New Mexico’s Enchanting and Imperiled Organ Mountain – Desert Peaks National Monument
Across the US, you’ll find places of stunning natural beauty and rich ecological value. But none are enchanting in quite the same way as the jagged mountain peaks just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico in Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration is set to greenlight destructive private development on these gorgeous public lands.1
Organ Mountain – Desert Peaks National Monument
Situated in Doña Ana County near the US-Mexico border, Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument boasts one-of-a-kind natural beauty and picturesque vistas of the undisturbed desert sky.
The monument contains thousands of Native American archaeological sites.2 And mountain lions, foxes, desert mule deer and javelina all roam the wilds of the monument, living undisturbed by the nearby and rapidly expanding city of Las Cruces.3
Unfortunately, the Trump administration — and Interior Secretary Zinke specifically — has a different vision for this special place.
In his final memo on the administration’s four-month review of 27 national monuments, Zinke calls for “a broader set of activities in New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks…”4 But those activities could very well wreak havoc on monument lands.
Livestock interests want expanded grazing access on these public lands. That could bring additional conflicts with the majestic mountain lions who live here. The urban population nearby is also booming, raising the very really prospect that access to public lands will be limited for the benefit of real estate and livestock interests.
Perhaps even more concerning, rare earth mineral deposits are thought to exist in the area. Mining such minerals can create tremendous devastation, producing 2,000 tons of toxic waste for every ton of minerals processed.5
How You Can Help
Both of New Mexico’s US senators, two-thirds of its congressional delegation and local and tribal leaders have all argued against destructive development in the monument. Now these leaders need to know that we stand with them. 6,7
1. Juliet Eilperin, “Shrink at least 4 national monuments and modify a half-dozen others, Zinke tells Trump,” The Washington Post, September 17, 2017.
2. “Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Fact Sheet,” New Mexico Wilderness Alliance website, retrieved online January 25, 2018.
3. “The Monument,” New Mexico Wilderness Alliance website, retrieved online January 25, 2018.
4. Juliet Eilperin, “Shrink at least 4 national monuments and modify a half-dozen others, Zinke tells Trump,” The Washington Post, September 17, 2017.
5. Jonathan Kaiman, “Rare earth mining in China: the bleak social and environmental costs,” The Guardian, March 20, 2014.
6. “Press Release: Members Of NM Delegation Outline Widespread Inaccuracies In DOI Monuments Report; Urge White House To Reject Recommendations,” Office of Senator Martin Heinrich, September 26, 2017.
7. “Supporters,” New Mexico Wilderness Alliance website, retrieved online January 25, 2018.