In New Mexico, Trump’s monument review stirs passions

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Desert ranchers and two of the New Mexico’s most prominent Republican politicians are hoping the new GOP administration in Washington will dramatically shrink a recently designated national monument in the south of the state.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is among 24 monuments where a review has been ordered by President Donald Trump that might remove protections previously considered irreversible.

The review is rekindling a fierce debate about oversight of lands where outlaw Billy the Kid and Apache leader Geronimo once sought refuge.

Defenders of the monument say it attracts tourists and professionals who value outdoor recreation.

Rep. Steve Pearce calls the monument just one example of federal interference with a struggling rural economy.

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says the federal government should release valued state land.