In 2009, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) have introduced federal Wilderness legislation for
Dona Ana County, New Mexico. Community concern caused the Senators to
hold a field hearing in Las Cruces on February 15, 2010. In June,
2010, a revised version of the legislation was put forward by Senator
Bingaman, claiming to address concerns raised by the community about border
security. This legislation imposes federal Wilderness designation, the
most restrictive of all federal land management designations, on 241,400
acres of lands in Dona Ana County, along with 99,150 acres of National
Conservation Area (NCA) designation.
presence of any wilderness on the Mexican border is a danger to the security
of the United States"
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers
LEGISLATION IS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR COMMUNITY, OUR
STATE OR OUR COUNTY.
HOW MUCH LAND?
This area is over 532 square miles of land,
nearly 14% of Dona Ana County, and a little over half the size of the
state of Rhode Island.
PFPOWH FAQ, LEGISLATION
S.1689 FAQ /
Fact Sheet - Know The Issues
summary of S.1689
Full Text of S.1689
When land is designated as
under the 1964 Wilderness Act, there are numerous prohibitions, such as:
- no permanent road within any Wilderness
- no temporary road
- no use of motorized vehicles
- no motorized equipment or motorboats
- no landing of aircraft
- no form of mechanical transport
- no structure or installation
WILDERNESS ON THE BORDER - IMPACTS ON BORDER
These prohibitions do not allow for Border
Patrol or other law enforcement agencies to perform routine patrols in
Wilderness. They can not utilize sensors, radio transmitters or
microwave towers for surveillance in designated Wilderness. The only
way for them to travel in the Wilderness is on foot or on horseback, unless
it is deemed an emergency. There is a
Memo of Understanding (MOU)
between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of
Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow emergency
entry, but it has not been tested in New Mexico because there is not any
designated Wilderness along the border.
As of July, 2010, more than 28,000 people
have been killed in
drug related violence since 2006. We do not want create a
smuggling corridor in our county that will invite this type of criminal
violence to move in to our community.
Wilderness On The Border to learn more about why PFPOWH and
our community strongly oppose this detrimental legislation.
LOCAL COMMUNITY - POSITION STATEMENTS & LETTERS
Bill Mattiace: Protect Our Two Symbols, Now (08/17/10)
Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce (Reaffirmed
County Organizations and Community Leaders Letter
Association of Realtors
- over 800 strong supporting an alternative to Wilderness
BORDER SECURITY FORUM, LAS
CRUCES, MAY 2010
"Smuggling organizations quickly learn to
scout, identify, occupy and utilize unguarded border locations. To
disrupt criminal operations, Border Patrol officers must have COMPLETE
access TO ALL AREAS adjacent to the border. Border Patrol agents must
have the flexibility to monitor and have a PHYSICAL PRESENCE to confront
illegal activity, regardless of where it occurs along our borders.
Failure to do so gives the perpetrators the upper hand, established routes
of safe passage into the U.S., and weakens the first line of defense.
The control of ANY corridor translates into the control of all illegal
activity in that corridor. Border Patrol must have access to ALL
trafficking corridors, NO EXCEPTIONS. Our borders have never been so
severely tested. The United States is at a critical crossroads
regarding our sovereignty and national security. Anything that impedes the
Border Patrol from actively patrolling corridors automatically enables and
enhances criminal activity. The authority vested in Border Patrol
agents must be UNENCUMBERED. Wilderness designation creates
significant impediments for Border Patrol."
Buck Brandemuehl, Chief of U.S. Border Patrol (Retired),
Border Security Forum, Brandemuehl Presentation (large PDF of
"The Potrillos have ALL the
characteristics for the perfect smuggling corridor. No motorized vehicle
access and no mechanized equipment is the original intent of the law and the
cornerstone of Wilderness. NO law enforcement agency can provide
protection under these conditions. Environmental idealism has trumped
national security. Designating Wilderness on the border IS NOT WORKING.
Wilderness designation contribute significantly to criminal activity and
environmental devastation. With appropriate support, U.S. Border Patrol agents
can succeed in security our border. WHEN our borders are secure,
environmental restoration has a far greater chance of success."
Gene Wood, Retired U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent and Sector Chief
(McAllen, TX and Yuma, AZ)
Security Forum, Wood
Presentation (large PDF of presentation slides)
"Wilderness Areas, Wildlife Refuges, and
similar federally controlled lands are the PRIME smuggling corridors into the
United States. Most federally protected lands on the U.S./Mexico border
RESTRICT OR PROHIBIT normal and exigent law enforcement activities."
Zack Taylor, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (Ret.),
Border Security Forum,
Taylor Presentation (large PDF of presentation slides)
Wilderness' Economic Revolution - Catron County
Shame on the Sun-News & the Hispano Chamber
S.1689 CBO COST ESTIMATE
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate for
BLM MANAGEMENT PRACTICES CHANGING?
Are significant management changes that would
impact federal land usage underway with the BLM?
BLM Document Reveals Big Change in Federal Land Management (The
Landscapes Discussion Paper
IS IMPLIED AGREEMENT! SPEAK UP AND