Friday, January 21, 2022

Play

Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

Play

President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Play

Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

Heinrich, Lujan Reintroduce NM Gila River Protection Bill

Play

Thursday, November 4, 2021   

SILVER CITY, N.M. -- New Mexico's U.S. senators are making another attempt to protect the last remaining free-flowing rivers and tributary systems to the Colorado River.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., reintroduced legislation Tuesday to designate the Gila River as a Wild and Scenic River.

Jon Harned, a wilderness guide and naturalist for 30 years lives near the Gila in Grant County, and has heard many stories from residents who have taken their families to the river for generations to hunt and fish.

"The history of this river is incredibly important, especially with the Gila Wilderness being the headwaters of the San Francisco and the Gila Rivers," Harned explained.

The M.H. 'Dutch' Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act was originally introduced in May 2020. If passed, the legislation would protect the watershed from the region's mining and agricultural interests. The Heritage Waters Coalition opposes the designation, arguing it would hurt the area's industry.

The popularity of the rivers is an important economic driver for communities in southwestern New Mexico.

Joel Davis, tribal attorney for the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, said they are also important to indigenous people and the area's culturally significant sites.

"This bill, not only does it help them protect the homeland, it'll give some ability to help manage and ensure that significant, cultural historical sites are protected," Davis noted.

The push for protection of the Gila River comes as drought lingers in the Southwest and water dwindles in the Southwest.

Heinrich believes protection of the 450 miles of waterways within the Gila River system is long overdue.

"As long as I've lived in New Mexico, I have always been drawn to the Gila," Heinrich remarked. "Trips to the Gila have given me the time to reflect on what is truly important in life."

The Gila was inaugurated as America's first wilderness in 1924, 40 years before the Wilderness Act.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Disclosure: The Pew Charitable Trusts - Environmental Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Consumer Issues, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Health Issues, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Salmon Recovery. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

References:  
Senate Bill 3129 2021

get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …


While such issues as tax cuts are getting attention in the Iowa Legislature, some advocacy groups hope policymakers don't lose sight of programs they say would improve health outcomes. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

The investigation by multiple states' attorneys general into the student-loan practices of Navient dates back to 2017. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

Social Issues

Bridgeport is one of six U.S. cities selected for an 18-month project kicking off this month, to create more education and career opportunities for …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021