Senate Protects New Mexico’s Valley of Life
The U.S. Senate has passed the Valle Vidal Protection Act to safeguard the northern New Mexico wilderness treasure from oil and gas drilling.
The Valle Vidal is a 100,000-acre mountain basin in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Donated to the American people in 1982 by the Pennzoil Co., the Valle Vidal is managed by the Carson National Forest for its wildlife and scenic and recreational opportunities.
The area became known as the Valle Vidal unit, named after what the Indians and Spanish referred to as the valley of life.
The Carson National Forest has been under pressure from the Bush administration’s energy task force, and the oil and gas industry, to “fast track” the opening of Valle Vidal for energy development.
Carson forest officials have been conducting studies in order to lease 40,000 acres on the eastern portion of the Valle Vidal for coalbed methane development.
Congressman Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, introduced the Valle Vidal Protection Act in the House of Representatives on September 15, 2005 where it passed unanimously on July 24, 2006.
Now that the Senate has given its approval, the measure needs President George W. Bush’s signature before it can become law.