Groups push back on changes to national monuments


A group of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument advocates are hosting a rally tonight (Sept. 19) at 5 p.m. in Taos to protest proposed changes to national monuments.

The "Hands Off Our Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument Rally" will be held at Taos Fly Shop, 338 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, in Taos. Organizers are offering free green chile cheeseburgers to sweeten the short notice of the event.

News spread rapidly Monday that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was proposing to shrink the size of some national monuments and change how others are managed, including reopening some protected lands to oil and gas drilling.  

"Zinke has recommended that President Trump administration rollback protections and significantly alter numerous national monuments, including the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in Taos County and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks in Las Cruces," according to a press release from the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, which is organizing Tuesday's event. 

"Community members and advocates will respond directly to the specific attacks and misinformed recommendations for the monuments here in New Mexico. Speakers will be available to take questions on issues related to roads, traditional uses, grazing permits, access for recreation, fishing and hunting as well as other issues," said the statement.