December 05, 2017

Udall Blasts Interior Department’s ‘Sham’ Report on National Monument Designations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, lead Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the Interior Department, issued the following statement about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s report to President Trump on his review of national monuments, including the two in New Mexico, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte:

“Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte help drive New Mexico’s outdoor recreation and tourism economy; they sustain hundreds good jobs, and they are part of what makes our state a wonderful place to visit and live. I will continue reviewing this report carefully, but Senator Heinrich and I identified a number of errors in Secretary Zinke’s draft report in September — which were based on hearsay and bad data — and it appears that he’s still relying on that wrong information. While Secretary Zinke has assured me that he doesn’t plan major changes, the question of New Mexico’s monuments is now in President Trump’s hands. Until we see what the president will sign, this fight is not over, and New Mexicans should keep calling and writing and making their voices heard.

“The president doesn’t have the legal authority to unilaterally revoke or shrink the boundaries. And when it comes to decisions about the future of public lands, Americans deserve an open and above-board approach – not the sham process the Trump administration has used to try to justify loosening protections. President Trump and Secretary Zinke withheld information from Congress and the public, declined public meetings about their plans, made recommendations in secret, announced part of their decision, and — only then — released a report attempting to legitimize their conclusions. New Mexicans, and the American people were right to be suspicious of the administration’s motives. And after President Trump’s proclamation drastically cutting and re-shaping Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, New Mexicans and the American people are right to be outraged.”

Yesterday, Udall issued a statement about the president’s decision to dramatically roll back Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. It can be found here.