Bill to outlaw traps on public lands clears Senate committee

A bill that would outlaw the use of traps, snares and wildlife poison on public lands in New Mexico cleared its first legislative hearing Tuesday. The Senate Conservation Committee voted 7-2 to endorse the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, also called “Roxy’s Law” after an 8-year-old dog that was caught and killed by a neck snare at Santa Cruz Lake in 2018. Senate Bill 32, which includes exceptions, such as for ecosystem management and religious and ceremonial purposes, establishes misdemeanor penalties for violations of the anti-trapping measure. The vote came after a nearly two-hour discussion and debate from various interests, including ranchers, hunters, conservationists and environmental advocates. Tiffany Rivera, director of governmental affairs for the Las Cruces-based New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, said the bill would “greatly impact” the livestock industry because it would prohibit individuals from dealing with predators that “harass and kill” cattle.

Doña Ana County Commissioners retreat on sodium cyanide bomb amendment

Doña Ana County commissioners gave a federal agency the green light to use lethal sodium cyanide bombs to combat livestock predation. County commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to approve an amended contract with the federal Wildlife Services agency to continue use of the devices, despite an outpouring of opposition from local environmentalists. “It’s pretty shocking,” said Amanda Munro, communications director for the Southwest Environmental Center and a resident of Las Cruces. “I’m very disappointed in the commissioners who voted to instate this next amendment.”

Southwest Environmental Center and other groups have been fighting the use of sodium cyanide bombs, also called M-44s, in Doña Ana county. Environmentalists have argued that the devices are inhumane and that the use of lethal measures to combat predation are based on outdated science.

Federal politics unite unlikely coalitions at the border

The last two years of the Trump administration have been challenging for both environmental and immigrant advocacy groups at the border. Renewed calls to build a $25 billion wall that would cut through important wildlife habitat for species like the jaguar and the Mexican gray wolf, combined with the impacts of ramped-up militarization in border communities, have increasingly united conservationists and social justice activists. This newfound collaboration is especially strong in Las Cruces, in southern New Mexico. This story originally appeared at High Country News and is reprinted with permission. Here, in the Borderlands, groups like the faith-based organization NMCAFé and the American Civil Liberties Union Regional Center for Border Rights have long worked on immigration reform and fought for immigrant rights at detention facilities.

Immigrant advocates say SW detention camps pose toxic threats

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Groups advocating for the rights of children and families detained at the southern border are using the Freedom of Information Act to find out exactly where the Trump administration plans to build migrant detention centers on two military bases in the Southwest. The centers are planned for Fort Bliss and Goodfellow Air Force Base to house immigrants until their cases are resolved. Both sites are known to have toxic waste threats. The Southwest Environmental Center has joined Earthjustice in requesting information on the location of those detention camps. Attorney David Baake with Southwest Environmental Center said Fort Bliss has Superfund sites – polluted locations that require long-term cleanup of hazardous material contamination.