WASHINGTON – Today, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to protect portions of the Pecos Watershed in northern New Mexico from mineral development received a key hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining.
The Pecos Watershed Protection Act would withdraw all federally-managed minerals in the watershed and would prevent leasing, patent, or sale of all publicly-owned minerals, including oil and gas as well as gold, silver, copper, and other hard rock minerals.
In the hearing, Senator Heinrich expressed the community support behind the Pecos Watershed Protection Act and how “the Pecos watershed is one of those places where the community has come together and said that the river at the heart of this valley, and at the heart of this community, is literally the most important thing we can protect and pass on to our heirs.” Senator Heinrich also noted that many community members are still reeling from a spill of toxic waste from a closed mine in the 1990s that took decades and millions of dollars to clean up.
A list of witnesses, testimony, and the archived webcast of today's hearing is available here.