The Step Up Steve coalition today released a letter to Congressman Steve Pearce from 686 New Mexicans asking him to take specific policy actions in Congress to support protected public lands, affordable renewable energy, and clean air. Such actions include supporting national monuments, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and investment in renewable energy programs. The letter also asks that Pearce oppose legislation that would sell off or transfer our public lands to states or otherwise remove public lands protections.
Last month, Pearce voted to gut the Antiquities Act, an important conservation law that past presidents used to protect New Mexico icons such as White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Chaco Canyon, and Bandelier and national treasures such as the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Denali, and the Grand Tetons. In September, Pearce voted against an amendment that would have ensured that a greater level of care is given to any public lands disposal effort and that the American taxpayer isn’t left holding the bill for such transactions.
The Step Up Steve coalition represents diverse New Mexicans including sportsmen, veterans, Hispanics, and working families. The coalition partners - New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Hispanic Access Foundation, Vet Voice Foundation, ProgressNow NM Education Fund, and OLÉ Education Fund – joined forces this past spring in an educational campaign to draw attention to Congressman Steve Pearce’s congressional voting record on public lands and renewable energy, noting that his record is out of step with views held by a majority of New Mexicans.
“It’s citizen democracy in action, and New Mexico Wildlife Federation is grateful to be part of Step Up Steve,” said Todd Leahy, deputy director of NMWF. “This campaign will continue to educate New Mexicans on Congressman Pearce’s voting record and national role in undermining things that New Mexican sportsmen and sportswomen care about, like healthy wildlife and recreation opportunities on our public lands.”
“New Mexicans care about protecting our public lands and promoting renewable energy. Their huge numbers on this letter sends a loud message to Congressman Pearce. Hopefully, he’ll get on the right path as a result,” said Matthew Henderson, director of the OLÉ Education Fund.
Hispanic Access Foundation President and CEO, Maite Arce, said, “New Mexico is a place of deep connection to land. This is part of our heritage as Hispanic people, and our public lands needs to be protected so that future generations of New Mexicans can continue to experience and interact with this heritage, and be connected to not only the land, but to our ancestors and our ancient pathways.”
“While we can only speculate on why Congressman Pearce’s votes the way he does, we know that his votes on renewable energy would move New Mexico and our nation backwards, not forward, in how competitive we can be in renewable energy,” said Lucas Herndon, southern New Mexico coordinator for ProgressNow NM Education Fund. Polling from Colorado College shows New Mexicans want to encourage renewable energy jobs in New Mexico over any other sector, including oil and gas drilling. Yet Pearce has repeatedly voted to reduce or eliminate funding for clean energy and energy efficiency programs, stifling innovation and hurting efforts for our state and nation to lead the world in clean energy technologies.
Garett Reppenhagen, US Army veteran and Rocky Mountain Director for Vet Voice Foundation, explains why his organization is a part of Step Up Steve. Reppenhagen said, “Lots of veterans fought in wars abroad to protect our homeland, including our public lands. They are not happy to come home to see Congressman Pearce actively working to remove protections for the very public lands we fought for. It is important that people know the voting records, good and bad, of our elected officials.”
A hard copy of the petition letter, including a list of all signers and where they live in New Mexico, is being delivered to Rep. Pearce’s staff in New Mexico and Washington, DC, today. The nonprofits involved with the Step Up Steve campaign welcome a conversation with Rep. Pearce on the issues, an opportunity to share with the Congressman some of the points where he could change his course to be more aligned to the will of his constituents.
For more information, visit www.StepUpSteve.org. The full letter is below and can be found online at https://stepupsteve.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Step-Up-Steve-Letter-...
November 14, 2017
The Honorable Steve Pearce
2432 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Pearce,
As New Mexicans, we value clean air, affordable renewable energy, and protected public lands where we can fish, hunt, hike and/or spend time with our families and friends. Working to protect these elements of life in New Mexico is not only good for our well-being but is also good for our economy. We are concerned that your policy actions disregard and work to undermine these values.
To Step Up and chart a different course, we ask that you:
Stop trying to shrink Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
Support full funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Work to ensure our land managers have the resources they need to be good stewards of our public lands.
Oppose legislation that would sell off or transfer our public lands to states or otherwise reduce or remove public lands protections.
Work to support protection of the public lands in New Mexico and across the nation.
Work to promote and drive down the cost of renewable energy, reduce our nation’s carbon emissions, and help America become a renewable energy leader.
Your record in these areas is highly insufficient so we request that you Step Up, Steve.
The Step Up Steve Coaltion