WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at reviewing national monument designations made by his predecessors, including the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments in New Mexico:
“Any effort by President Trump to undermine the Antiquities Act, shrink, or even eliminate some of the most iconic American places will be met with fierce opposition. Since President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, presidents from both political parties have used the law to protect the places we all treasure and are integral parts of who we are as Americans.
“In recent years, I’ve been proud to stand with communities who worked for years in New Mexico to establish two of the most spectacular places in our state—the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments. I was also pleased to support New Mexico tribes like the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo, who were part of an Inter-Tribal Coalition that called for the designation of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. The thousands of historic and cultural sites within this stunning landscape play a prominent role in the oral histories, traditions, and ceremonies of regional tribes.
“Not only are our national monuments, national parks, and public lands critical to conserving our historical, cultural, and natural heritage, but they are also good for business. According to a report released this week, the outdoor recreation economy creates $887 billion in annual consumer spending and directly supports 7.6 million jobs. In New Mexico, outdoor recreation generates 68,000 jobs and $6.1 billion of annual economic activity.
“New Mexicans’ livelihoods are rooted in our open spaces. Any effort to wipe national monuments from the map should not be mistaken for the mainstream values of Westerners whose way of life depends on the region’s land and water. And any review of our national monuments must incorporate the American public. But rushed decisions that willfully defy our core American values seems to be par for the course for our new president.
“I for one won’t stand for this un-American action. I urge the American people to make their voices heard to stand up for our nation’s conservation legacy, our obligation to respect tribal sovereignty, and for the places that make us who we are as Americans."