Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Criticize Congress’s Inability to Reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund
Las Cruces, NM: Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (FOMDP), an organization dedicated to celebrating and highlighting the benefits of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, criticized the 115th Congress for failing to include reauthorization of the Land & Water Conservation (LWCF), which expired on September 30th, in the Continuing Resolution that is passing today to keep the federal government funded until February 8th.
“LWCF has been the most effective conservation tool available to state and local governments as well as federal agencies to protect valuable local and state parks, national monuments, and other public lands across New Mexico,” said Patrick Nolan, Executive Director of FOMDP. “Today is a sad day for supporters of our public lands and people who frequent the parks, playgrounds, and other community areas that have improved through LWCF funds. Fundamentally, that’s nearly every New Mexican!”
Over the course of the last fifty-three years, more than $315 million has been invested in projects across New Mexico, almost entirely from royalties from off-shore oil and gas development.
“LWCF was created by Congress in 1965 with the primary purpose of protecting parks and other public lands across the country. LWCF has been utilized in our National Monument, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, to insure access and protection,” said New Mexico State Representative Angelica Rubio. “Thanks to LWCF, our families can access and explore New Mexico places like Soledad Canyon, Achenbach Canyon and Peña Blanca. Without LWCF, there is no telling if public enjoyment of these and thousands of other natural areas across our nation would even be possible.”
Since LWCF expired in September, it has lost nearly $200 million in funding from off-shore oil and gas drilling royalties. This hinders both current and prospective projects and effects the many Americans that use these lands.
“FOMDP calls on the 116th congress to act immediately to permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF, so that this valuable resource continues to be an effective conservation tool,” said Fernando Clemente, Board President of OMDP. “We look forward to working with Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Elect Xochitl Torres Small to make this a reality”
About the Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks:
Established in 2012, The Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is a Las Cruces-based nonprofit that seeks to enrich our community and diverse culture through advocacy, conservation and restoration of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as a premier example of America’s National Conservation Lands. (www.organmountainsdesertpeaks.org)