For Immediate Release, July 29, 2011
Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360
New Mexico Congressman Relies on Misinformation to Halt Protection for Endangered Species
New Website Compiles Truths, Lies Behind Pearce’s Rhetoric
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) is continuing his misinformation campaign in Congress — and is now trying to persuade his colleagues to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act. Pearce is also pushing an amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives that would halt all funding for the recovery of Mexican gray wolves. Through it all, Pearce is relying on scare tactics and misinformation to make his case.
“Rep. Pearce is a disinformation machine,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “He will say anything to get people riled up about his agenda, even if it’s not true.”
The Center has compiled Pearce’s myths — and the truths they counter — at a website called PearceLies.com.
Among other measures, Pearce is pushing is a bill that would make logging the dominant use of national forests and consign endangered wildlife to “sanctuaries.”
In his long campaign to halt the recovery of Mexican gray wolves, Pearce — with no evidence to back it up — stated on the House floor that wolves stalk human children and told a colleague, “Their blood will be on your hands.”
Pearce’s anti-environment binge has also included an unfounded claim that protection of the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species will jeopardize “most of the oil and gas jobs in southeast New Mexico.”
The lizard’s habitat exists on less than 1 percent of the Permian Basin oil patch in southeast New Mexico and west Texas. A Center for Biological Diversity analysis of U.S. Bureau of Land Management data found that protecting the lizard affected less than 1 percent of public lands where drilling was proposed in 2010-2011.
“There is no way that the lizard could significantly impact oil and gas jobs,” Greenwald said. “But Pearce has no shame about deceiving people in his district to serve his industry masters.”
Pearce has accepted nearly $1.2 million from oil and gas interests. That is more than the other four members of the New Mexico congressional delegation combined. In 2010, Pearce took more money from Big Oil and Gas — $319,000 — than any other non-incumbent candidate for the House of Representatives.