Tom Udall is a U.S. Senator for New Mexico. Udall was first elected in 2008. He opposed the Trump administration’s attempt to roll back national monument designations, and said making cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund would be crippling to New Mexico’s economy. Udall was also a signatory to a letter expressing concern over oil and gas drilling near sage grouse habitat and said rescinding methane emission regulations was a waste of taxpayer money.
Notable Activities and Statements on Public Lands Policy
U.S. Senator Tom Udall He Would Fight Trump “Every Step of the Way” on Rescinding National Monument Designation.
Udall Criticized Trump for Using “Dubious Legal Authority” to Reverse National Monuments. In a press release, Udall noted “the order affects monuments created after 1996 that are over 100,000 acres, and it would include the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks national monuments in New Mexico, as well as the newly created Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah: ‘I do not believe that President Trump has the legal authority to rescind a national monument designation, and if he attempts to do so, I will fight him every step of the way. This executive order is nothing more than a political move that will waste limited resources and unnecessarily add uncertainty for growing businesses and communities around these monuments, including two in New Mexico. Our national monuments are treasured by New Mexicans and Americans, hold enormous significance for Tribes, and help fuel an $887 billion outdoor recreation industry that creates and sustains millions of jobs. If Secretary Zinke decides to review Organ Mountains Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte, he will find strong, vibrant monuments that are driving new recreation and tourism-oriented businesses and jobs and that are the pride of the surrounding communities. These monuments are luring thousands of outdoor enthusiasts to New Mexico and invigorating local economies – from retirees and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Las Cruces for OMDP, to tourists drawn to the breathtaking attractions in Taos and the historic Village of Questa, which is hoping to diversify its economy as a gateway to Rio Grande del Norte. At Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Indian Tribes are, for the first time ever, co-managing lands, preserving centuries-old sacred areas that contain troves of antiquities and tell the history of early peoples in the Southwest. Monuments like Grand Staircase, Bears Ears, OMDP and Rio Grande del Norte are huge assets to their communities and the economy in New Mexico, Utah and the Mountain West. Today’s order represents yet another broken promise from President Trump. On the campaign trail, the president pledged to carry on the conservationist legacy of Teddy Roosevelt. But today he is beginning the process of going where no president before him has: using never-tested and dubious legal authority to try to reverse national monument designations. As a member of the Appropriations and Indian Affairs committees, I will fight to protect and elevate these cherished monuments, and I won’t stand by if the Trump administration tries to open the door to selling them off to the highest bidder.’” [Press Release, Tom Udall-Senator for New Mexico, 04/25/17]
U.S. Senator Tom Udall Said Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF) Cuts Would Cripple New Mexico’s Economy.
Udall Said Trump’s Budget Impacted “Every Aspect of Life” in New Mexico. “President Trump’s proposed budget impacts nearly every aspect of life and the economy in New Mexico. Deep cuts to science, clean energy research and development, space programs, health research, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the arts and humanities would cripple engines for job creation in New Mexico. His cuts to affordable housing and his complete elimination of heating assistance and community development block grants would literally leave New Mexico families in the cold. Cuts to teacher preparation and before- and after-school and summer programs mean less opportunity for students to prepare for college. Cutting Interior Department agencies could reduce core services to American Indians and Alaska Natives, such as education and law enforcement – services that our nation has an obligation to provide. And cuts to everything from air traffic control to humanitarian aid and vaccinations that prevent the spread of dangerous diseases in developing nations would put New Mexicans at risk.” [Press Release, Tom Udall-Senator for New Mexico, 03/16/17]
U.S. Senator Tom Udall Signed a Letter that Expressed Concern Over Oil and Gas Drilling Near Sage Grouse Habitat.
The Letter Udall Signed Expressed Concern that Oil and Gas Drilling Would No Longer Being Guided Away from Sage Grouse Habitat. “In a letter to Zinke, the senators expressed their concerns about guidelines issued at the end of December by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for state management of sage grouse habitat across 10 western states. The senators wrote that the BLM’s new land management guidelines overturn guidance from 2016 that protects habitat from oil and gas drilling. Zinke’s actions undermine the conservation purpose of sage grouse plans that were locally developed with broad stakeholder input over a period of years, and put at risk the livelihoods of rural economies that rely on public lands. ‘One of our most significant concerns is that oil and gas leasing and drilling will no longer be actively guided away from sage grouse habitat under the new guidelines,” the senators wrote. These unwanted and unneeded changes announced in the waning hours of 2017 clearly ignore a bipartisan coalition of western Governors, professional wildlife managers, and 267,000 Americans who voiced their opinions in support of the sage grouse plans during the BLM’s public comment period,’ they wrote.” [Press Release, Jeff Merkley-United States Senator from Oregon, 02/07/18]
U.S. Senator Tom Udall Said Methane Emission Regulations Were Needed.
Udall Called the Rollback of the Methane Rule a “Waste of Taxpayer Resources.” “Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is now spearheading an effort to avoid a rollback in the Senate. ‘Erasing the rule would result in waste of taxpayer resources and dollars,’ Udall said. ‘We need this rule. Enough natural gas nationwide is being wasted annually to power a city the size of Chicago for a full year.’” [Kevin Robinson-Avila, “NM plays key role in methane rule conflict,” Albuquerque Journal, 03/06/17]