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Heinrich Pushing Bill To Protect Pecos Watershed From Mining

US Senator Martin Heinrich was in Pecos on Friday to thank constituents for their support to protect the Pecos Watershed from mineral development.

Heinrich met with local leaders from around the Pecos Valley to discussthe bill he introducedwith Senator Ben Ray Lujan that would withdraw all federally-managed minerals in the watershed from development. A companion bill has been introduced in the House by Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez.  

He told them it was their work showing the dangers of such mining that made the legislation possible.

Heinich introduced similar legislation in September of 2020. He says he’s hopeful this time the bill will be approved by the full body. 

“This is just one of the cleanest and most productive watersheds in the state and it’s a community that really relies on that clean water and so the amount of support here to protect this watershed, it’s so deep and so wide that I really think this is an effort that’s got a lot of legs,” he said. “They are incredibly organized and diverse. When you get a community this united around a legislative proposal, you never know exactly when it’s going to move but I have enormous faith that we are going to be able to get this done because of the breath of this community effort.”

In 1991, a spill of toxic waste from a closed mine killed fish for more than an 11 mile stretch of the Pecos River.

It took decades and millions of dollars to clean up the damage from the spill. Heinrich says the last thing the area needs is more threats to its environment from more proposed mining operations.