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PNS Daily Newscast - September 19, 2018 


Updates on Trump tariffs and his Supreme Court nominee. Also on the Wednesday rundown: New Hampshire in the news in a clean energy report; and doctors address the rise of AFib – a serious and sometimes invisible cardiac issue.

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N.M. Conservation Leaders Ask Pres. Candidates for Public Lands Commitment

Valles Caldera National Preserve is a part of New Mexico's federally managed public lands. (Jacopo Werther)
Valles Caldera National Preserve is a part of New Mexico's federally managed public lands. (Jacopo Werther)
September 8, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The National Wildlife Federation and dozens of state-based affiliates - including the one in New Mexico - sent a letter today to the four presidential candidates, asking them to commit to keeping federal public lands in public hands.

The open letter asked the candidates to formally oppose transferring federally managed land to states - which could then sell them to private developers. Garrett VeneKlasen, executive director at the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said it's important for candidates to take a stand.

"Ultimately if we had an administration that was pushing public-lands transfer and we had Senate and House majority, literally in one administration we could lose virtually all of our national public land,” VeneKlasen said. "That is how tenuous this situation could become."

The son of Republican nominee Donald Trump, Donald Jr., indicated in June that his father would buck his party’s official position and oppose land transfers. Democrat Hillary Clinton and Green Party candidate Jill Stein oppose transfers.

But Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, told the L.A. Times he would be open to transferring some land managed by the Bureau of Land Management into state and ultimately private hands.

Conservation groups have beaten back multiple state-level land-transfer bills over the past five years. Collin O'Mara, President of the National Wildlife Federation, said people need to keep fighting to maintain access to public lands.

"The biggest threat in some ways is just kind of public apathy,” O’Mara warned. "Folks don't realize there is this legislative attempt by the more ideological extreme to try to take these lands away, then those efforts become more likely to succeed if folks aren't rising up."

In related news - the New Mexico Wildlife Federation released the second in a series of ads in a campaign called "Put New Mexico First" protesting a 2015 law allowing private landowners to restrict access to public streams on private land.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NM