walrus, Rio Grand cutthroat trout and Mexican gray wolf. The passage of today’s bill would have delayed protection for those species and made their recovery more difficult.

    “While the vote on the extinction rider shows that the Endangered Species Act enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, the House is still threatening wide-spread environmental damage with other amendments to this spending bill,” Greenwald said. “We can’t allow these measures to move ahead that will pollute our air and water, threaten public health and destroy pristine landscapes.”

    Among the measures still under consideration in the House are those that would:
    * Stop more than 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon from being protected from new uranium mines;
    * Force the Environmental Protection Agency to stop all work limiting carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, refineries and other large pollution sources;
    * Halt efforts under the Clean Water Act from protecting human health and endangered species from pesticides;
    * Block EPA oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia;
    * Interfere with the Environmental Protect Agency’s work to protect the public from toxic coal ash;
    * Hinder the EPA’s and U.S. Corps of Engineers’ work to protect wetlands and other waters of the United States;
    * Expedite air-pollution permits for offshore drilling in the Arctic

    The full appropriations bill for the Interior department is expected to be voted on by the House in the coming days. If it passes, it moves to the Senate. Last week, the White House signaled plans to veto the spending bill because of amendments that threaten wildlife, the environment, and clean air and water.

    mexican wolf 9 FWS 250x165

  • two prairie dogs

  • Howling Mad
    By Albuquerque Journal Staff on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 

    mother wolfEquivalent of Land Mines

    … MY FAMILY and I find the use of leg hold traps in wolf country to be appalling. We’ve lived and continue to live close to BLM lands, kept chickens, raised goats, sheep and pigs for a living and kept dogs. We had to have the legs of two dogs amputated because of leg-hold traps, had animals maimed by these traps die on our property, and have seen desiccated remains of animals in leg-hold traps in the wilderness.

    Leg-hold traps pose a significant risk to endangered Mexican gray wolves, and the decision by the New Mexico Game Commission to restore trapping in wolf country is recidivist and ill-informed. The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, as well as scientific and educated study groups, have shown that all predators, including the lobo wolves, are essential for western ecosystems. Large predators improve the rangeland by keeping the rodent, elk and deer population in check.

    It is unacceptable that a small group of individuals with personal and political agendas can claim to speak for the seven in 10 New Mexicans — as polls show — who support wolf reintroduction.

    MELODY MCCORMICK

    Chimayó

    Back to the 19th Century

    WE ARE SADDENED that New Mexico has withdrawn from the Mexican gray wolf project and is now allowing the use of cruel traps in wolf habitats. Unfortunately, this state has now joined other western states in eschewing the humane wildlife management of the 21st century and reverted to the 19th-century policies of cruelty, slaughter and extermination. These actions reduce wildlife management to myth, misinformation and political paybacks rather than management based on humanity and science.

    Wolves serve an important service to managing a healthy ecosystem, hence why the Creator placed them here prior to man. Moreover, there is no evidence that wolves now or have ever poised a threat to the safety of humans.

    Therefore, we urge New Mexico to return to practical, humane and scientific wildlife management techniques. The state of Oregon provides an excellent model of wolf management that utilizes public education, scientific management and collaboration of all of the stakeholders. We need to restore reason, balance and sanity to wildlife management.

    DENNY and DENISE HOLLAND

    Bernalillo

    Only Savages Are Human

    WOLVES BELONG, TOO!

    New Mexico “game managers” are devoted to enhancing the supply of big game targets. They are also promoting the commission of one more major atrocity against life on earth and in New Mexico. This is the annihilation of the Mexican gray wolf.

    By their recent actions, they are utterly engaging in the sabotage of Mexican gray wolf recovery. Their acts clearly undermine the Endangered Species Act by ending any support. Now they are determined to allow trapping on the very public lands where wolves live and where nine wolves have already been trapped.

    Fish and game departments are supported by the hunting fraternity and others who profit from letting the blood of living creatures, such as livestock breeders and ranchers. The savage, ruthless killer is not the wolf. It is ourselves. We have made the wolf a scapegoat. The wolf does not pose a threat to other species and is neither a danger to nor a real competitor of man.

    A wolf is seen as a contrived image, complete with evil aspects generating pathological fear and hatred. Fish and Game protects game animals from their natural predators so sport killers can find a sufficient number of live targets.

    The wolf completes the ecosystem, providing a vital role in maintaining the long-term well-being of its prey species. It is not a threat to human beings, and is responsible for only minor losses of livestock. It is very fearful and will not live in proximity to human settlements or agricultural enterprises. The wolf should be respected and honored as part of the natural world, as are we.

    BETTY J. PRITCHARD

    Bernalillo

    Blood on Ranchers’ Hands

    WITH SORROW I read that Game and Fish first of all removed New Mexico from supporting wolf recovery without letting New Mexicans vote on it, and now at Clayton, a remote area where wolves do not live, voted to allow trapping of wolves on their own territory. That is like planting traps on these members’ yards and waiting to see if a leg got caught in a trap. Can you imagine the outcry!

    Wolves are God’s creatures who were here long before New Mexico was settled and have trouble surviving with three legs. The people voted in an anti-environmental governor, friend to ranchers who hate wolves as well as other wealthy special interest groups and appointed four wolf-haters to Game and Fish. Ranchers are compensated for livestock killed by wolves, so what is their beef?

    Let’s get our legislators in action to correct this injustice.

    Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal for supporting our wolves. Fight on!

    MARY RICHARDSON

    Rio Rancho

    By the Way, It’s OUR Land

    I WOULD LIKE to thank the Albuquerque Journal for supporting the ban on leg traps in our national forests, our land! I am a former wildlife biologist, having worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and when I was there I found that in areas where wolves were, there were healthier populations of game animals. I also have personally lost one of my dogs to traps here in New Mexico, which became trapped and had to be put down, again on our lands, supposedly public lands! The majority of the New Mexico public is against traps on public lands.

    I thought the New Mexico Game Commission listened to the people and supported scientific studies. Apparently not.

