On June 16th, US Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall introduced a bill now known as S. 3049. It is called the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks Conservation Act.
Does the name sound familiar? It should! Just over two years ago, a new National Monument with the same name was "created" by President Obama's proclamation. The new National Monument was just short of 500,000 acres and purported to provide needed protection to several areas near Las Cruces.
Now the new bill aims to convert almost exactly half of that half million acres to the most restrictive of all land uses: Wilderness!
Of course the radical greens (and New Mexico's esteemed Senators) are considerably more greedy than what was indicated by the original National Monument established only two years ago. Of the Wilderness areas proposed, the “Broad Canyon Wilderness” did not previously exist as a Wilderness Study Area, the “Robledos Mountain Wilderness” is significantly larger than the previous WSA of the same name, the “Potrillo Mountain Wilderness” is not only significantly larger, it now encompasses areas that were not even in the National Monument Designation (Parcel A). They are pulling the same stunt on the east side of I-25 with an additional 7800 acres withdrawn that was not even within the original monument.
Another really nice “radical green” stunt was to put a provision within the bill that states that the second that the Secretary of the Interior declares that the communications site on top of Signal Peak is no longer in use, the site and the road to it magically disappear and "Poof"...it becomes Wilderness. Please read the Wilderness Act of 1964 and tell me how that cannot be in conflict with the intent of the original Act.
We have not yet had the time to crawl through the maps of the proposed areas in detail to discover what existing routes would be lost to the Wilderness designation. Knowing that WSA’s don’t preclude existing roads and that there has been considerable new ground (not previously WSA’s) included, we are certain that the existing routes impacted will be considerable.
What can be done? Make noise! Only Congress can designate Wilderness and this Wilderness won't happen until both houses of Congress pass the bill. The radical greens are claiming “78 percent of residents in Doña Ana County support legislation to protect wilderness” within the existing monument (according to their own New Mexico Wilderness Alliance sponsored poll). We need to ensure that Congress and the media find out that New Mexico's citizens DON'T support even more Wilderness down south. Let them hear it!
Below you can read the text of the entire bill and examine the maps: