Yesterday, I was proud to pass the Buffalo Tract Protection Act out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This legislation would withdraw four small parcels of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land just north of Albuquerque near Placitas, including the Buffalo Tract and the Crest of Montezuma, from mineral development. This area is already home to three gravel mines, which have negatively impacted the air and water quality of the area.
Numerous local residents have shared their concerns with me about the future of these lands and the potential damage that would result from gravel mining. Mineral development would negatively impact public health, quality of life, and water supplies. The Crest of Montezuma and the Buffalo Tract are home to important ecosystems and have been used by communities along the Rio Grande Valley for centuries. These lands act as critical connections for wildlife moving between the Sandia Mountains to the south and the Sangre de Christo Mountains to the north. They also provide invaluable recreational open space in this growing area.
This legislation strikes an appropriate balance and reflects carefully gathered input from local communities and stakeholders. The vote by the committee to advance this bill is a victory for the Pueblo of Santa Ana, the Pueblo of San Felipe, the Town of Bernalillo, Sandoval County, the people of Placitas, the Merced Comunidad de San Antonio de las Huertas, and everyone in this community who has fought this issue so hard for more than a decade. I am optimistic that we will be able to include the Buffalo Tract Protection Act in a larger package from our committee that we can vote on in the full Senate early next year.
Thank you to all the New Mexicans who have engaged with my office on this issue. As always, I encourage you to write to me about this or other issues important to you and your community.
United States Senator