ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) lead a press conference at REI in Albuquerque with public lands, tribal, and community coalitions in opposition to President Donald Trump's executive order that could unravel dozens of national monuments, including Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Río Grande del Norte in New Mexico.
Over 2.8 million comments were submitted opposing the Department of the Interior’s unprecedented national monument review. In New Mexico, strong majorities of more than 80 percent want to keep protections for existing national monuments in place.
“I’ve been so proud to stand with the local communities who worked for so many years in New Mexico to establish the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments. These national monuments were the culmination of decades of advocacy from a broad coalition of local businesses, sportsmen, tribal and Hispanic leaders, veterans, faith leaders, and many other community members across New Mexico who have long recognized the national treasures in their backyards and knew they should be conserved for future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Heinrich. “New Mexicans have spoken with a loud and unified voice. We like our national monuments like they are. Any changes that reduce their protection would be disrespectful to everyone who worked so hard to establish them and could put at risk the vibrant economies that we are building around monument recreation and tourism. I will continue to stand up for our nation’s conservation legacy and oppose any effort by the Trump Administration to turn back the clock on the progress we’ve made to protect the places we all own and love.”
“We in the outdoor industry are building a sustainable economy and a sustainable movement for the future of America. Together, our companies are making towns across the country stronger, driving enormous value into our rural and urban communities,” said Marc Berejka REI Director of Community & Government Affairs. “I think it’s fair to say we all stand inspired by this broader, united community, stepping up for monuments and public lands, committed to making an ongoing difference -- and emboldened by the positive impact we are having in our country. At REI, we will continue to work hard to make a difference by leaving the outdoors and our public lands healthier for our loved ones and future generations.”
Additional speakers included Garrett VeneKlasen, Executive Director of New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Michael Casaus, New Mexico State Director of The Wilderness Society, Julia Bernal of Pueblo Action Alliance, Taos Town Councilor Darien Fernandez, and Eddie Paul Torres, Chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors and former Governor of Isleta Pueblo. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham also attended the event. Video of the press conference is available on Senator Heinrich’s Facebook page.
According to a report released by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), which is the largest and most comprehensive state-by-state report of its kind, outdoor recreation supports health, contributes to a high quality of life, and attracts and sustains employers and families. The outdoor recreation economy in New Mexico generates 99,000 direct jobs, $9.9 billion in consumer spending, $2.8 billion in wages and salaries, and $623 million in state and local tax revenue. Earlier this year, OIA released its national Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, which found that the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending and directly sustains 7.6 million American jobs annually.