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News Release

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

On February 4, New Mexico Wild and Citizens Caring for the Future (CCFF), an organization of community members who support protecting New Mexico’s air, water and public health and safety in the Permian Basin, released the following statement on a new National Geographic investigation that found “the Trump Administration’s push to open public lands for energy exploration puts Carlsbad Caverns, scores of other caves in New Mexico, and aquifers that supply drinking water to tens of thousands of homeowners at risk of contamination.” 

“Years of unchecked oil and gas development in the Permian Basin has put Carlsbad Caverns, one of our state’s most iconic and beloved public lands destinations, at risk. The wild-west, anything goes policies of the previous administration threatens not only wild lands, wildlife, and cultural resources, but also our future. The local communities surrounding the park are buoyed by the tourism dollars and spending at local businesses that the park generates,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. 

“President Biden’s moratorium on new oil and gas sales is a breath of fresh air and a complete one-eighty from the previous drill-as-you-please regime. Taking a pause and evaluating our broken federal leasing program is an important step toward healing planet earth and a lifeline to our state’s outdoor economy at a time when small businesses are getting creative to keep their doors open during a public health crisis. If we have any hope of mitigating the challenges of climate change, mass species extinction, and issues of environmental justice, equity, and access, we must start here,” Allison added.

"Carlsbad Caverns is one of many things that we have a moral responsibility to protect for future generations and for the long term sustainability of our area,” said Nick King, Pastor and Member of Citizens Caring for the Future. “I often go to the Caverns to be inspired and to pray, as people have done for decades. We must protect places like this as well as our air, land, climate and water as a moral responsibility. What we do here in South East New Mexico has implications for our entire planet as we look at the causes of climate change.

“The oil and gas industry sometimes acts as if the only important thing is short term economic gain. We need to think more about the health of our area and communities. I also think it would be important for BLM to put forth a more serious plan to study the impacts of oil and gas development in our region that could impact the Caverns, community health and our tourist economy. Carlsbad Caverns is an international treasure and is important for our souls, our economy and our future,” King added. 

According to National Park Service documents and its interactive map:

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  • 441,000 park visitors spent an estimated $28.8 million in local gateway regions while visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park in 2019. These expenditures supported a total of 385 jobs, $10.5 million in labor income, $17.7 million in value added, and $32.4 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
  • 2.1 million park visitors spent an estimated $125 million in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands in New Mexico in 2019. These expenditures supported a total of 1,790 jobs, $50.4 million in labor income, $85.9 million in value added, and $155 million in economic output in the New Mexico economy.
Map of oil and gas activity near the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Map of oil and gas activity near the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

About New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance or “New Mexico Wild” is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), independent, statewide, homegrown, grassroots conservation organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. With staff and thousands of supporters throughout the state, New Mexico Wild is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting New Mexico’s land, water, and wildlife.

About Citizens Caring for the Future

Citizens Caring for the Future (CCFF) brings together Southeastern New Mexico community members who support protecting our air, water and public health and safety during the current oil and gas boom in the Permian. The organization seeks to find an informed and safe path to ensure protections for our community in the face of the health, safety and environmental dangers posed by rapid oil and gas development in Southeastern New Mexico. 

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