    CHARLEY ENGELKING

    Capitan

    Majority Opinion Is Ignored

    I AM DISAPPOINTED to see that the New Mexico Game Commission has recently removed the ban on leg-hold trapping in southwest New Mexico, where the Mexican wolf is struggling against the odds to regain a niche. The commission is certainly not representing the majority of the state’s residents — 69 percent of whom support wolf reintroduction.

    While the trapping is not targeting wolves specifically, it cannot but affect the Mexican wolf. When these devices are placed in their habitat, wolves will step into them. There are fewer than 50 of these creatures in the wild now, and 24 of their kind have been maimed by leg-hold traps since 2002.

    Studies have made it abundantly clear that large predators have a beneficial effect on ecosystems and watersheds where they maintain a decent presence. Certainly giving Mexican wolves all the protection we can will have great effects to the environment once there is a viable population.

    In recognition of the losses of cattle ranchers it is important to keep in mind that overall loss of cattle to wolves is very low. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a compensation program for wolf-related losses. In addition, Defenders of Wildlife has a wolf coexistence program, working closely with ranchers to avoid losses of their stock. …

    EMILY A. LEE

    Belen

    Nature Knows Its Business

    THANK YOU for the support against the leg traps. It is awful that the game commission is wanting to lift the ban when so many people are against it. The wolves are very important to our ecosystem. If we control their population, then deer and other animals that the wolves eat will be out of control and we will have big problems. Australia discovered this when it brought in a frog to control a creature and now they have too many frogs and nothing to control its population. Humans need to stay out of the way of nature and let it take care of itself. Nature does a great job.

    TONYA PEREA

    Albuquerque

    Courage These Humans Lack

    TO TRAP WOLVES or any animal by use of any type of trap is not only inhumane; it is a slap in the face to the American public. There is no good reason for this crude and dastardly tactic. Nationally, endangered wolves are being shot from planes and helicopters, poisoned in their dens and trapped.

    In case of the Mexican gray wolf, there are only about 50 remaining in New Mexico and Arizona. The decision by New Mexico game commission last week to allow leg hold traps is incredibly wrong. Those responsible should be held accountable by the public. Ranchers can be compensated for their occasional loss of cattle, wolves are not a threat to humans when they are left alone, and they are a necessary element in the ecosystems across the globe. They also happen to be one of the most beautiful and majestic creatures of God’s creation. They have been used in so many representations of stealth, cunning, devotion and courage on badges of our soldiers, sporting teams and private groups across the world.

    HARRY RUTHERFORD

    Albuquerque

    Living in the Dark Ages

    WOLVES ARE A necessary part of a healthy ecosystem, as they help keep watersheds and ungulates in balance. There are several reports that explain this. Biologists know that once the Mexican wolf is fully restored, the health of the Southwest ecosystem will improve. It is science. By saving the Mexican gray wolf, we just might be saving our state’s ecosystem.

    … It’s the ranchers’ inability to manage their herds properly that is swaying our (game managers) to refuse to participate with the federal government on (their recovery). The rest of the world must laugh at us because we have such a barbaric and medieval attitude toward wolves. It’s embarrassing. As with everything in life, we need balance.

    CAROL CAMPBELL

    Albuquerque

  • Howling Mad
    By Albuquerque Journal Staff on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 

    mother wolfEquivalent of Land Mines

    … MY FAMILY and I find the use of leg hold traps in wolf country to be appalling. We’ve lived and continue to live close to BLM lands, kept chickens, raised goats, sheep and pigs for a living and kept dogs. We had to have the legs of two dogs amputated because of leg-hold traps, had animals maimed by these traps die on our property, and have seen desiccated remains of animals in leg-hold traps in the wilderness.

    Leg-hold traps pose a significant risk to endangered Mexican gray wolves, and the decision by the New Mexico Game Commission to restore trapping in wolf country is recidivist and ill-informed. The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, as well as scientific and educated study groups, have shown that all predators, including the lobo wolves, are essential for western ecosystems. Large predators improve the rangeland by keeping the rodent, elk and deer population in check.

    It is unacceptable that a small group of individuals with personal and political agendas can claim to speak for the seven in 10 New Mexicans — as polls show — who support wolf reintroduction.

    MELODY MCCORMICK

    Chimayó

    Back to the 19th Century

    WE ARE SADDENED that New Mexico has withdrawn from the Mexican gray wolf project and is now allowing the use of cruel traps in wolf habitats. Unfortunately, this state has now joined other western states in eschewing the humane wildlife management of the 21st century and reverted to the 19th-century policies of cruelty, slaughter and extermination. These actions reduce wildlife management to myth, misinformation and political paybacks rather than management based on humanity and science.

    Wolves serve an important service to managing a healthy ecosystem, hence why the Creator placed them here prior to man. Moreover, there is no evidence that wolves now or have ever poised a threat to the safety of humans.

    Therefore, we urge New Mexico to return to practical, humane and scientific wildlife management techniques. The state of Oregon provides an excellent model of wolf management that utilizes public education, scientific management and collaboration of all of the stakeholders. We need to restore reason, balance and sanity to wildlife management.

    DENNY and DENISE HOLLAND

    Bernalillo

    Only Savages Are Human

    WOLVES BELONG, TOO!

    New Mexico “game managers” are devoted to enhancing the supply of big game targets. They are also promoting the commission of one more major atrocity against life on earth and in New Mexico. This is the annihilation of the Mexican gray wolf.

    By their recent actions, they are utterly engaging in the sabotage of Mexican gray wolf recovery. Their acts clearly undermine the Endangered Species Act by ending any support. Now they are determined to allow trapping on the very public lands where wolves live and where nine wolves have already been trapped.

    Fish and game departments are supported by the hunting fraternity and others who profit from letting the blood of living creatures, such as livestock breeders and ranchers. The savage, ruthless killer is not the wolf. It is ourselves. We have made the wolf a scapegoat. The wolf does not pose a threat to other species and is neither a danger to nor a real competitor of man.

    A wolf is seen as a contrived image, complete with evil aspects generating pathological fear and hatred. Fish and Game protects game animals from their natural predators so sport killers can find a sufficient number of live targets.

