Major Victories for New Mexico Public Lands
Living in a state that proudly calls itself the Land of Enchantment, I know how much our public lands mean to New Mexicans. These are the places where generations of families have gone to explore our natural wonders and learn about our rich history and culture. They also fuel a thriving outdoor recreation economy that supports nearly 100,000 jobs in our state.
That's why I am so proud that the Senate just passed a landmark package of bipartisan legislation that I have championed to protect our public lands, create new outdoor recreation opportunities, and build on the success of our nation's most effective conservation programs. I hope you can take a moment to watch and share a speech I delivered on the Senate Floor last week highlighting some of the major victories in this bill for New Mexico.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich delivers floor remarks on landmark conservation achievements in the public lands package, February 6, 2019.
First and foremost, I am proud that we passed two bills to advance the community-driven conservation visions for New Mexico's two newest national monuments: the Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. These two monuments protect places New Mexicans have long recognized as national treasures in their backyards. Under this legislation we are advancing the community's vision for these spectacular landscapes by protecting the most rugged and unique habitats in each monument as wilderness.
The public lands package also includes my bipartisan bill, the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which will allow every fourth-grader in America to visit our nation's parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and public lands free of charge-and bring their families along with them. I am so excited that we are encouraging a new generation of kids to explore the rich natural and cultural history on display in our parks, forests, and monuments.
We also permanently reauthorized what I believe has been one of America's most successful conservation programs: the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In New Mexico, LWCF has protected iconic landscapes like the Valles Caldera, Ute Mountain, and Valle de Oro, without costing taxpayers a single dime. It has also provided for community projects like baseball and soccer fields, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Now we will no longer need to worry year after year about renewing this clearly successful program.
In a frustrating political time in Washington, when it can be difficult to find any areas of agreement, I am so pleased that we have found a way forward on these important bills. And I am so thankful to all the New Mexicans who played a role in getting these conservation victories over the finish line.
I have no doubt that these measures will go a long way toward ensuring that the outdoor places we all treasure will be protected for future generations of Americans to enjoy.
United States Senator