WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, and U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) have introduced the Buffalo Tract Protection Act, the Pecos Watershed Protection Act, and legislation to establish Cerro de la Olla Wilderness within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico.
The Buffalo Tract Protection Act would withdraw four parcels of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in southern Sandoval County, including the Buffalo Tract and the Crest of Montezuma, from any mineral development, including gravel mining. The legislation previously passed by a voice vote in a key legislative business meeting in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in December of 2019.
“The Crest of Montezuma and the Buffalo Tract are home to important ecosystems and have been used by communities along the Rio Grande Valley for centuries,” said Heinrich. “Numerous residents have shared their concerns with me about the future of these lands and the potential damage that would result from gravel mining. Mineral development would negatively impact public health, quality of life, and water supplies. I look forward to maintaining the momentum of this legislation and working with the community to see it cross the finish line in the 117th Congress.”
“I’m proud to join Senator Heinrich in reintroducing the Buffalo Tract Protection Act, the Pecos Watershed Protection Act, and legislation to establish the Cerro de la Olla Wilderness. Through my work with farmers and ranchers, community leaders, and everyday New Mexicans, I know that preserving our public lands is crucial to growing New Mexico’s outdoor economy and maintaining our way of life,” said Luján. “I’ve always made it a priority to stand up for our land, water, and wildlife corridors, and in the Senate, I’ll continue fighting for to preserve our precious natural resources for future generations.”