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Martin T. Heinrich

Senators push for wilderness within New Mexico monument

Almost a half-million acres in southern New Mexico were designated as a national monument two years ago.

Now, members of the state's congressional delegation are pushing for portions of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area to be set aside as wilderness.

While praised by environmentalists, the effort is reigniting the concerns of local law enforcement about their ability to access the area to fight crime.

The legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, would set aside more than 376 square miles — or nearly half of the monument — as wilderness.

The senators say the legislation strikes the right balance between...

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