    The wolf completes the ecosystem, providing a vital role in maintaining the long-term well-being of its prey species. It is not a threat to human beings, and is responsible for only minor losses of livestock. It is very fearful and will not live in proximity to human settlements or agricultural enterprises. The wolf should be respected and honored as part of the natural world, as are we.

    BETTY J. PRITCHARD

    Bernalillo

    Blood on Ranchers’ Hands

    WITH SORROW I read that Game and Fish first of all removed New Mexico from supporting wolf recovery without letting New Mexicans vote on it, and now at Clayton, a remote area where wolves do not live, voted to allow trapping of wolves on their own territory. That is like planting traps on these members’ yards and waiting to see if a leg got caught in a trap. Can you imagine the outcry!

    Wolves are God’s creatures who were here long before New Mexico was settled and have trouble surviving with three legs. The people voted in an anti-environmental governor, friend to ranchers who hate wolves as well as other wealthy special interest groups and appointed four wolf-haters to Game and Fish. Ranchers are compensated for livestock killed by wolves, so what is their beef?

    Let’s get our legislators in action to correct this injustice.

    Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal for supporting our wolves. Fight on!

    MARY RICHARDSON

    Rio Rancho

    By the Way, It’s OUR Land

    I WOULD LIKE to thank the Albuquerque Journal for supporting the ban on leg traps in our national forests, our land! I am a former wildlife biologist, having worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and when I was there I found that in areas where wolves were, there were healthier populations of game animals. I also have personally lost one of my dogs to traps here in New Mexico, which became trapped and had to be put down, again on our lands, supposedly public lands! The majority of the New Mexico public is against traps on public lands.

    I thought the New Mexico Game Commission listened to the people and supported scientific studies. Apparently not.

    CHARLEY ENGELKING

    Capitan

    Majority Opinion Is Ignored

    I AM DISAPPOINTED to see that the New Mexico Game Commission has recently removed the ban on leg-hold trapping in southwest New Mexico, where the Mexican wolf is struggling against the odds to regain a niche. The commission is certainly not representing the majority of the state’s residents — 69 percent of whom support wolf reintroduction.

    While the trapping is not targeting wolves specifically, it cannot but affect the Mexican wolf. When these devices are placed in their habitat, wolves will step into them. There are fewer than 50 of these creatures in the wild now, and 24 of their kind have been maimed by leg-hold traps since 2002.

    Studies have made it abundantly clear that large predators have a beneficial effect on ecosystems and watersheds where they maintain a decent presence. Certainly giving Mexican wolves all the protection we can will have great effects to the environment once there is a viable population.

    In recognition of the losses of cattle ranchers it is important to keep in mind that overall loss of cattle to wolves is very low. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a compensation program for wolf-related losses. In addition, Defenders of Wildlife has a wolf coexistence program, working closely with ranchers to avoid losses of their stock. …

    EMILY A. LEE

    Belen

    Nature Knows Its Business

    THANK YOU for the support against the leg traps. It is awful that the game commission is wanting to lift the ban when so many people are against it. The wolves are very important to our ecosystem. If we control their population, then deer and other animals that the wolves eat will be out of control and we will have big problems. Australia discovered this when it brought in a frog to control a creature and now they have too many frogs and nothing to control its population. Humans need to stay out of the way of nature and let it take care of itself. Nature does a great job.

    TONYA PEREA

    Albuquerque

    Courage These Humans Lack

    TO TRAP WOLVES or any animal by use of any type of trap is not only inhumane; it is a slap in the face to the American public. There is no good reason for this crude and dastardly tactic. Nationally, endangered wolves are being shot from planes and helicopters, poisoned in their dens and trapped.

    In case of the Mexican gray wolf, there are only about 50 remaining in New Mexico and Arizona. The decision by New Mexico game commission last week to allow leg hold traps is incredibly wrong. Those responsible should be held accountable by the public. Ranchers can be compensated for their occasional loss of cattle, wolves are not a threat to humans when they are left alone, and they are a necessary element in the ecosystems across the globe. They also happen to be one of the most beautiful and majestic creatures of God’s creation. They have been used in so many representations of stealth, cunning, devotion and courage on badges of our soldiers, sporting teams and private groups across the world.

    HARRY RUTHERFORD

    Albuquerque

    Living in the Dark Ages

    WOLVES ARE A necessary part of a healthy ecosystem, as they help keep watersheds and ungulates in balance. There are several reports that explain this. Biologists know that once the Mexican wolf is fully restored, the health of the Southwest ecosystem will improve. It is science. By saving the Mexican gray wolf, we just might be saving our state’s ecosystem.

    … It’s the ranchers’ inability to manage their herds properly that is swaying our (game managers) to refuse to participate with the federal government on (their recovery). The rest of the world must laugh at us because we have such a barbaric and medieval attitude toward wolves. It’s embarrassing. As with everything in life, we need balance.

    CAROL CAMPBELL

    Albuquerque

  • Hudspeth County Herald – 2/23/2011

    New Mining Claims Staked On Wind Mountain

    A Colorado-based company has staked more than 50 claims to mine cobalt from Wind Mountain and adjacent areas on Otero Mesa, a coalition of conservation groups announced this week. That news is likely to intensify the ongoing debate over the future of Otero Mesa, the management of federal lands there and the possibility of their designation as a national monument.

    According to a statement released Tuesday (Feb. 22) by the Coalition for Otero Mesa, Geovic Mining Corp staked more than 50 new mining claims on federal land on Otero Mesa in October and November of last year. Geovic is seeking to mine for cobalt, on lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. The claims are centered on Wind Mountain, one of the region’s commanding landmarks and the highest peak in the Cornudas range, and adjacent areas on Otero Mesa. Wind Mountain is located about 15 miles northwest of Dell City. The claims encompass a total surface area the size of 2,178 football fields, the Coalition said. 

    Bobby Jones, within whose grazing allotment most of the claims have been staked, said the number of Geovic’s mining claims could be far higher than the figure identified by the Coalition. He said that his conversations with BLM officials indicated Geovic had staked at least 146 mining claims in the area, encompassing a total area between 2 and 2 and a half miles long and half a mile wide.

