- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas wants to meet with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as federal officials review more than two dozen national monuments to determine if they were properly established.

The New Mexico Democrat said in a letter sent Monday to Zinke that residents of the state are proud of their natural and cultural heritage and that designated monuments help protect sites that date back centuries.

Balderas also argued that monuments can serve as economic engines for rural communities.

The monuments to be reviewed include the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico and Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in the northern part of the state.

Both encompass hundreds of square miles and were created during former President Barack Obama’s tenure.

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