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Saving the Sagebrush Sea: An Imperiled Western Legacy

Nearly 350 plant and animal species depend on sagebrush habitat for their survival.


Western Public Lands

New Mexico Wildlife Federation

Sportsmen Cheer Shelving of Public Lands Bill, Vow Continued Vigilance

Tue, 02/07/2017

Hunters and anglers are speaking out against efforts to undermine our public-lands and sporting heritage. Image: Bill Dvorak

By Judith Kohler

DENVER – Sportsmen and women and other conservationists and outdoor advocates voiced appreciation Thursday after a plan to sell more than 3 million acres of national public lands was halted, but pledged to stay vigilant as other bills to dispose of or undermine the management of public lands advance at the state and federal levels.

The decision by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz to not pursue HR 621, which would have sold a total of 3.3 million acres of public lands in 10 Western states, came as welcome news to the sportsmen and women for whom public lands “are the backbone of our sporting traditions,” said Aaron Kindle, the National Wildlife Federation’s Western sportsmen’s campaign manager.

“We hope this decision signals that Rep. Chaffetz and his congressional colleagues are starting to understand how important these lands are to Americans and that they’ll cease their efforts to seize them from the public trust,” Kindle added.

Sportsmen support cutting methane emissions to reduce waste, protect wildlife

Sun, 02/28/2016

The Bureau of Land Management will hold a hearing in Lakewood March 1 on a rule to reduce oil and gas venting and flaring. Image: Lew Carpenter

LAKEWOOD -- In meetings from New Mexico to North Dakota, sportsmen and women spoke out for reducing methane pollution from oil and gas operations on federal lands.

The Bureau of Land Management is taking public comments until April 8 on a proposed rule that will update 30-year-old regulations by requiring oil and gas producers to cut the methane that's wasted through venting and flaring and leaks from equipment. In addition to harmful pollution, a Government Accountability Office report estimates that tribes and taxpayers lose as much as $23 million in royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted.

"Implementing a strong rule to reduce flaring will cut pollution and put more money back into local governments and taxpayers' pockets." ~ Todd Leahy, conservation director for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.


NMWF's Leahy: Land-grab proponents attacking American principles

Tue, 02/09/2016


Todd Leahy, right, of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation was one of the featured speakers at a recent public lands forum. Image: New Mexico Wildlife Federation

 FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The law, history and economics are not on the side of those who want our national public lands turned over to the states, said Todd Leahy, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation’s director of conservation.

Leahy was one of the speakers at the Feb. 5 plenary session of the 49th annual meeting of the Arizona and New Mexico chapters of The Wildlife Society and the Arizona/New Mexico chapter of the American Fisheries Society. The session “Who Will Manage the Future of Our Public Lands?” included county, state and federal wildlife and land managers.

“This crusade to transfer American public lands to the states must be seen for what it is: the latest outgrowth of an anti-government agenda which seeks to undermine the very foundations of this great nation.”

Sportsmen, wildlife advocates ramp up defense of public lands with rallies, work at statehouses

Tue, 01/19/2016

People gather for a rally at the New Mexico state capitol that drew a crowd of about 300 to demand that public lands stay in public hands. Image: Lew Carpenter

As the National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates geared up to defend public lands with the start of new legislative sessions, the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge prompted rallies from Seattle to Santa Fe by sportsmen and women to say "Keep public lands in public hands."

About 300 people attended a Jan. 19 demonstration in Portland, Ore., where Bob Rees of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, NWF's Oregon state affiliate, spoke. Garret VeneKlasen, New Mexico Wildlife Federation executive director, was among the speakers at a Jan. 21 rally in Santa Fe. 

“As the illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge winds down, perpetrators are held accountable, and damages are repaired, we must also focus on the policy dispute at the heart of this debate: Should our public lands be sustained for the benefit of all Americans, or should they be exploited for the enrichment of the few or sold off to the highest bidder?” says Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.