    Calls to Geovic and to officials with the BLM to discuss the Otero Mesa mining proposal, its extent and the potential timeline for its development were not returned as of press-time.

    The Coalition said the mining proposal represented a profound threat to the mesa’s ecosystem, wildlife and scenic values, as well as to the groundwater that underlies the mesa. The Salt Basin Aquifer is considered to be one of New Mexico’s largest untapped freshwater resources; the aquifer is thought to be hydrologically connected to the water used in the Dell Valley. 

    In their statement, Coalition members said that the mining proposal was another reason why the federal government should act to designate federal lands on Otero Mesa a national monument, a step that would prevent extractive industries such as mining and oil and gas from moving into the area.

    “Without the permanent protection that it deserves, Otero Mesa is always going to be one drill bit, one mine shaft or one spill away from being lost to us,” said Nathan Newcomer, associate director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “This new threat of hardrock mining in Otero Mesa underscores the urgency of providing permanent protection for this wild and beautiful grassland.” 

    Mining on public lands is governed by the General Mining Act of 1872, which identifies hardrock mining as the “highest and best use” of public lands. Because of the law, the potential environmental impacts of mining projects are subject to far less scrutiny than those of other projects, such as those proposed by oil and gas companies. Mining projects that are deemed “small-scale” have a particularly low bar to cross for approval, and Coalition members are concerned that Geovic has staked its host of separate claims in a concentrated area in hopes of identifying them all as “small-scale” and avoiding a comprehensive environmental review.

    Cobalt mining can be conducted in several ways, and it remains unclear what form a cobalt-mining project in the Wind Mountain area might take – whether it would involve shafts, an open pit or the large-scale removal of large parts of Wind Mountain and other volcanic formations.

    Those who lease the BLM land for livestock operations would likely feel the most immediate impact of a mining operation on Wind Mountain.  

    Bobby Jones, whose family’s longstanding allotment includes about two-thirds of Wind Mountain and much of the adjacent country in which the claims have been staked, said a major mining development could interfere with his livestock operations and potentially threaten the quality of water in his stock wells. But, he said, the 1872 mining law and the BLM’s model of “multiple use” for federal lands “holds the order of the day.” He said the development of any specific plan for mining would allow for some public input. He said he would hope to influence the implementation of a project to minimize its impact on his ranching.

    “I would prefer that they didn’t mine – it could possibly cost me some cow numbers, because of the surface disturbance,” Jones said. “But I know the way the law is written, and I’ve got to go by that.”

    Jones said he has half a dozen stock wells that circle Wind Mountain, some of which are “very shallow” and others of which are about 500 feet deep. He said mining – and the possible use of toxic acids to concentrate the material – could damage the quality of water in those wells.

    “That’s one thing I do have concerns about,” he said.

    Jones added that mining could also impact the quality of water used for irrigation and the city drinking supply in Dell City.

    The presence of mining claims in the area certainly does not mean a mining project will move forward, Jones said. There have been numerous claims staked and projects explored on Wind Mountain over the decades, he said, including prospecting several years ago by a Colorado company for feldspar.

    “Since the 1950s there has been quite a lot of prospecting going on here and there, but they’ve never found anything of commercial value,” he said. 

    The potential economic impact on the area of a mine remains unclear, but Jones said he thought it was more likely Geovic would bring in previously trained, professional staff rather than hire workers locally.

    Jones said he met geologists with Geovic last year, when they were prospecting on the mountain. He said that although even their exploratory activity created some disturbance to grass he uses to graze cattle, the geologists had also made an effort to be “good neighbors.” He said the geologists told him that Geovic’s owner had previously worked as a geology professor. The owner, the geologists told Jones, had learned of Wind Mountain through one of his graduate students, Russ Boggs, who conducted a geologic survey of the area as part of his studies. 

    Jones said the strategic importance of cobalt and the related rare-earth elements also shed a different light on the mining proposal. Cobalt, as well as rare-earth metals being targeted on Round Top Mountain near Sierra Blanca, are essential to a range of technologies – but the vast majority of those minerals are mined abroad. 

    “I’d hate to see this thing go, but I’d hate to be under the thumb of China because it didn’t,” he said.

    The New Mexico Wildlife Federation, a sportsmen’s group and member of the Coalition for Otero Mesa, said that a mining project would undermine the ability of hunters to utilize and enjoy federal lands on Otero Mesa.

    “Sportsmen and their families have a long legacy of using Otero Mesa, and every acre we lose to development, of any kind, robs us of passing on that legacy,” said John Cornell of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “The long term values of its cultural, recreational, hunting and ranching and water resources far outweigh any short term benefits of mining.”

    A representative of the Apache Advocates for Otero Mesa, a Mescalero group that has been leading youth trips to the mesa to introduce young tribe members to their heritage, said national-monument designation was essential to preserve the mesa intact.

    “To us Apaches, Otero Mesa is sacred,” said Ted Rodriguez, headman of the Mescalero Apache Traditional Elders Council. “It holds a very special place in our history and must be treated as a holy site, not a mining site. It deserves no less than national monument status.”

    As with the rare-earth elements that are being targeted on Round Top Mountain near Sierra Blanca, cobalt is used in consumer electronics and in new energy technologies. These industries are often viewed as at the forefront of future economic growth, making the extraction of substances like cobalt and rare-earth metals attractive to mining companies.

    The fastest growing use of cobalt is for rechargeable batteries – used in consumer electronic devices like cell phones and personal computers and in hybrid vehicles, among other products. Cobalt use for rechargeable batteries accounted for about 25 percent of global demand in 2009, but that figure is expected to rise to about 45 percent by 2018. In 2009, an additional 7 percent of demand for cobalt was for use in high-performance magnets, such as those used in the most recent generation of wind turbines. Cobalt for use in metal alloys and chemicals, such as pigments and dyes, accounted for more than half of global demand in 2009.

