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[RC] News from the Committee on Resources - Hickory Ridge Arabians

Jerry Fruth                                     

News from Committee on Resources

For Immediate Release

September 4, 2003

Resources Field Hearing on ESA will Examine 'Species over People' Court Decision in New Mexico

Washington, DC - Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and members of the House Resources Committee will hold an official field hearing this Saturday in New Mexico on the endangered silvery minnow and its impact on water supplies for the state. 

In June of 2003, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the Bureau of Reclamation has discretion to restrict water supplies to urban and agricultural water users in deference to the endangered silvery minnow.  This decision goes well beyond the intent of the ESA, threatens the longstanding principles of Western water law, exerts federal control over water resources owned by others, and has created social and economic meltdown in the state.

"One of the unintended consequences of this law is that it puts the needs of species over the critical needs of human beings," Chairman Pombo said.  "New Mexico is not alone in its current predicament.  In fact, this situation is yet another scary reminder of the Klamath Basin catastrophe, in which an endangered sucker fish bankrupted family farmers and crushed the local economy.  If we don't come together to repair this law, we will see more and more of these problems in communities throughout the country."

New Mexicans expressed outrage over the court decision.

"The fringe environmental community, with the assistance of two federal court judges who are accountable to nobody in our society, who are not elected...now want to take water from the mouths of our children," said Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez (D).   New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) pledged his "best efforts to protect Albuquerque and New Mexico from this grievous imbalance in the ESA."

Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) agreed.  "When court decisions put our communities second, we need to take a hard look at the purpose and balance of the Endangered Species Act," he said.  "I support the efforts of the New Mexico delegation to bring closure to the silvery minnow issue and I hope that we will continue the dialogue on how to address the many failings of the Endangered Species Act."

"This field-hearing is a chance for us to sit down and discuss the impacts the Silvery Minnow has on our livelihood," said Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM).  "We need to find a balanced approach to satisfy the needs of both human water users and endangered species. While we all believe that endangered species recovery is important, we cannot do so at the expense of the Constitution or the good people of New Mexico."

The hearing will be held at the Belen High School in Belen, New Mexico on Saturday, September 6th at 9:00 am.

Members of Congress
The Honorable Richard Pombo, California, 11th District
The Honorable Ken Calvert, California, California, 44th District
The Honorable Steven Pearce, New Mexico, 2nd District
The Honorable Tom Udall, New Mexico, 3rd District
The Honorable Joe Baca, California, 43rd District
The Honorable Heather Wilson, New Mexico, 1st District

Invited Witness Panels


The Honorable Bill Richardson, or Designee
Governor, State of New Mexico

The Honorable Anthony Ortiz
Governor, Pueblo of San Felipe

The Honorable Marty Chavez
Mayor, City of Albuquerque


Ms. Jessica Sanchez                                             Ms. Eileen Grevey-Hilson       
Family Farmer and Rancher                                       AguaVida, Resources    
Belen, New Mexico                                               Albuquerque, New Mexico

Ms. Alletta Belin                                               Dr. Tom Wesche
New Mexico Counsel                                              Biologist, Habitach, Inc.      
Western Resource Advocates                                      Laramie, Wyoming

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