Down in Las Cruces, excitement is growing.
Years of work to preserve the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak region are almost completed, with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visiting Friday to listen to the community and hear their views on what should be done to protect the majestic country. Her visit is likely one of the last steps before action is taken — in this instance, a declaration from President Barack Obama through the Antiquities Act to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak National Monument.
The action is worthwhile and long overdue.
Under normal circumstances, legislation would make its way through Congress and be signed by the president. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich listened to the residents of the area and introduced the necessary enabling legislation — they will be meeting with people along with Jewell today. As with so many good things, though, bills to preserve wilderness go to the House of Representatives to die. (Measures to safeguard this area have died in the last two sessions of Congress despite widespread public support — opinion polls show 82 percent support for the preservation of the monument.)