Letters To The Editor
I may be a bit behind my reading, but I’m whole-heartedly behind Lorin Swinehart’s guest editorial in January’s El Ojo: “Wildlife Crime — A Moral Outrage!” Swinehart brilliantly connects the dots among wildlife poaching, arms dealers, modern day slave traders and drug dealers, pointing out that the illegal wildlife trade brings in $7 – $10 billion annually to these criminals. Excellent article that should make us all stop and consider the real cost of our ivory trinkets.
The Antiquities Act of 1906, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, gives the president the authority to restrict by executive order the use of federally owned lands. The Act empowers any president to protect historical and cultural areas as national monuments. The legality of the Act has been reaffirmed repeatedly by the Supreme Court, which has ruled that it gives any president almost unfettered authority with regard to the nature and size of the area to be protected. President Obama acted in full accordance with the law when he made his decision.
To date, sixteen presidents have used the act. Congress has also acted 40 times to create national monuments. Many of our most cherished national parks were first protected under the Antiquities Act, including Grand Canyon and Zion.
I know the Organ Mountains area well, having flown over the region many times while I lived there. From any altitude up to 10,000 feet, the area does not appear conducive to successful livestock grazing, so one questions the degree to which ranchers will be inconvenienced by the President’s decision.
As for the concerns of ATV drivers, I have personally witnessed, both from the air and on the ground, the mindless destruction caused by their activities in Florida’s Big Cypress Preserve and elsewhere before the National Park Service took jurisdiction over those lands. Their complaints do not generate much sympathy.
One is left wondering which aspect of the American dream Ms. Noon regards as suffering from the preservation of such unique sites as Grand Canyon.
It would seem that the avaricious activities of some mining companies and the barbaric behavior of ATV owners meet with the approval of Ms. Noon. Or, given that she has included the recent controversial prisoner of war exchange under her heading of detracting from the American dream, could it be that her evident hostility toward President Obama has simply clouded her judgment.
Contrary to Ms. Noon’s assertion that area residents opposed creation of the monument, there has actually been widespread support for it throughout New Mexico and in Dona Ana County.
The President is to be commended for his action to protect the Organ Mountains. The new national monument, consisting of 496, 000 acres, comprises a region of unique Chihuahuan Desert flora and fauna, as well as a multitude of historical sites, including Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, thousands of Native American petroglyphs and pictographs, the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, Geronimo’s cave and the site where astronauts trained for the Apollo space mission. It is to be hoped that President Obama and his successors will continue to set aside unique public lands for the benefit of all citizens rather than for the predations of the avaricious and destructive few.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com