January 9, 2014
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders in Doña Ana County and from across New Mexico, have penned a letter to President Barack Obama, asking the President to use the powers granted him by the Antiquities Act to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument. The letter was signed by leaders representing over 100 New Mexico businesses.
One goal of the letter was to outline the significant economic impact that an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would have on nearby communities.
“There are piles of evidence demonstrating the ways in which national monuments strengthen local economies,” said Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce. “A new national monument at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks would boost our growing tourism industry, create new jobs, and attract new businesses to our community. Economically speaking, there is no downside.”
The letter cites a recent economic study that projects the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would contribute $7.4 million in additional local annual economic activity and create 88 new jobs in the area. Local business owners, such as Jenifer Russin of Russin Reporting, LLC in Las Cruces, are optimistic about this potential for economic growth.
“When you look at all the data surrounding what this national monument could do for our community, it is hard not to get excited about the prospects,” Russin said. “It is clear that my business as well as other types of businesses would greatly benefit from the increase in awareness about our county, in tourism to the area and the additional revenue that comes along with that.”
Despite the efforts of New Mexico’s two Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who have introduced a bill, S. 1805, to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the letter notes that a “deeply divided congress” has failed to act on important conservation issues in recent years. Thus, the letter implores the President to use his powers to create the new monument, thereby benefitting southern New Mexico’s economy while also preserving the historically significant places found within the region.
“So much is at stake here,” Laura E. Sanchez, CEO of the New Mexico Green Chamber said.”Not only would the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument help our economy, it would ensure the protection of places important to our shared heritage, such as the Butterfield Stagecoach Route, critical sites along the Camino Real and areas of spiritual importance to Native American communities. We hope this letter, along with the efforts of Senators Udall and Heinrich, will convince the President that creating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is the right thing to do.”
The signed letter to President Obama can be viewed by clicking here.