An example of good planning and incorporating diverse voices in the management of public lands can be seen in the Heritage Area in Yuma, Arizona on the border with the state of California. In this area, adjacent to the Colorado River, wetlands have been restored and space has been created for family life and contact with nature. Development and management of the project has had major participation from Latino communities who have lived in the area for generations and know, inhabit, and have close links with the region. Today, we are proud of this space where natural beauty, conservation, cultural traditions and recreational spaces are merged.Read More
Friends, As kids across the country headed back to school this week after the Summer and Labor Day weekend, it’s important to reflect on the fact that too many students won’t have the chance to enjoy field trips to the great outdoors. Visits to parks and nature centers were once a staple of a good education, but in recent years it has been all too common to see headlines across the country lamenting that schools have to cut back because of strained budgets and standardized testing that makes it difficult for teachers to justify field trips in their curricula. That needs to change.Read More
Today’s report by Latino Decisions and Hispanic Access Foundation on three years of major public polling of the Latino community makes it clear that we view conservation as a fundamental value.Read More
The wishes of Hispanic voters will have to be considered, especially when discussing preservation and access to public lands. Jobs won’t always be enough to sway support for drilling — it’s easier now to understand why Mora County officials still preferred to keep oil exploration out of their backyard with their first-in-the-nation fracking ban.Read More
This week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that over $43 million will be provided for parks, outdoor recreation and conservation throughout the country from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is welcome news, and continues the 50-year legacy that has enabled over 41,000 projects since the fund was established by Congress in 1964.Read More
Max Trujillo and I have spent time in DC this month, announcing our poll, knocking on doors and spreading the word that Latinos support conservation. Here's an update on the progress we’re making to strike a better balance between oil and gas development and conservation.Read More
...in the most elemental sense, we are all hecho por la naturaleza – products of the natural world around us. Like the world’s fish, wildlife and plants, we depend on the Earth’s natural systems for clean air, clean water, food, shelter, jobs and economic growth.Read More
The newly designated Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument is a wonderful addition to our federally protected land in New Mexico. Many conservation groups, environmental groups, sportsmen’s groups, and individuals were responsible for making this decade-old dream a reality, and HECHO is certainly excited and proud to have been involved this “monumental” occasion.Read More
HECHO is in Washington, DC today providing commentary on oil and natural gas venting and flaring. We believe that it is possible to have oil and gas development, as well as protect the familiar trails and favorite fishing holes that Latinos in the West hold dear. Do we want our precious landscapes to look like the Bakken in North Dakota? Development has to be done smart and managed in a balanced way. As we’ve seen more and more oil and gas wells near our favorite outdoor sites, those of us who spend countless hours outside can see the changes, in particular in the air with more haze and smog than ever. It’s encouraging to see the BLM taking the first step toward ensuring that my generation and our children, and our children’s children can experience the lands and heritage that make us who we are.Read More
On Earth Day, Latino Organizations Call for Balanced and Careful Use of Public Lands. On the occasion of Earth Day, Latino organizations from California to the District of Columbia are asking federal agencies and managing authorities to prioritize public health and the health of public lands as they endeavor to fulfill national energy needs.Read More
It was encouraging to see Colorado's La Voz raise the issue of oil and gas development as one that affects Latinos, in a recent commentary by James Mejia. As we move closer to the midterm elections, the dialog on national issues has engaged Latinos in a new way.
So, why now?
Latinos collectively now have a permanent and more powerful voice across the political landscape on issues ranging from education to the health care. With energy development booming in the West, the landscape itself has become political.Read More
Today, the Interior Department revealed a strategy that takes a smarter, proactive approach to energy development. A road map for Interior Secretary Jewell’s first Secretarial Order and first major action on conservation, the mitigation strategy will lead to better protection for fish, wildlife, water, farming and ranching, and landscapes across the West.Read More
Development in western grasslands has fragmented so much habitat of this iconic game bird, that it can no longer be hunted in New Mexico.
Listing any species is serious business and should only be done when the science supports such action. The administration made today’s listing decision based on sound science.Read More
Whether I was surrounded by organ pipe cacti or ponderosa pine, whether there was bare rock underfoot or fertile soil, I realized that every place had provided our ancestors with sustenance and healing. Every place evoked stories. Every place held spiritual value. And sadly, nearly every place was threatened.Read More
The Arches and Canyonlands of Utah evoke thoughts of remoteness and mystery, fantastical vistas, wild geological formations, and voices echoing impossible distances. For many of us who live out west, these places represent the heart of what it means to find solitude and be in touch with the land, in love with the landscape, tiny in comparison to creation, and more grand in spirit than one could ever imagine. These places open the soul.
Now imagine if oil and gas rigs marred the stunning vistas, and a spaghetti of access roads scarred the solitude. Instead of hearing ravens and wind, you could hear the clank and clamor of the extractive industry. Imagine mountain biking or hiking on trails criss-crossed by truck traffic and heavy machinery, or fishing a polluted river.Read More
Many of us will find our ideal hunting spot in one of Montana’s greatest treasures: its vast tracts of public land. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that public lands will continue to provide the hunting opportunities that we expect. With rising development pressures on our public lands, it is important that we find balance to prevent additional losses of habitat and hunting and fishing opportunity.Read More