Plan to Open Gaping Hole on Border is Plugged, for Now

News New Mexico Note - The potential for a gaping hole to be blown in the State of New Mexico's efforts to meet its border security challenges was stalled by the time pressures of the lame duck session of Congress this week. It is somewhat ironic that the terrible damage that could have been done to the state would have come at the hands of its own U.S. Senators, Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall. With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid abandoning hopes of passing an omnibus public lands bill during the lame duck session, it appears that securing the permanent wilderness designation for hundreds of thousands of acres in Doña Ana County is going to have to wait.
Some think wilderness supporters have missed what may be their best chance for a long time of winning the federal government’s highest level of protection for the land. Reid confirmed Tuesday that plans for an omnibus public lands bill in the lame duck session of Congress are dead. U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., had hoped to pass such a bill and was being pushed to include his Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act in it. Not any more.
Jeff Bingaman (left) with Senators Kerry and Reid
“In the short time remaining, the Senate is planning to vote on START, a bill to aid 9/11 first responders, a continuing resolution to fund the government for a few months, and some judicial nominees,” Bingaman spokeswoman Jude McCartin said Tuesday. “So at this point, it seems unlikely that the wilderness bill will come up for a vote before Congress adjourns.” Asked whether Bingaman plans to try again next year, McCartin said he will “give it some thought in the coming weeks and decide in the new year.” Read full story here:



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