This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As a former director of the Bureau of Land Management, I know Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is entitled to his opinion about the proposed Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in my home state of New Mexico. These public lands belong to all Americans, and we all deserve a say, wherever we live.

And just as Bishop cares about New Mexico, I care for America's redrock wilderness in Utah.

It's just a shame that Bishop is so poorly informed about the proven economic benefits of protecting public lands. When President Barack Obama designates the Rio Grande del Norte area as a monument, it will better the local economy.

Republican and Democratic presidents have used the Antiquities Act more than a hundred times to protect some of America's most treasured landscapes as national monuments. National monuments are useful tools to stop threats. Places like Arches and Zion national parks have benefited, as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

I'm saddened that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is attacking Utah's federal lands that belong to all of us with his 20 lawsuits against the United States. I hope Obama will help stop that threat by designating the greater Canyonlands region as a national monument.

Jim Baca

Albuquerque, N.M.

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