Obviously concerned that Republican Susana Martinez won't keep oil and gas drilling away from Otero Mesa in southern New Mexico, outgoing Gov. Bill Richardson has asked President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to designate the area as a national monument.
Otero Mesa wasn't a major issue during the recent gubernatorial campaign. Described as the largest publicly owned expanse of undisturbed Chihuahuan Desert grassland in the United States, Otero Mesa has become a battleground for environmentalists and the oil and gas industry. Environmentalists say oil and gas production there could impact the area's wildlife and contaminate the groundwater.
Richardson has fought to keep Otero Mesa free from drilling.
Here's a copy of the letter he sent to Obama and Salazar.
Obama_Salazar_Otero Mesa National Monument