New Mexico's Third Congressional District is known for its beautiful landscapes and natural resources. It is important that we work together to protect the natural, cultural and historical resources which are integral to the identity of all New Mexicans. Land and water are a critical part of the district, and Rep. Lujan is working to protect the culture and traditions associated with land and water while ensuring that New Mexico's beauty is also protected. From our national forests and wilderness areas to our acequias and land grants, there are common values we all share.
Early in the 111th Congress, Rep. Lujan had an historic opportunity to support two very important pieces of legislation designed to protect America's beautiful landscapes and the natural resources associated with them. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act was signed into law by President Obama and will benefit our entire nation. Several elements in this Act are designed to preserve historical sites, protect forests lands and wildlife habitat, and assess the many uses of land and natural resources across the nation.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján also introduced the Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area will include important natural areas such as the Rio San Antonio Wilderness and Ute Mountain as well as other public lands between Taos and Rio Arriba counties and Carson National Forest. The legislation will preserve approximately 236,000 acres of public land in northern New Mexico.
Rep. Lujan supported the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act that included an amendment he offered that aims to reduce wildfire risks associated with invasive species. The FLAME Act establishes a permanent fund for fighting catastrophic wildland fires and establishes a cohesive wildland fire management strategy.
In addition, Rep. Lujan helped to pass the Water Quality Investment Act, which is a renewed commitment to address our nation's substantial needs for water and wastewater infrastructure. The ability of cities, rural water systems and tribal communities to ensure water quality for our nation's families is critical to the health of our country and will help create jobs.
Rep. Lujan introduced the National Environmental Research Park bill, which will promote environmental science programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory by authorizing funding for its research park. The legislation provides important guidance for the Parks' research, development, education, and outreach activities. The legislation passed the House and is now under consideration in the Senate.
All living systems need water. People need it. The climate needs it. Plants and wildlife need it. We are all part of the same living system, and we all need water. Rep. Lujan learned the importance of water tending to the acequia that runs in his childhood front yard. Rep. Lujan knows the importance of water to rural economies across America. Without a reliable water supply, we cannot improve human health, preserve natural ecosystems and culture, or grow rural economies. It is a critical pre-requisite for life, and we must ensure the protection of our water.