    In 2009, no cobalt was mined in the United States. Almost half of the world’s cobalt was produced in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Zambia. In information found on its Web site, Geovic projects that cobalt supplies could be insufficient to meet rising demand as soon as 2016. 

    Geovic, which has its corporate headquarters in Denver and its operations offices in Grand Junction, Colo., currently owns a 60.5 percent stake in Geovic Cameroon. Geovic Cameroon holds a mining permit to a large area in the African nation, an area that the company says may hold the largest primary cobalt resource in the world. The National Investment Corporation of Cameroon, a government-owned entity, controls the remaining 39.5 percent of the project. Geovic Cameroon is currently raising capital to begin mining.

    During the last decade, the Coalition for Otero Mesa worked to prevent oil and gas drilling on federal lands on the Otero Mesa, which the Coalition describes as “America’s largest and wildest grassland.” The mesa is a vast grassland prairie that extends from the Cornudas Mountains and the highlands just north of Dell City to the Sacramento Mountains, encompassing more than 1 million acres. Membership in the Coalition for Otero Mesa includes the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, the Wilderness Society, the Southwest Environmental Center, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, Restoring Eden, Environment New Mexico and Apache Advocates for Otero Mesa.

    Many area ranchers also opposed oil and gas drilling on Otero Mesa, citing concerns about how the development could damage the grasslands and groundwater on which their operations depend. In April 2009 opponents of drilling on the mesa won a reprieve, when U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the BLM had not adequately considered the potential impact of oil and gas drilling on the grassland ecosystem and underlying groundwater.

    Since that time, the coalition of conservation groups has advocated that federal lands on Otero Mesa be declared a national monument – a step that, under the Antiquities Act of 1906, can be taken unilaterally by the president and that would bar extractive industries like mining and oil and gas from operating on the mesa in perpetuity. Many area ranchers believe such a step would be the beginning of a “slippery slope” that would ultimately mean the end of grazing leases – and of their longstanding ranching enterprises – on the mesa.

    The conservation groups say that a management plan for a monument could protect grazing rights and other historic land uses on the mesa and that a national monument would simply serve to “keep things the way they are.” Area ranchers are deeply skeptical that such a plan would hold.

  • Albuquerque Journal, 2-22-2011

    This was a wild idea that deserved a quick death.

    Eliminating funding for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program should have been a non-starter, despite U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce’s genuine desire to save money — and no doubt to get in the good graces of the House GOP leadership now that he’s back in the congressional saddle. Pearce says the program is a failure and ending it would save taxpayers money.

    Last week he submitted an amendment to the continuing funding resolution passed Saturday by the House that would have eliminated money for the 12-year-old wolf recovery effort. However, the amendment didn’t make it into the bill to keep government going until Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2011. If it had, funding would have stopped for the next six months. Proposing to simply pull the funding for the controversial environmental program in this way shows a lack of regard for public debate, environmental considerations and study.

    The Mexican Gray Wolf, one of the smallest of the Gray Wolf subspecies, once numbered in the thousands throughout the southern Southwest but now is one of the most endangered native species.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services recovery program has been plagued with management problems and conflicts with the livestock industry. The wolf population in the wild was expected to reach 100 by 2006, but by the end of 2010 had hit only 50. That’s up from 42 in 2009, despite the fact that five of six wolves found dead last year were illegally shot and killed.

    These iconic natural predators deserve their place in the ecosystem, and Pearce should find a better target for his budget-cutting bullets.

    Original post: http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/editorials/2221847675opinioneditorials02-22-11.htm

  • Albuquerque Journal, 2-22-2011

    This was a wild idea that deserved a quick death.

    Eliminating funding for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program should have been a non-starter, despite U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce’s genuine desire to save money — and no doubt to get in the good graces of the House GOP leadership now that he’s back in the congressional saddle. Pearce says the program is a failure and ending it would save taxpayers money.

    Last week he submitted an amendment to the continuing funding resolution passed Saturday by the House that would have eliminated money for the 12-year-old wolf recovery effort. However, the amendment didn’t make it into the bill to keep government going until Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2011. If it had, funding would have stopped for the next six months. Proposing to simply pull the funding for the controversial environmental program in this way shows a lack of regard for public debate, environmental considerations and study.

    The Mexican Gray Wolf, one of the smallest of the Gray Wolf subspecies, once numbered in the thousands throughout the southern Southwest but now is one of the most endangered native species.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services recovery program has been plagued with management problems and conflicts with the livestock industry. The wolf population in the wild was expected to reach 100 by 2006, but by the end of 2010 had hit only 50. That’s up from 42 in 2009, despite the fact that five of six wolves found dead last year were illegally shot and killed.

    These iconic natural predators deserve their place in the ecosystem, and Pearce should find a better target for his budget-cutting bullets.

    Original post: http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/editorials/2221847675opinioneditorials02-22-11.htm

  • lobo howl 178x250Fill the halls of Congress with HOWLS of protest.

    New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce has offered an amendment to the 2011 House Appropriations Bill that would cut federal funding for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program.

    This is just the latest of the recent legislative attacks against the endangered lobo and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), following on the heels of House and Senate bills rolling back ESA protections for all gray wolves in the US.

    Call your Congressional delegation today to protest these back-door attacks on the Endangered Species Act!
    • NO on bills to amend the Endangered Species Act, HR 509 and S 209!
    • NO on cutting funding to the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program!

    New Mexico Delegation:

    Senator Tom Udall: (202) 224-6621

    Senator Jeff Bingaman: (202) 224-5521

    Congressman Ben Lujan: (202) 225-6190

    Congressman Martin Heinrich: (202) 225-6316

    Congressman Steve Pearce: (202) 225-2365

    Not in NM? use our Legislative Lookup to contact your representatives.

    More ways to take action:

    150 WORDS TO SAVE THE LOBO: join our LTE campaign

    SEND A FAX to Congress to stop the rollback of the Endangered Species Act!

     

     
     
  • lobo howl 178x250Fill the halls of Congress with HOWLS of protest.

    New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce has offered an amendment to the 2011 House Appropriations Bill that would cut federal funding for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program.

