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PNS Daily Newscast - August 12, 2020 

Former VP Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate; some schools have science-based metrics for open classroom instruction.

2020Talks - August 12, 2020 

California Sen. Kamala Harris will be on the ticket with Joe Biden in November. Four states had primaries yesterday, and two had runoffs. Georgia and Wisconsin appear to have improved since last time.

Eastern Mountains Wilderness Bill Gets Hearing in DC

June 24, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Today, Congress hears testimony on a bill that would expand wilderness protection and consolidate public lands in a pair of small areas near Albuquerque. Rep. Martin Heinrich introduced the Cibola National Forest Expansion bill last month. It would add the Crest of Montezuma to the north end of the Cibola National Forest, and expand the Manzano Wilderness area by 900 acres at the south end of the forest.

Stephen Capra, director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, is testifying in support of the bill in Washington, D.C.

"The Crest of Montezuma is rugged - what we would describe as a corridor where wildlife migrates. In the Manzanos, the wilderness we're talking about is steep landscape. Both of these are beautiful areas; they're forested areas deserving of long term protection."

Capra says this bill (HR 5388) and other wilderness legislation currently before Congress are especially important for preserving New Mexico's unique landscape, given the fact that the Land of Enchantment is currently in last place among western states when it comes to preserving wilderness.

"When you only have two percent of your state protected as wilderness, you have a lot of work in front of you. Although this is a small step, it's significant because these are national forest lands, and we haven't had any kind of national forest wilderness designated in more than 25 years in New Mexico."

During the drafting of the proposal some issues came up with local land grant communities over things like acequias and other uses, but Capra says they were resolved and the bill makes sure traditional uses are preserved. Capra says the bill also makes the public lands east of Albuquerque easier to manage by putting them all under the supervision of the Forest Service, rather than having multiple agencies involved, as is the case now.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM