WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

Select Page

Current work in wildlife, rivers, public lands, and climate

Press Releases

Coalition Calls on State and Federal Leaders to Stop Rider and Resume Silvery Minnow Negotiations

September 11, 2003
WildEarth Guardians
In This Release
Rivers, Wildlife  
#EndangeredSpeciesAct, #ReviveTheRio
Santa Fe, NM – In the wake of suspension of collaborative negotiations to come to a global water conservation strategy in the Middle Rio Grande, conservationists today called upon New Mexico Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman and Governor Richardson to allow negotiations to continue without the time pressure of an appropriations rider.

In July, a diverse coalition of New Mexicans met with Governor Richardson, asking him to bring together various parties to seek a collaborative and cooperative solution to Middle Rio Grande water issues. The Governor convened the negotiations and discussions have been proceeding. “Now,” said Kara Gillon, Water Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, “an amendment attached to the federal Energy and Water spending bill could negate any chance of a long-term, New Mexican solution.” The amendment was added to the bill by Senator Pete Domenici.

“This amendment halts any chance for negotiations to continue in a productive manner. We urge – strongly – that Senator Jeff Bingaman oppose this amendment and instead support the Governor in creating a ‘made-in-New-Mexico’ solution,” stated Gillon. The rider would reduce the amount of water available for use in complying with the Endangered Species Act. “Negotiations are a win-win solution, whereas the rider will severely harm the river and the Bosque.”

“The Endangered Species Coalition supports the efforts of New Mexicans to seek a long-term conservation strategy that will benefit the river, the Bosque, the farmers, and the economic health of New Mexico,” stated Liz Godfrey, Great Plains Organizer based in Blanco, NM. “We call on New Mexico’s Senators to remove their rider and call on the Governor to resume the collaborative negotiations.”

Bob Sulnick, Campaign Manager for the Alliance for the Rio Grande Heritage said, “We support the collaborative way all parties have come together to work to solve a complicated issue that impacts everyone dependent on the Rio Grande. A solution by amendment in Washington, D.C. at this time takes away any hope for a solution that works best for New Mexico.”

“In October 2002, the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Conference of Churches went on record urging negotiations for Middle Rio Grande water conflicts and opposed the use of a Congressional rider to circumvent the Endangered Species Act that avoids the deliberative process,” stated Stan Euston, Chair of the Sustainable Futures Task Force of the New Mexico Conference of Churches.