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Sec. Jewell Talks “Balance” - Resonates with Hispanic Group

PHOTO: "Balance" was an oft-repeated word as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke to the National Press Club Thursday. The approach received kudos from HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping and Hunting Outdoors) in Los Alamos. Photo courtesy of HECHO.
PHOTO: "Balance" was an oft-repeated word as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke to the National Press Club Thursday. The approach received kudos from HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping and Hunting Outdoors) in Los Alamos. Photo courtesy of HECHO.
November 1, 2013

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - "Balance" was an often-repeated word as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke to the National Press Club in Washington Thursday. She pushed for strong funding for conservation on public lands and unveiled a Secretarial Order for a mitigation plan to address effects of energy development before the projects happen.

Rod Torrez with Hispanics Enjoying Camping and Hunting Outdoors (HECHO) from Los Alamos met with Jewell before her speech, and was happy to hear that conservation, land restoration and protection should have equal footing with other uses of public lands.

He said that should mean "balanced management of the land that considers more than just the economic value of the resources, but includes communities and cultural values."

Secretary Jewell lamented the federal government shutdown's effect on public lands, with National Park closures estimated to cost the country nearly $80 million a day, and loss of access to national wildlife refuges and other public lands at about 600 locations.

Jewell mentioned Master Leasing Plans (MLPs), which take a bird's-eye-view and consider multiple project proposals all at once, and how they would affect the land and people. Torrez said he likes that approach.

"We know the land, and we can help find the places that are appropriate for drilling," he said. "And we are also able to identify places that are special and important, and that we want to preserve."

Jewell also said if Congress does not act on proposals to protect public lands - and it hasn't since 2010 - that President Obama may use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate protection, such as through a National Monument.

Torrez added that his organization, HECHO, has launched an ad campaign encouraging Secretary Jewell to reach out for collaboration.

Secretary Jewell's remarks can be read online at on.doi.gov/1aLMTbo.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - NM