Report: Obama to proclaim Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks NMon on Wednesday; nearly 500,000ac to be protected

President Obama will declare the largest national monument in his tenure Wednesday, setting a nearly 500,000-acre swath of southern New Mexico off-limits to development.

Many community leaders had pressed the president to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region — which has petroglyphs from three American Indian societies in its canyons, as well as desert grasslands and a petrified forest — under the Antiquities Act rather than waiting for Congress to act. But some in the area near Las Cruces, including cattle ranchers and Rep. Steven Pearce (R-N.M.), opposed a presidential designation on the grounds it was too far-reaching and represented an overreach on the administration's part.

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New NMon will closely resemble plan put forth by New Mexico senators

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