June 21, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Schudlich, 505-470-4878
Alan Lackey, 505-447-7513
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Trout Unlimited and a coalition of conservation groups today thanked Reps. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Wilson (R-NM) for their leadership on a bill that would permanently protect the Valle Vidal, one of the greatest natural treasures in New Mexico. The bill (H.R.3817), which was introduced by Udall last September, was unanimously approved by the House Resources Committee and sent to the House floor for consideration.
“Rep. Udall has consistently been a strong voice for the protection of our best remaining fish and wildlife habitat,” said Bill Schudlich, Chairman of Trout Unlimited’s New Mexico Council. “We are thrilled to see Rep. Wilson adding her co-sponsorship to this bill, which would ensure that this remarkable landscape remains off-limits to oil and gas development.”
In 1982, the Pennzoil Corp. donated the Valle Vidal to the people of the United States for conservation purposes. It is home to the state’s largest elk herd and one of the last strongholds for the increasingly rare Rio Grande cutthroat trout. It is a popular destination for elk hunters, trout fishers, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts from all over the country.
“Trout Unlimited has been actively engaged in restoration work to help keep the Rio Grande cutthroat trout from being listed under the Endangered Species Act,” added Schudlich. “Proposed energy development in the Valle Vidal has the potential to undo all that good and important work.”
“While oil and gas development is important, there are certain places that should remain in their natural state,” said Alan Lackey, a founding member of the Coalition for the Valle Vidal. “The Valle Vidal is one of those places. There’s just nothing quite like it.”