New Mexico AG urges feds to protect national monuments

Las Cruces
Las Cruces

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says any effort to rescind the designation of the state’s two newest national monuments would be short-sighted and reckless.

Balderas on Monday sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, outlining his support for Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The two are among 27 monuments where a review ordered by President Donald Trump might remove protections previously considered irreversible.

Balderas argues that in a state with high poverty and joblessness, the monuments help make up one bright spot in the economy. He says outdoor recreation is a multibillion-dollar industry for New Mexico.

In southern New Mexico, the mayors of Las Cruces, Mesilla and Anthony gathered with other supporters Monday to speak in favor of the monuments.