In April President Trump instructed the Department of the Interior to review Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks's monument designation. On Aug 24th, according to a leaked copy of his report, Secretary Zinke recommended erasing protections: allowing mining, logging and drilling in currently protected areas and leaving open the possibility of shrinking the monument.
State: New Mexico
Established: May 21, 2014
What is Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Known For?"In southern New Mexico, surrounding the city of Las Cruces in the Río Grande's fertile Mesilla Valley, five iconic mountain ranges rise above Chihuahuan Desert grasslands: the Robledo, Sierra de las Uvas, Doña Ana, Organ, and Potrillo Mountains. These mountain ranges and lowlands form the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area." (Proclamation)
Why is Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Threatened?The Organ Mountains are in Dona Ana County, which has had one of the fastest growth rates in New Mexico for decades. Due to high demand and affordable land prices, development continues to spread. Removing national monument protections could make it possible for the Bureau of Land Management to sell these precious public lands for development.
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks has also been found to contain rare earth minerals, and if left unprotected, could potentially see the devastating impacts of mining on the land and environment. Rare earth mineral mining has especially severe environmental impacts, producing 2000 tons of toxic waste for every ton of minerals processed.
What can we do?We can challenge President Trump and Secretary Zinke's unprecedented move to potentially ERASE protections for Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks. The legal case against the president is strong -- the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 affirmed that only Congress has the authority to modify national monuments. But in addition to lawsuits we need the Senators from New Mexico to do all they can to make sure Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks protections remain in place.
Both Sens. Udall and Heinrich support Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks. We want to make sure they know we agree with them and challenge them to do even more to protect it.