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Press Release: New Mexico Gov. Martinez Should Stop The Gila River Diversion

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2014
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado

New Mexico Gov Martinez Should Stop The Gila River Diversion
Diversion would continue river-destruction legacy across Colorado River Basin

Fort Collins, CO:  Last week, Save The Colorado launched a Change.org petition to tell New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez to protect the Gila River by stopping the proposed Gila River Diversion. The Diversion proposes to take more water out of the gila-protest2Gila River – at a cost of nearly a billion dollars – and pipe it to cities and farms in Southwest New Mexico. A board appointed by Governor Martinez, the Interstate Stream Commission, has the final say in whether the State asks the U.S. Department of Interior for part of the money for the diversion, or alternatively for money for conservation and efficiency measures. Ultimately it is her appointed commission and she is responsible for the decisions they make.

“The Gila River in New Mexico is one of the more beautiful rivers in the Colorado River basin and flows into the Colorado River downstream,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado.  “The proposed diversion would continue the legacy of river destruction across the Southwest U.S. at a time when we need a common-sense shift to more sustainable water management policies focusing on conservation and efficiency.”

On Friday, November 14th, the staff of the Interstate Stream Commission recommended the Diversion (see this article in the Albuquerque Journal).  A few days before, a large gila-billboardrally of environmentalists, taxpayers, and river protectors urged the appointed Commission to oppose the Diversion (see this article in the Albuquerque Journal).  The Governor’s appointed Commission members must make a final decision by Dec. 31st.

“If Governor Martinez supports a recommendation for the Diversion, it will launch a multi-decade water war and permitting battle in New Mexico and the Southwest U.S.,” said Wockner.  “Alternatively, conservation and efficiency programs are welcomed by the environmental community and are the fastest, easiest, cheapest method for cities and farms to maximize water supplies. Governor Martinez has an opportunity to show that New Mexico can be an innovator in the West.”

“We need to protect and restore the rivers across the Colorado River basin, not further deplete them,” continued Wockner. “From Denver to Casper to San Diego to Albuquerque, we are keeping track of these proposed water projects, and we are strongly encouraging decision-makers to find a new and more sustainable path forward.”

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