FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17th, 2018
Contact: Carrie Hamblen, CEO/President, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
carrie@locallascruces | (575) 323-1575
City of Las Cruces Passes Resolution in Support of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
Las Cruces City Council Becomes 5th New Mexico Elected Body to Urge Congress to Fully Fund LWCF and Reauthorize LWCF Before it Expires on September 30
LAS CRUCES, NM – The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce applauds the Las Cruces City Council for voting 5 to 0 on Monday, passing a resolution urging Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is our nation’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities in every state, including New Mexico. However, LWCF will expire on September 30 unless Congress acts to reauthorize the program before then.
Since 1965, New Mexico has received more than $312 million dollars from LWCF for over 1,200 projects, including local playground equipment and ballfields, state park visitor facilities, and acquisition of land from willing sellers to establish and add to our National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and Wildlife Refuges.
LWCF has helped establish and maintain popular regional destinations including the Organ Mountains, Gila National Forest, the Lower Gila Box, and state parks such as Pancho Villa, City of Rocks, Elephant Butte Lake, and Mesilla Valley Bosque. Local parks in nearly every New Mexico municipality, including Young, Apodaca, and Pioneer Women’s Parks here in Las Cruces, have also benefited from LWCF.
The City of Las Cruces’ action follows similar resolutions from the Town of Mesilla Board of Trustees, the Cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and Bernalillo County as well as increasing calls this year from lawmakers, business owners, sportsmen, veterans, Hispanic organizations and others to reauthorize and fully fund LWCF.
Offshore oil and gas drilling royalties fund LWCF, meaning that none of it comes from taxpayer dollars. However, instead of providing LWCF with its authorized level of $900 million annually, nearly every year Congress diverts much of this funding to purposes other than conserving our most important lands and waters. The City of Las Cruces’ resolution urges Congress to fully fund LWCF and thus end this practice.
“LWCF is beloved in every state and nearly every county in our nation and is essential to our quality of life,” said Las Cruces City Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Gil Sorg. “Congress must fully fund and reauthorize LWCF before it expires on September 30th.”
“New Mexico is composed of remarkable outdoor spaces, from our national parks and monuments to local soccer fields, trails, and playgrounds,” said Nora Barraza, Mayor of Mesilla. “LWCF-funded projects have kept us connected to the lands that feed our souls, while also supporting local economies and tourism in our state.”
“LWCF is known for helping acquire private land in-holdings from willing sellers within national parks and other public lands,” said Carrie Hamblen, CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. “But it is so much more than that – it’s local to nearly everyone. LWCF touches ball fields and river parks, and impacts the daily lives of New Mexicans across the state. We applaud elected officials from Las Cruces and Mesilla and across New Mexico who are showing their support for LWCF’s reauthorization and full funding.”
The Las Cruces City Council will be sharing its resolution with New Mexico’s Congressional delegation. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich along with Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham have consistently joined bi-partisan efforts to support LWCF. Unfortunately, Representative Steve Pearce has repeatedly voted to cut LWCF funding, opposes its permanent reauthorization, and missed a bi-partisan vote on September 13 in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources (of which he is a Member) to permanently reauthorize LWCF.
The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce recently joined the Partnership for Responsible Business and Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce the launch of a new website, www.SaveLWCFNewMexico.com, that highlights 15 projects that demonstrate the benefits that LWCF has had on communities across New Mexico.