Earth Matters / Desert Peaks National Monument – Part 2

Welcome to Earth Matters and Part Two of the public hearing on the proposed Organ Mountains / Desert Peaks National MonumentNathan Newcomer – NM Wilderness Alliance Grassroots Organizer for the Gila Region – attended this public hearing in Las Cruces on Friday 21 January 2014.

As you can see, there was a capacity+ turnout and in response to Interior Secretary Jewell’s request for a show of hands, “the majority of attendees were in favor of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal.

Photo by Raymond Watt from NM Wild Spring 2014 newsletter

Photo by Raymond Watt from NM Wild Spring 2014 newsletter

This installment begins with the final comments from invited stakeholders and then turns to the floor for public comment.  Prospective speakers were given numbers which were then drawn to select the speakers.  A broad range of opinions and perspectives were presented.

The primary point of departure was the size of the proposal by US Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich – approximately 500,000 acres – with the largest minority supporting US Representative Steve Pearce‘s alternative for a much smaller monument designation.  Only a few – apparently the most avid ranching, economic and pro-growth development interests – opposed any monument.

Beneath claims of support for a truncated monument designation and even more so among those opposed altogether was a clear and strong aversion to a potential executive order that would preempt Congressional obstructionists who have refused repeatedly over several years to act on the proposed monument as they have routinely on almost all legislation that challenges a pro-corporate / pro-development agenda.

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Earth Matters / Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument / Part 2

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