    This is just the latest of the recent legislative attacks against the endangered lobo and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), following on the heels of House and Senate bills rolling back ESA protections for all gray wolves in the US.

    Call your Congressional delegation today to protest these back-door attacks on the Endangered Species Act!
    • NO on bills to amend the Endangered Species Act, HR 509 and S 209!
    • NO on cutting funding to the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program!

    New Mexico Delegation:

    Senator Tom Udall: (202) 224-6621

    Senator Jeff Bingaman: (202) 224-5521

    Congressman Ben Lujan: (202) 225-6190

    Congressman Martin Heinrich: (202) 225-6316

    Congressman Steve Pearce: (202) 225-2365

    Not in NM? use our Legislative Lookup to contact your representatives.

    More ways to take action:

    150 WORDS TO SAVE THE LOBO: join our LTE campaign

    SEND A FAX to Congress to stop the rollback of the Endangered Species Act!

     

     
     
  • Only 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild, and hey need our help now.

    On February 1, 2011, Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch introduced Senate Bill S.249, the “American Big Game and Livestock Protection Act.” It would amend the Endangered Species Act to delist and remove protections for ALL gray wolves in the United States. Representative Danny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced a similar bill, H.R. 509 into the House, which has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.These bills follow on the heels of an ESA amendment bill unsuccessfully introduced in the final weeks of the 111th Congress.

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that decisions on delisting be based on the best available science. Never before has a species been taken off the endangered species list by an act of Congress that would amend the ESA.

    Supporters of wolves and other wildlife need to flood Congress with protests against this legislative end-run around the Endangered Species Act.

    Please, call and write right away and tell everyone you know to do the same.

    VISIT OUR ONLINE ACTION CENTER to send letters to your Congressional representatives, to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources.

    CALL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES and urge them to uphold the integrity of the Endangered Species Act.

    Thank you for your attention to this important issue!

  • Only 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild, and hey need our help now.

    On February 1, 2011, Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch introduced Senate Bill S.249, the “American Big Game and Livestock Protection Act.” It would amend the Endangered Species Act to delist and remove protections for ALL gray wolves in the United States. Representative Danny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced a similar bill, H.R. 509 into the House, which has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.These bills follow on the heels of an ESA amendment bill unsuccessfully introduced in the final weeks of the 111th Congress.

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that decisions on delisting be based on the best available science. Never before has a species been taken off the endangered species list by an act of Congress that would amend the ESA.

    Supporters of wolves and other wildlife need to flood Congress with protests against this legislative end-run around the Endangered Species Act.

    Please, call and write right away and tell everyone you know to do the same.

    VISIT OUR ONLINE ACTION CENTER to send letters to your Congressional representatives, to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources.

    CALL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES and urge them to uphold the integrity of the Endangered Species Act.

    Thank you for your attention to this important issue!

  • Geovic stakes mining claims in southern NM, coalition renews call for Otero Mesa protection

    SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
    Associated Press – February 23, 2011

    Albuquerque Journal
    NewsWest Channel 9
    KCBS Channel 11
    The Washington Examiner
    KFDA Channel 10

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Otero Mesa has served as a battleground for environmentalists and the oil and natural gas industry for the past decade.

    Now, a coalition of environmental groups is concerned about dozens of new mining claims staked in the southern New Mexico area by Denver-based Geovic Mining Corp.

    The company has staked more than 50 20-acre claims in the hope of finding sources of zirconium and rare earth minerals. However, the president of the company’s new ventures division says it’s very early in the process and Geovic is still a long way from determining whether to even seek a mining permit.

    Environmentalists consider mining as a “volatile threat” to Otero Mesa. The area has been described as the largest publicly owned expanse of undisturbed Chihuahuan Desert grassland in the United States.

  • Since January, CO-based mining company Geovic has nearly tripled its mining claims on Otero Mesa– from 68 claims in January to 183 as of April. The company filed for a state exploration permit in April, and has proposed to drill 10 test wells, mostly on the slopes of iconic Wind Mountain, the tallest peak in Otero Mesa. All of the pending mining operations would take place within the citizens’ proposed wilderness areas and proposed ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern).

    Hardrock mining would seriously degrade the ecological, cultural, and water resources of Otero Mesa– everything we’ve been fighting for 10 years to protect could be lost forever. Mining for rare earth minerals would essentially mean the decimation of Wind Mountain– mountaintop removal in New Mexico!
    Working together, we put a stop to oil and gas drilling on Otero Mesa. Together, we can stop the mining threat and protect this rare and beautiful region.

    Take Action!

     
    1. Get Informed: Read our May 5, 2011 Press Release
     
    2. Stop Mining on Otero Mesa: Write to Interior Secretary Salazar on the Coalition for Otero Mesa website
     
    3. Advocate for a National Monument: Write to President Obama at our Online Action Center
     
    The future of Otero Mesa depends on every one of us. Help us save America’s last great desert grassland!
  • EcoFlight – Southern New Mexico: Otero Mesa – Monument Proposal from EcoFlight on Vimeo.

  • For Immediate Release
    August 23, 2011

    Contact:  NATHAN NEWCOMER
    NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE, 505-250-4225

    New Mexico Celebrates “Great Outdoors Week”
    Conservation, Recreation Groups Call on Congress to Protect National Forests and Wilderness

    Albuquerque, NM (August 22, 2011) – State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and other elected officials join conservation groups and leaders  from across the country to celebrate America’s Great Outdoors and call on Congress to protect America’s national forests, wilderness and other wild lands.   The week, which runs from August 20 to August 28, will feature a series of outdoor activities that highlight the importance of public lands in New Mexico and nationwide to outdoor recreation, water and wildlife, and local economies.

    “New Mexico is known around the world for its natural beauty, air quality which includes the vast terrain we have of unsurpassed quality of mesas, valleys, highest peaks and bountiful lakes allowing folks to hunt, hike, ski, boat and enjoy recreational activities under the New Mexico sun,” said State Land Commissioner, Ray Powell.

