As military veterans, we served our country, fighting and sacrificing for the lands of the free. There is no better representation of that than our public lands.

Public lands are places veterans can take family and friends to reconnect after stressful missions abroad without modern distractions. These are qualities that benefit not just veterans alone but our whole society.

  • Veterans in Western states strongly favor protecting public lands for future generations.
  • Despite 2/3’s of Dona Ana County residents having a positive view of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and opposing any reduction to it, Steve Pearce continues to call for an 88% reduction in the size of the monument.

It distresses us that Congressman Steve Pearce keeps trying to reduce protections for public lands that we treasure, including Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, often in the interests of his donors[1] over the interests of New Mexicans.

Our commitment to our public lands did not end when we took off the uniform. It’s time for Steve Pearce to Step Up and stand with fellow veterans in support of public lands.

Pearce co-sponsored bills:

H.R.5836 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) – Would authorize the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to dispose of federal lands under their respective jurisdictions by offering them for sale or exchange to units of local government in accordance with this bill.

H.R.1581 — 112th Congress (2011-2012) – Would remove Wilderness Study Areas and Inventoried Roadless Areas designation/protections afforded to tens millions of acres of western public lands.

HR 2852 — 112th Congress (2011-2012) – Would allow the Western States to select 5 percent of the federal mineral, oil, and/or gas land within their borders to be handed over to the State.

H.R.3155 — 112th Congress (2011-2012) – Would prohibit the administrative withdrawal from uranium mining of public land surrounding the Grand Canyon to protect water and communities.

Pearce-sponsored bills:

H.R.3478 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) – Would remove Wilderness Study Areas designation/protections from public lands in the Luna and Hidalgo Counties in New Mexico.

H.R.995 — 113th Congress (2013-2014) – This bill would designate portions of the Organ Mountains as a National Monument but would remove Wilderness Study Areas designation/protections from the Organ Mountains, Organ Needles, and Pena Blanca Wilderness Study Areas; thus HR 995 would result in a net loss of protection for public lands. In addition, Pearce’s proposed monument was dramatically smaller than that proposed by Senators Udall and Heinrich (and ultimately established by President Obama) and neglected over 400,000 acres of public lands rich in historic, archaeological, scientific, and cultural resources.

More on Pearce’s record:

House Roll Call Vote 6 115th Congress (2017-2018) – Pearce voted for House Resolution 5 which included language stating “a conveyance of Federal land to a state, local government, or tribal entity shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending or increasing outlays.” This language greases the skids for Congress to dispose of our public lands by exempting such conveyances (i.e., donations, exchanges, or sales) from House requirements that any bill that adds to the federal deficit must include a financial offset.  Thus, federal land conveyance legislation is exempt from such ledger balancing and, in essence, our public lands can be given away for below-market value or even $0.

Steve Pearce has passed on several opportunities in the last few years to support the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For example, he did not co-sponsor H.R.502 in the 115th Congress or H.R.1814 or H.R.4151 in the 114th Congress nor has he supported full funding of LWCF. LWCF has benefitted.

House Roll Call Vote 264 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) – Pearce voted no on a motion to Instruct Conferees to the House and Senate conference committee for S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, to accept Section 5002 of the Energy Policy and Modernization Act — a permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for inclusion in the final conference report.

Dear Congressman Pearce:

 

We value clean air, affordable renewable energy, and protected public lands where we can fish, hunt, hike and/or spend time with our families and friends. Working to protect these elements of life in New Mexico is not only good for our well-being but is also good for our economy. We are concerned that your policy actions disregard and work to undermine these values.

 

To Step Up and chart a different course, we ask that you:

 

• Stop trying to shrink Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

• Support full funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

• Work to ensure our land managers have the resources they need to be good stewards of our public lands.

• Oppose legislation that would sell off or transfer our public lands to states or otherwise reduce or remove public lands protections.

• Work to support protection of the public lands in New Mexico and across the nation.

• Work to promote and drive down the cost of renewable energy, reduce our nation’s carbon emissions, and help America become a renewable energy leader.

 

Your record in these areas is highly insufficient so we request that you Step Up, Steve.