The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee just voted to advance three landmark public lands conservation bills that I have been proud to champion alongside local community stakeholders in New Mexico.
The M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act
designates portions of the Gila River, its watershed and other rivers in the Gila National Forest as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Greater Gila watershed comprises the largest remaining network of naturally free-flowing river segments in the Southwestern United States. The Gila and San Francisco watersheds absolutely deserve our nation’s highest form of protection and stewardship.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks about the M.H. Dutch Salmon Gila Wild and Scenic River Act before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 17, 2023.
The Buffalo Tract Protection Act
withdraws four parcels of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in southern Sandoval County, including the Buffalo Tract and the Crest of Montezuma, from any mineral development, including gravel mining. Earlier this year, I recently joined
U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury and Tribal and local leaders at Santa Ana Pueblo to showcase the growing momentum behind community-driven legislation to protect the Buffalo Tract.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks about the Buffalo Tract Protection Act before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 17, 2023.
The Committee also advanced my legislation to establish Cerro de la Olla Wilderness
within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico. For generations, people of the Taos area have hunted, gathered herbs, and collected firewood on the flanks of Cerro de la Olla. This proposed wilderness area would preserve traditional uses and provide sanctuary to a wide range of wildlife species, while maintaining current access routes to the peak.
Advancing these bills out of committee means that we are one huge step closer to protecting all three of these important New Mexico landscapes and watersheds.
United States Senator