August 14, 2020

NM Delegation Celebrates Great American Outdoors Act Becoming Law

VIDEO: N.M. Delegation Celebrates Great American Outdoors Act Becoming Law 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) joined the conservation community in New Mexico for a virtual celebration of the Great American Outdoors Act being signed into law.

The delegation participated in a panel discussion moderated by New Mexico Wild Executive Director Mark Allison and highlighted the incredible efforts and contributions of members from New Mexico Wild, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, the Partnership for Responsible Business, The Wilderness Society, The Nature Conservancy, New Mexico Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Audubon New Mexico, Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the Trust for Public Land, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, Trout Unlimited, and Defenders of Wildlife.

The Great American Outdoors Act is bipartisan, bicameral legislation cosponsored by the entire New Mexico delegation that fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and makes record investments in the infrastructure that improves public lands access and visitor experience and will grow New Mexico's outdoor recreation economy.

“The Great American Outdoors Act is a momentous conservation victory for New Mexico and for the entire nation,” said Udall, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. “But it was only possible because of overwhelming public support for conservation, and years of dedication from a tireless coalition of conservation champions, sportsmen, community leaders, Native leaders, and their allies in Congress. The full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund will finally allow us to realize the promise of our nation’s most successful conservation program – the promise envisioned by my father Stewart, when he helped create the LWCF decades ago. Meanwhile, the substantial down-payment this bill makes to repair and clean up our national parks and public lands will help safeguard these precious places for decades to come, while providing a boost for New Mexico’s outdoor economy at a time of need. This law is a model for how conservation and economic recovery can go hand in hand. And it can help us achieve the urgent national goal of protecting 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. Let’s build on this success so that we can face down the crises threatening our planet and chart a better future for our children.” 

“Amid the significant challenges we face as a nation, I am proud to recognize all of the New Mexicans who worked for years to make this enormous, bipartisan victory for the places we all love possible. This historic new law will make the greatest investment in our lifetime in America’s public lands and outdoor spaces,” said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “The Great American Outdoors Act will create new opportunities for Americans all across the country to get outside. I am so grateful to the broad coalition of sportsmen, conservationists, veterans, outdoor industry business owners, and many others in New Mexico and across the country who value our public lands and want to protect them for future generations to enjoy.”

“New Mexicans know that our breathtaking landscapes and natural resources are a blessing. That’s why we saw broad support for the Great American Outdoors Act in our state,” said Luján. “From conservationists and sportsmen to local mayors, county commissioners, and business owners, New Mexicans were key to getting this legislation across the finish line. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment to this effort, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to protect New Mexico’s natural treasures.”

“We have an obligation to future generations to protect our earth. As leaders, when we have the opportunity to move a bill like the Great American Outdoors Act forward, we jump at that chance. Today’s Great American Outdoors Act celebration is a testament to ensuring these places and future outdoor spaces are supported for families well into the future. Plus, we will now be able to create jobs by aggressively addressing deferred maintenance, improve visitor services, and support tribal communities in places like Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Parks, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and El Malpais National Monument. Our delegation has been a dream team to get this done for New Mexico,” said Haaland, Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee.

“The Great American Outdoors Act is an incredible achievement, one we could only have accomplished through working together. This legislation is the result of decades of hard work, with New Mexicans from across the state fighting hard to push this bill over the finish line," said Torres Small. "I am honored to have worked with Republicans, Democrats and President Trump on this years-long effort to get the Great American Outdoors Act signed into law. As we continue to deal with impacts of COVID-19, permanent and full funding of LWCF will help put New Mexico on the path to economic recovery and protect our public lands and shared heritage for generations to come.”