Recently, we have heard a lot of rhetoric from national Democratic leaders that “all politics is local” but apparently, the concerns of local constituents in New Mexico fall on deaf ears when it comes to President Obama, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
A survey of Dona Ana County, New Mexico residents conducted in February by GOAL Advocacy showed that over two-thirds preferred that any national monument designation for the Organ Mountains be made through the legislative process with local input. The survey also showed that nearly 75 percent would prefer a designation that was targeted and allowed access to law enforcement, protected ranchers and allowed for maintenance of flood control projects. There were majorities found for these positions in ALL groups – Republicans and Democrats, men and women, Anglos and Hispanics.
However, it is a shame that New Mexico’s two U.S. senators have joined the president in his war on western states. Instead of listening to the concerns of their constituents, Udall and Heinrich have shown they are beholden to out-of-state radical environmentalists to the detriment of their own state yet again. But I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise either.
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Udall ranks third in the entire nation (behind only his cousin in Colorado and Sen. Markey from Massachusetts) in contributions from environmentalists this cycle. And when you consider the timeframe from 2007-2012, Heinrich ranks first in the entire country in dollars taken from environmental groups.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a steward of our environment especially here in New Mexico where we enjoy so much natural beauty. Moreover, there is very little debate that the Organ Mountains deserved some form of protection. However, there was substantial debate over the size and scope of the designation. Senators Heinrich and Udall abdicated their responsibilities as elected officials by throwing up their hands to rely on out of state radical environmental groups and bureaucrats in Washington to make decisions rather than use the legislative process with local input.
Every politician leaves some form of a legacy. Unfortunately, with only a legacy of failures - from his foreign policy to his signature healthcare legislation, President Obama is turning his attention to a war on the West. It is even more unfortunate that New Mexico’s two senators are joining him down yet another path that will end poorly for the American people. Let’s hope the lasting legacy of this short-sighted land grab isn’t the end of ranching that the area has known for generations, uncontrollable floods across the area and a new corridor across the border for drug cartels and others entering the country illegally.
Heffley is executive director of GOAL Advocacy.