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In the News: Pearce talks GOP convention, wolves during visit

Silver City Daily Press – August 1, 2016 – Your Letters are Needed

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Congressman Steve Pearce sat down with Daily Press staff Saturday morning during a visit to Silver City to speak about some of his major issues and concerns in the area, along with what he is looking to accomplish if he is re-elected this November.

Pearce said although there were some strange moments — like Cruz’s speech — he will be supporting Trump in his bid to win the presidency and believes that he is the right man for the job. He said at this point, he believes that Trump’s campaign has become a lot tighter since he is now the Republican nominee.

Pearce, who is running for re-election this year, said he does not believe a traditional campaign is necessary and said he would rather just keep doing his job because his work should speak for itself.

“My strategy on campaigns is that I serve very publicly,” he said. “People know exactly where I stand, and they either like it or they don’t. I’m not here to get elected, I’m here to do a job, and I think when I do that I’ll be elected.”

Pearce said that he will always vote in line with what his constituents want, and would rather do that than have influence from either side of the aisle sway his vote.

“I’m here to represent my 700,000 [people], and you want me to cast a vote against that? No, I’m not going to do that,” Pearce said. “I think I’m called to represent the people here, not someone graduating up the ladder to success in Washington.”

Pearce also spoke about the reintroduction and recovery of the Mexican gray wolf — something he has been quite vocal on in his tenure as a congressman.

He said that most of the proponents’ “facts” are not based on science, and reintroducing the wolves into the area is hard on many ranchers and farmers because the wolves cause major problems.

“The wolves are making it impossible for them to ranch because they eat the cows and calves,” he said.

However, Pearce said the problems do not stop there, and include issues with the federal government not reimbursing ranchers for their losses. For example, Pearce said that the government only reimburses about 1 percent of all ranchers for their losses of livestock.

“What happens is the field guys say it’s obviously a wolf, and then it goes upstream somewhere and it gets changed to probable — and probable doesn’t pay you,” Pearce said.

One solution Pearce supports is the collection of DNA from animals bitten by wolves, which could be sent to a lab for analysis — thus proving the source of an animal’s bite marks and eliminating confusion or things getting watered down by higher-ups.

Following the recent release of an investigation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program by the Department of the Interior’s inspector general — a report which Pearce has previously called “damning” — he submitted an amendment, or rider, to the House Interior and Environment appropriation bill that would strip federal funding from the program.

The bill is to fund the many agencies housed under the Department of the Interior umbrella, many of which impact life here in New Mexico — the National Park Service, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the Bureau of Land Management among them. And of course, Fish and Wildlife.

To the bill, which includes billions of dollars appropriated to Fish and Wildlife, Pearce added the following amendment:

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to treat the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) as an endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or to implement a recovery plan for such species that applies in any area outside the historic range of such species.”

The rider essentially delists the endangered wolf, a move that would certainly upset the significant number of vocal lobo supporters in Grant County.

This article was published in the Silver City Daily Press.


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Show your support for Mexican gray wolves with a letter to the editor today!

The letters to the editor page is one of the most widely read, influential parts of the newspaper. One letter from you can reach thousands of people and will also likely be read by decision-makers.  Tips and talking points for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience. Don't try to include all of the points below. Your letter will be effective if you keep it brief and focus on a few key points.

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points

  • Bills or riders aimed at stripping endangered wolves of federal protections put more than wolves in peril - they threaten all wildlife and the Endangered Species Act itself.
  • The Pearce Amendment is a Mexican wolf extermination bill. If passed, neither Arizona nor New Mexico will provide wolves any real protection, and they will likely be actively hunted.
  • At last official count, only 97 Mexican gray wolves were found in the wild, making them one of the most endangered wolves in the world. The wild population declined 12% since last year’s count.
  • The livestock industry has a responsibility to share public lands with wolves and other wildlife. Wolves are responsible for less than 1% of livestock losses and there are many tried and true methods to avoid conflicts between livestock and wolves. Most wolves stay out of trouble.
  • Since the Mexican wolf reintroduction began, there has always been funding and programs available, via Defenders of Wildlife, the states, or the federal government, to help ranchers cover losses or avoid problems.  Many ranchers have learned to ranch in the presence of wolves, and see them as just another part of working on the land.
  • The science is clear that the Mexican gray wolf is far from recovered and must remain protected under the Endangered Species Act – with such low numbers, losing Endangered Species Act protections would lead to extinction of the wild lobo.
  • Scientists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.
  • Congressman Pearce says that "he will always vote in line with what his constituents want".  If this is true, he would not be calling for the end of protections for Mexican wolves.  In a 2013 poll of registered voters, 87% of New Mexicans agreed that “wolves are a vital part of America’s wilderness and natural heritage.”  80% of New Mexicans agreed that “the US Fish and Wildlife Service should make every effort to help wolves recover and prevent extinction.”  In thinking about wolf reintroduction, 73% of New Mexicans supported restoring wolves to the Grand Canyon region and northern New Mexico.

Make sure you:

  • Thank the paper for publishing the article.
  • Submit your letter as soon as possible. The chance of your letter being published declines after a day or two since the article was published.
  • Do not repeat any negative messages from the article, such as “so and so said that wolves kill too many cows, but…”  Remember that those reading your letter will not be looking at the article it responds to, so this is an opportunity to get out positive messages about wolf recovery rather than to argue with the original article.
  • Keep your letter brief, between 150-350 words.
  • Include something about who you are and why you care: E.g. “I am a mother, outdoors person, teacher, business owner, scientific, religious, etc.”
  • Provide your name, address, phone number and address.  The paper won’t publish these, but they want to know you are who you say you are.