Senator Bingaman Honored for Conservation Leadership
Press release – Senator Bingaman Honored for Conservation Leadership
Conservation Lands Foundation Bestows Highest Honor on U.S. Senator
June 18, 2012 – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) received the Stewart Udall Award from the Conservation Lands Foundation for his leadership on public lands issues, particularly for his role in spearheading the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. This bill protected over 2 million acres of public land and made permanent the National Conservation Lands, the Bureau of Land Management’s system of protected public lands.
“Throughout his career, Senator Bingaman’s persistence and dedication have played an important role in protecting our natural and cultural heritage for future generations,” said Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior, and member of the board of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “His leadership in the Senate has resulted in the protection of millions of acres of pristine wilderness, scenic areas and historic treasures.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Bingaman has consistently highlighted the importance of protecting some of our most special places, both in New Mexico and around the country,” said Richard Moe, board member of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “It is fitting that he should receive the highest honor from the Conservation Lands Foundation, as his efforts in Congress embody the leadership that Stewart Udall displayed in protecting America’s natural, historic and cultural resources.”
Sen. Bingaman has served in the Senate since 1983 and has been the chair and ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee since 1999. He helped secure the passage of the Ojito Wilderness Act, which protected a phenomenal landscape in New Mexico and designated the first new wilderness area in the state in 15 years.
He also sponsored the National Landscape Conservation System Act, which passed as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. The package established the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which protects 290 million-year old fossilized animal tracks in the Robledo Mountains in Doña Ana County and the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area (NCA), a one-of-a-kind geological treasure in Lincoln County. The bill was an historic success for BLM public lands, creating or expanding over two dozen wilderness areas, monuments and NCAs managed by the BLM in six states and codifying the National Conservation Lands, which protects nationally significant landscapes for current and future generations because of their outstanding cultural, ecological and scientific importance.
The award that Bingaman received is named for former Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, who was a tireless advocate for safeguarding the nation’s natural heritage. Prior winners of the Stewart Udall Award include former Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) and retired BLM California State Director Ed Hasty.