Bill Proposes To Protect 240,000 Acres In NM

Feb 8, 2013

Photo of Ute Mountain courtesy of Stuart Wilde

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are renewing a push to protect more than 240,000 acres of federal land in northern New Mexico.

Legislation has once again been introduced that would set up the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area. Efforts to protect the area have been ongoing since 2009.

John Olivas, Northern Director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance says the delay has been caused by a divided congress. He says the Republican-controlled House has been reluctant to pass legislation that works on land protection, or conservation measures.

“Over the past couple of congresses, there’s been efforts to get this legislation past. But because we can’t get it through the House of Representatives, that’s been the hold up.”

According to Olivas, potential oil and gas development are concern for environmentalists. The land is part of a major watershed that exists in the area.