    As part of the celebration, State Land Commissioner, Ray Powell, County Commissioner John Olivas and other leaders issued proclamations and statements that echoed President Theodore Roosevelt’s definition of a good citizen as one who pulls his own weight by “calling upon the residents to observe and participate in this week with appreciation for America’s immeasurable public lands.”

    Great Outdoors Week comes as Congress is considering legislation that would open up more than 60 million acres of national forest roadless tracts and Wilderness Study Areas – an area the size of Wyoming – to new development. The measure is only one of multiple attempts by lawmakers in Washington, DC to undo fundamental environmental protections for clean air, clean water, endangered species and public lands. 

    “With more than half of our public lands already open to full-scale development, and less than three percent of New Mexico’s wild lands permanently protected, we call on our leaders to give meaningful protection to the rest so that they can be enjoyed by future generations,” said Nathan Newcomer, Associate Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

    The United States Department of Agriculture estimates there were more than 173 million recreation visits to U.S. Forest System lands in 2009, with more than 57 percent of those visits for activities such as hiking, mountain biking and fishing. More than two-thirds of Americans participate in outdoor recreation activities annually on our public lands – including hiking, biking, camping, climbing, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and snowshoeing – contributing $730 billion to the U.S. economy and $3.8 billion annually to New Mexico’s economy.

    “New Mexico’s Great Outdoor’s are truly a priceless treasure, and I hope this week’s activities will encourage New Mexican’s of all ages to explore our public lands and perhaps try out a new outdoor recreational activity,” said Mora County Commissioner, John Olivas. “I also hope many will be inspired to help protect our natural resources, which is not only critical for the health of the environment, but also for the enjoyment of future generations.”

    Read some of the proclamations and messages for New Mexico’s Great Outdoors Week:

    State Land Office Message on Great Outdoors Week

    Questa Proclamation

    More County Resolution

  • From the air it’s a patchwork of oil rigs, roads and broad mesas. Antelope run swiftly across the valley floors filled with sage and juniper. The arroyos are mostly dry, the night skies filled with stars. It is northwest New Mexico, a broad slice of the Colorado Plateau and the traditional lands of the Navajo, which have in recent times become the domain of the oil and gas industry. 

    Today, amongst this mix of land and culture there remains fifteen iconic public land parcels covering more than 120,000 acres that are filled with hoodoos, petrified logs, ruins and fossils. Wild lands that are twisted and distorted in shapes, carved by wind and rains, and colored by their vibrant mineral content. It is also a land rich in paleontological and archeological resources. They are truly New Mexico’s Badlands. Lands that inspire our sense of the West, but that are threatened by coal, uranium, oil, gas and illegal wood-cutting. 

    In addition, the American treasure known as Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in the heart of this region and remains under constant threat of oil and gas development on its borders, degrading and damaging this world heritage site. These areas deserve long-term protection, along with long-term sustainable development for neighboring communities and the Navajo Nation.

    The San Juan Basin Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park proposals we are promoting offer significant scenic and recreational resources. They take in landscapes such as Ah-Shi-She-Pah Wilderness Study Area (WSA)– truly an intriguing landscape of wild formations and a lunar-like surface. At higher elevation, the sprawling sculpture parks composed of rim rock and mesa badlands are filled with multicolored buttes and fossil-filled canyon labyrinths. 

    Areas like Lybrook, Crow Mesa, San José, Mesa de Cuba, Mesa Chijuilla, Penistaja Mesa, Ceja Pelón Mesa, Cejita Blanca and La Ventana-Elk Springs showcase the beauty of the San Juan Basin Badlands. With cliff-hanging bonsai ponderosa, character-laden old juniper and the largest petrified wood concentration anywhere in New Mexico, the San Juan Basin Badlands are a unique phenomenon that should be protected from the surrounding industrial development. These are important islands of biodiversity which rise above surrounding grasslands and act as key wildlife corridors, and refuges for native high desert vegetation and wildlife. 

    Two hundred million years of action-packed paleo-history unfold in eighteen chronological sedimentary layers. Thenearby Bisti –De-Na-Zin Wilderness alone has produced over 200 Cretacous fossil plants and animal species. Initial paleontological finds here in the early 1980’s spurred the establishment of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Several other Badlands such as Cejita Blanca and Ceja Pelon include internationally renowned Paleocene and Eocene mammal fossil research areas.

    More well known as a World Heritage Site, Chaco Culture National Historical Park rests in the center of this region. Although Chaco is currently protected as a park, oil and gas development has been proposed on the boundaries of the park. With over 20,000 acres of eligible wilderness within the park and several surveying errors that leave several important archeological sites unprotected, the threats to Chaco cannot be ignored.

    Our Vision

    Despite a massive influx of oil and gas development, the heart of this region is wild and beautiful country in need of protection. Our goal remains the Congressional protection of these lands. Currently, many of these areas are being squandered for wood cutting and being compromised because of lack of enforcement. Our goals with the San Juan Basin Badlands and Chaco proposals are to protect some of the key landscapes as Wilderness, create a National Monument, and add others to the important National Landscape Conservation System. 

    To succeed, we must build a coalition of groups—sportsmen, Native Americans, Latinos, conservationists, and scientists. We plan to work directly in the nearby community of Cuba that reflects the cultural influence of the region and uses much of the nearby landscape for wood harvesting.Our vision working with local communities is to raise the profile of these beautiful areas and work with the New Mexico Department of Tourism to expand the potential for eco-tourism and long-term sustainable development surrounding public lands.

    The lands that form the New Mexico portion of the Colorado Plateau deserve protection. We must preserve this landscape while helping support communities whose past and future is connected to these special islands of life.

     

  • From the air it’s a patchwork of oil rigs, roads and broad mesas. Antelope run swiftly across the valley floors filled with sage and juniper. The arroyos are mostly dry, the night skies filled with stars. It is northwest New Mexico, a broad slice of the Colorado Plateau and the traditional lands of the Navajo, which have in recent times become the domain of the oil and gas industry. 

