It is time for Doña Ana County residents to stand up to the special interests and support the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal.
We are heir to the beautiful heritage of the Organ Mountains, and it’s our civic responsibility to preserve them for future generations. That is why it is so important for us to support the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal.
Rancher and President Theodore Roosevelt stated it best: “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.” Also, it will boost our local economy – more jobs!
However, a few ranchers and Tea Party members oppose this legislation for dubious reasons and constantly voice anti-federal government rhetoric. There is the constant harping about border security and watersheds.
Unfortunately, these individuals are entirely misguided and politicizing these important matters.
One of their key criticisms is about the restrictive aspects of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and 1980. Ironically both pieces of legislation were largely written under the supervision of the powerful ranching interests. The legislation entrenches livestock grazing interests in our national wilderness preservation system for all time.
The ranching industry even pressured the Bureau of Land Management to lower the federal grazing fee to only $1.35 per animal unit per month – the lowest amount in years. It must be remembered that taxpayers are subsidizing federal grazing. The federal government spends at least $144 million each year managing the private livestock grazing but collects only $21 million in grazing fees.
This is for only 18,000 public-land ranchers all over the country and 157 million acres of public land.
Pearce’s forum a façade and sham
Southern New Mexico residents should also know that Congressman Pearce had a private and secret dinner meeting on April 30 with developers associated with the Builders Trust of New Mexico and the New Mexico Home Builders Association, both of Albuquerque. This is revealed in a series of e-mails dated April 30, May 1 and May 4. It was to develop a strategy to undermine the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal and to gain support for the congressman’s “pro-developer” position.
After a surely “hearty meal,” this cabal then told the New Mexico Home Builders Association and the Las Cruces Building Association to e-mail members to support Congressman Steve Pearce’s miniature national monument by attending Mr. Pearce’s so-called public forum.
Here is part of the May 1 e-mail from the Builders Trust: “Several of us had dinner with Congressman Pierce (sic) and his people and they asked if our Las Cruces contingent could get some folks over to this event to support Pierce’s (sic) PRO DEVELOPER position.”
Congressman Pearce’s forum was a façade and a sham. Obviously the Pearce proposal will allow developers to build in the Desert Peaks area and the Organ Mountains foothills. This is a travesty. Frontiersman Davy Crockett best described these political antics by Congressman Steve Pearce: ”There ain’t no ticks like poly-ticks. Bloodsuckers all.”
It is clear that Congressman Pearce is tied up with the special interests. He does not seem concerned about our community. By the way, here is a question for Mr. Pearce – who paid for dinner?
Preserve this important heritage
It is time for Doña Ana County residents to stand up to the special interests and support the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal. Doña Ana County residents should write to President Obama and ask him to establish a national monument for the Organ Mountains-desert peaks area before it is carved up by the special interests.
Let’s preserve this important heritage for the present and unborn generations.
Greg Lennes, a retired businessman, lives in Las Cruces.