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Heinrich Speaks Out Against Executive Order Reviewing National Monuments

Apr 28, 2017

Credit U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

This week, President Donald Trump issued an Antiquities Act executive order that calls for a review of national monuments designated back to the beginning of 1996 with 100, 000 acres or more. The move also opens the monuments up for review for possible modifications. U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich has spoken out against the executive order and he says he will work to protect New Mexico’s newly designated national monuments.

“I think the President has been deeply out of touch on this, and if he were serious about listening to the voices of local communities, he would look at monuments like Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National and Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico as the gold standard of how you start at the grassroots level,” says Heinrich.

The Democratic Senator says the conservation movement to get both monuments established in New Mexico had local investment that worked hard to find a way to reach the federal level. 

“They’re barking up the wrong tree on this one, and I’m going to stand with New Mexicans to make sure that we keep our national monuments and all the jobs and revenue that they help create,” says Heinrich.

Heinrich says that he has already spoken with The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke about New Mexico’s monuments and that they have investment from the communities in the state, and he believes that communities will stand up for the monuments.

“It is the voices of local people who will decide how they spend their limited political capital,” says Heinrich. Heinrich says that there are active communities around the monuments in Southern and Northern New Mexico and that will be key to the future. 

While signing the executive order, President Trump called President Obama’s monument designations an “egregious abuse of power” signaling that recent designations may be a political tool for sitting presidents to take advantage of. Heinrich disagrees that designations are a political tool for President Obama, because he says here in New Mexico, the monument designations started at the local level.

“The Obama administration didn’t come knocking on the door in New Mexico and say we want to do this, we carried the voices of New Mexico to President Obama,” says Heinrich.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn's office released a statement that President Trump’s Executive Order could impact ongoing negotiations between the State of New Mexico and The Federal Government on state owned land surface and mineral rights with the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. http://www.nmstatelands.org/uploads/PressRelease/7c63bfca932547d89f9afbbc8739d0aa/Rio_Grande_del_Norte_Land_Exchange__4_.pdf

Heinrich says that is one way that the state may be impacted negatively because it could impact the work being done on a land swap that helps put money into New Mexico’s permanent fund that supports education in the state.  

“What the President did was put at risk an awful lot of progress that could help New Mexico’s school kids,” says Heinrich.