April 2015 14
NOT 1 MORE ACRE! PROTECTING WESTERN SHORTGRASS PRAIRIE FROM
MILITA RY MADNESS
BY JEAN AGUERRE AND BOB EWEGEN itizens preparing to celebrate Earth Day on April 22 can celebrate a rising tide of public awareness about the need to protect the land, air, water wildlife, and food producers that sustain the special quality of life in the American West. While much attention is rightly devoted to the “purple mountain majesties” in the Rocky Mountain states, many citizens are working to reverse a century of folly by the Federal government that is desecrating and endangering the largest native shortgrass prairie remaining on Earth.
It is time for the federal government to stop its century of mismanagement of the shortgrass prairie. Department of Defense Joint Force Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site should be closed to begin the century or more of healing that will be necessary to recover it from the military madness that threatens the Great Plains.
threatens Great Plains
In particular, the citizen watchdog group Not 1 More Acre! with other friends of the Great Plains are calling for the closure of the US Army’s 236,000-acre Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS)—located in southeastern Colorado near the New Mexican border—to halt any further ravaging of the sensitive grasslands located in what has been described as the critical “Headwinds” region of the 1930s Dust Bowl. Spurred by Federal land giveaways and other bad government policy, temporarily high wheat prices and land promoters, settlers plowed millions of acres of once stable grasslands. When the region suffered one of its recurring droughts in the 1930s, the result was the Dust Bowl—a globally destructive environmental catastrophe.
family ranching practices—dooming land practices that support an ecological system, where for over 10,000 years, grazing animals such as buffalo, antelope, elk and, later, cattle formed an indispensable, grazing-dependent grassland, with their droppings nourishing the same lands that nourished them.
fragile grasslands in a highly destructive way. Numerous other military weapons and the extensive infrastructure necessary to support electronic air-ground military operations are rapidly degrading the largest and most biodiverse shortgrass prairie remaining on Earth. And it doesn’t stop there; opening the grasslands to military operations means losing mother-calf
Eventually, the federal government was forced to reverse course and bought back some of the decimated grasslands, setting them aside as National Grasslands to recover. Large generational ranchlands—the only lands that didn’t blow away in severe wind and drought—and intense attention to soil conservation practices with a return of rainfall helped rein in the Dust Bowl, though even today, seventy-five years later, scientists say soils have stabilized but the shortgrass is still not fully recovered.
Help Not 1 More Acre! raise awareness and support to CLOSE Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. Stay informed and spread the word! Learn more about the Not 1 More Acre! and how citizens can make themselves heard. Sign up up for news and action alerts at www.not1moreacre.net/stayinformed or contact: Bob Ewegen at news@not1more acre.net or call him at 719-252-5145.
F R A C K I N G A W O R L D H E R I TA G E S I T E ? N E W M E X I C O W I L D I S
partial paving and management of the dirt road that leads to the Park has fallen through.
haco Culture National Historic Park, (ChacoNHP) a major center of ceremony and trade for the prehistoric Four Corners area, is one of the most spectacular areas in New Mexico. Its combination of natural beauty and cultural significance justifies its World Heritage Site status.
Starting in 1983, when the US Army condemned area ranchland and acquired the 236,000-acre Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, much of the “Headwinds” area of the Dust Bowl has been subjected to a renewed and even more serious assault. The Army’s Abrams tank weighs 63 tons, and in order to train under realistic conditions, it is driven through the VETERAN FARMER PROJECT Grow the Farm Community Workshop April 11 and April 16 At Rio Grande Community Farm, Co-op Volunteers call 217-2016
Oil and gas drilling on New Mexico State lands within view of the Park’s Visitor Center continues to be a significant threat. In addition, development threatens Chacoan ruins to the north on Bureau of Land Management lands. These lands are part of a connective corridor to the Bisti / De-Na-Zin Wilderness through the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area. It is also clear that oil field dust, air pollutants and noise will reduce visibility while threatening the health of people living downwind from the development as well. Widespread publicity pressured Cimarex Energy to delay any immediate plans for developing leases visible from the Park’s Visitor Center. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild), has met with the State Land Office and other agencies to forestall development. A carefully crafted agreement between San Juan County, the Navajo Tribe, and the Park that addressed
NM Wild continues to work on protection for Chaco NHP. Introduction of congressional legislation is vital to accomplish: • Designation of approximately 20,000 acres of Wilderness. • Transfer adjacent state lands into the Park. This requires trading BLM lands elsewhere to the State Land Office and adjusting the boundary of the park. • Revision of the boundary of the Pueblo Pintado Outlier to transfer jurisdiction to the park including the large ruin and other significant sites and transfer of jurisdiction to the Park. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) is a non-profit 501(c)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wild lands and Wilderness areas. The primary goal of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is to ensure the protection and restoration of all remaining wild lands in New Mexico through administrative designations, federal Wilderness designation, and ongoing stewardship. For more information on NM Wild Hikes, to make a donation to help protect Chaco Canyon or support its other wilderness conservation efforts, go to www.nmwild.org.
SHOP CO-OP AND BUY LOCAL SHOP CO-OP
GRAND CANYON ? SUPERMALL
ENVIRONMENTAL TRAVESTY! SumOfUs roperty developers want to build a super-mall smack dab in the middle of one of America's most breathtaking world heritage sites, the Grand Canyon. The mall would include an IMAX, shops, hotels, and fast food cafes. The National Park Service has called the plans “a travesty”.
Developers are hoping to start the building of the mega mall as early as the spring of 2017. Local activists are planning to put up a tough fight, and they need our support now.
The ludicrous project is being proposed by property developers Confluence Partners as a way to make more money from the millions of people who want to see one of nature's greatest marvels. The company is already facing huge outrage over the plan from many sides.
SumOfUs was created in part to stop corporations from destroying our precious natural environment. We've been fighting hard to end the vast deforestation caused by unsustainable palm oil. Just last year we forced Kellogg's and palm oil producer Wilmar to change their rainforest destroying ways. Now we're called on to take the power of our movement to protect the Grand Canyon.
Besides destroying the beautiful, untouched landscape of the canyon, the plan tramples all over the rights of indigenous people. The site for the proposed development is called “the Confluence” and is a sacred place for the Navajo. This is the place where their people first emerged, as told in their creation story. It's not just the Navajo whose sacred sites are being threatened by the development; Hopi people and the Zuni tribes are also fighting for their spiritually significant sites in the area.
We need to speak out and show Confluence Partners that the public will stand up for indigenous rights and stop one of the most horrendous of ideas; shopping malls in the beautiful, unspoiled nature of the Grand Canyon! We simply cannot let them get away with this. Sign the petition to Confluence Partners: We don't want a SUPER MALL in the Grand Canyon! Sign the petition at www. action.sumofus.org.
La Montañita Co-op's monthly newsletter from April 2015