For Immediate Release
Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011
Contact: Gabe Vasquez, Executive Director, Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces
Contact: Elisa Cundiff, Executive Director Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
Hispano, Green Chambers of Commerce Applaud Reintroduction of Wilderness Protection Bill
Las Cruces, N.M. – The Las Cruces Hispano and Green Chambers of Commerce joined today to applaud the reintroduction of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act – now known as the Organ Mountains-Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act – into Congress.
The Organ Mountains-Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, seeks to create wilderness and conservation areas in Doña Ana County that provide for continued public use while protecting the granite peaks and foothills of the Organ Mountains, as well as the volcanic cinder cones of the Potrillo Mountains, among other public lands in the county.
“This legislation will be a tremendous asset in our ability to recruit good companies and jobs to Doña Ana County,” said John Munoz, President of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces. “Entrepreneurs want to live in an area with a high quality of life for them and their families. Protecting Doña Ana County’s incredible wilderness areas will play an important role in securing our quality of life and our economic future.”
When the bill was introduced during the last session of Congress, the bill was given a unanimous “voice vote” approval, clearing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Both Bingaman and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall were sponsors of the bill.
“Numerous studies have shown that communities with protected lands nearby have higher than average personal income growth and job creation. The reason is simple – people are attracted to the high quality of life associated with beautiful views, undisturbed wild lands, recreation, cultural and historical landmarks, clean air and water, and diverse wildlife. If passed by Congress, this legislation will be a boost to businesses in Doña Ana County, creating more jobs in the recreation and tourism industries and continuing to attract people who want to live and work here. We can’t thank Senators Bingaman and Udall enough for their efforts.” said Renee Frank, President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce.
Much of the wilderness area targeted for protection by the new legislation has been managed as a “Wilderness Study Area,” a Bureau of Land Management designation, since the 1980s when the Reagan Administration set it aside for protected status. If passed, the bill would create about 241,400 acres of wilderness and 99,150 acres of National Conservation Area (NCA). These areas would then be managed in ways that protect the landscape and environment from development while preserving existing uses – such as hunting, hiking and grazing.
About the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces: The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces, through its diverse membership, advocates for business growth in the community and promotes Las Cruces and Hispanic business owners through economic development, education, community service, and cultural awareness. The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces was initiated in 1992 as the Hispano Chamber of Doña Ana County, and in 1994 incorporated as The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces. The original founders consisted of a group of businesspersons interested in developing a support organization for small, Hispanic businesses.
About the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce: The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, a chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, is a network of businesses dedicated to building a healthy, vibrant, and diverse local economy in Las Cruces and the surrounding areas. The mission of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce is to foster the success of the local economy and to promote businesses committed to environmental and social responsibility.