    Today, amongst this mix of land and culture there remains fifteen iconic public land parcels covering more than 120,000 acres that are filled with hoodoos, petrified logs, ruins and fossils. Wild lands that are twisted and distorted in shapes, carved by wind and rains, and colored by their vibrant mineral content. It is also a land rich in paleontological and archeological resources. They are truly New Mexico’s Badlands. Lands that inspire our sense of the West, but that are threatened by coal, uranium, oil, gas and illegal wood-cutting. 

    In addition, the American treasure known as Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in the heart of this region and remains under constant threat of oil and gas development on its borders, degrading and damaging this world heritage site. These areas deserve long-term protection, along with long-term sustainable development for neighboring communities and the Navajo Nation.

    The San Juan Basin Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park proposals we are promoting offer significant scenic and recreational resources. They take in landscapes such as Ah-Shi-She-Pah Wilderness Study Area (WSA)– truly an intriguing landscape of wild formations and a lunar-like surface. At higher elevation, the sprawling sculpture parks composed of rim rock and mesa badlands are filled with multicolored buttes and fossil-filled canyon labyrinths. 

    Areas like Lybrook, Crow Mesa, San José, Mesa de Cuba, Mesa Chijuilla, Penistaja Mesa, Ceja Pelón Mesa, Cejita Blanca and La Ventana-Elk Springs showcase the beauty of the San Juan Basin Badlands. With cliff-hanging bonsai ponderosa, character-laden old juniper and the largest petrified wood concentration anywhere in New Mexico, the San Juan Basin Badlands are a unique phenomenon that should be protected from the surrounding industrial development. These are important islands of biodiversity which rise above surrounding grasslands and act as key wildlife corridors, and refuges for native high desert vegetation and wildlife. 

    Two hundred million years of action-packed paleo-history unfold in eighteen chronological sedimentary layers. Thenearby Bisti –De-Na-Zin Wilderness alone has produced over 200 Cretacous fossil plants and animal species. Initial paleontological finds here in the early 1980’s spurred the establishment of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Several other Badlands such as Cejita Blanca and Ceja Pelon include internationally renowned Paleocene and Eocene mammal fossil research areas.

    More well known as a World Heritage Site, Chaco Culture National Historical Park rests in the center of this region. Although Chaco is currently protected as a park, oil and gas development has been proposed on the boundaries of the park. With over 20,000 acres of eligible wilderness within the park and several surveying errors that leave several important archeological sites unprotected, the threats to Chaco cannot be ignored.

    Our Vision

    Despite a massive influx of oil and gas development, the heart of this region is wild and beautiful country in need of protection. Our goal remains the Congressional protection of these lands. Currently, many of these areas are being squandered for wood cutting and being compromised because of lack of enforcement. Our goals with the San Juan Basin Badlands and Chaco proposals are to protect some of the key landscapes as Wilderness, create a National Monument, and add others to the important National Landscape Conservation System. 

    To succeed, we must build a coalition of groups—sportsmen, Native Americans, Latinos, conservationists, and scientists. We plan to work directly in the nearby community of Cuba that reflects the cultural influence of the region and uses much of the nearby landscape for wood harvesting.Our vision working with local communities is to raise the profile of these beautiful areas and work with the New Mexico Department of Tourism to expand the potential for eco-tourism and long-term sustainable development surrounding public lands.

    The lands that form the New Mexico portion of the Colorado Plateau deserve protection. We must preserve this landscape while helping support communities whose past and future is connected to these special islands of life.

     

  • Contacts:

    Nathan Newcomer, (505) 250-4225, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    John Cornell, (575) 740-1759, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    WASHINGTON, DC (September 21, 2011) – A delegation of representatives from New Mexico gathered in Washington this week to meet with the state’s Congressional delegation and to call on those elected officials to help implement the key recommendation from a new report; “Otero Mesa & America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise for Future Generations.” The report is aimed at helping move the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative forward in New Mexico and calls for permanently protecting Otero Mesa in Southeast New Mexico.

    “The Otero Mesa & America’s Great Outdoors report spells out point by point how this grassroots campaign fits perfectly into the goals and recommendations the Obama administration has set forth in the AGO initiative,” said Nathan Newcomer, Associate Director, with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “We have worked diligently to engage the public and garner local support from many diverse stakeholders, and now we are relying on President Obama to provide permanent protection for this iconic grassland through the America’s Great Outdoors initiative.”

    Staff from the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, and The Wilderness Society joined hundreds of others to celebrate Great Outdoors America Week or GO America Week.  In the heart of National Wilderness Month, hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life – high school students and adults, active members of the military and veterans, conservationists and business leaders, hunters and anglers, bikers and boaters – are in DC to celebrate America’s Great Outdoors, and ask their elected officials to protect our natural heritage.

    “As a mother who lives in rural New Mexico, I understand the importance of getting our children out into the great outdoors,” said Marie Vallejos of Alamogordo, New Mexico. “Otero Mesa is right in our backyard and offers numerous opportunities for scientific research, educational experiences and even future jobs for our community.”

    Go America Week could not have come at a more important time. In addition to pushing the Administration to protect valued public lands, including Otero Mesa, the groups are in Washington to bring clarity to the battle surrounding those lands.  America’s lands and waters are facing unprecedented attacks from a minority in Congress:

    • Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-22) has introduced risky legislation, The Great Outdoors Giveaway, that would give away our lands and waters to corporate polluters.
    • Devastating budget cuts have been made to our most needed programs, and further cuts could result in closures in our parks, refuges and other wild places.
    •  Several elected officials have introduced a suite of bills that would severely undercut the president’s ability to designate national monuments using the Antiquities Act.
    • A barrage of bills that would waive environmental regulations and destroy public lands on our nation’s borders, sell off our public lands, and eviscerate the Wilderness Act of 1964.

    “For sportsmen in the southwest, protected public lands mean everything to our culture, heritage and economy” said John Cornell of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Every year nearly 1 million people participate in hunting, fishing and wildlife watching activities in New Mexico, contributing $823 million to the state economy.”

  • Otero Mesa Commentary in Ruidoso News–October 26, 2011

    Ruidoso Pic 147x250

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