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STATE SEN. CRYSTAL DIAMOND

NM deserves more than just partisan posturing on environment

Posted

I am a Republican state senator and a proud conservationist.

We are at a crossroads in New Mexico between those who write environmental policy from downtown Albuquerque offices and those who live it out in the rest of New Mexico. With proposals coming left and right from coalitions pushing to spend ARPA funds, and legislators pushing for land acquisition, I believe now is the time to tell my story and stand tall for the conservation of our environment.  

Southern New Mexico is my home and I am proud to be raising my children as the next generation of New Mexicans who will steward and care for our land. My daughters are fourth-generation cattle ranchers and avid hunters, and I am teaching them that our land puts food on the table, that our water is scarce and precious and that our future depends on what we do today. At a young age, they too have learned the importance of conserving our natural resources, while witnessing the vast management differences of conservation practices vs. preservation lockdowns. Together, we learn these lessons, not from Instagram graphics, but from hunting in the mountains, farming in the valley and ranching on the plains.

As the former director of a Soil and Water Conservation District, I have been disappointed in my role as a legislator to see disingenuous politicians give lip service to the environment with feel-good measures that neglect our land and render our forests ripe for wildfire. The coastal elites who write policies for the eco-left in New Mexico do not seem to understand that in order to keep our land healthy, we have to manage it. And if you want practical examples of how to manage our land well, look no further than New Mexico’s farmers, ranchers, outdoorsmen and tribal leaders.

Look to the rancher who has kept healthy pastures for 10 generations. Look to the farmer who is feeding America using less and less water through innovative farming practices. Look to the hunter who helps keep our wildlife populations in check. Look to the tribal lands that have vast ecological diversity in their wilderness, without the devastating wildfires we see on federal- and state-controlled property.

Like these conservationists, I believe in conserving and protecting our land, not sequestering and neglecting it. Land acquisition is not enough. Just as we hire a crew at Chaco Canyon to preserve the structures, we must preserve our public lands through responsible management, including watershed restoration and forest thinning.

As New Mexicans, we are responsible to be good stewards of our environment so current and future generations have access to clean water and air, healthy and productive land and a thriving biodiversity. Our state needs more than political posturing right now and I am eager to partner with my colleagues to take a responsible approach to conservation in New Mexico. My fellow lawmakers know there are practical and bipartisan approaches to stewarding our land and resources, and I hope they include as many stakeholders as possible in their discussions and strategies. We can and we must do better for the land, the wildlife and the people of our state.  

Crystal Diamond was elected in 2020 to represent state Senate District 35, which includes all of Sierra, Luna and Hidalgo counties and part of Doña Ana County. She lives on a ranch near Elephant Butte.

Crystal Diamond