Letter to Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on S. 534, the "Buffalo Tract Protection Act"
On behalf of the over 400-members of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), I am writing to express our opposition to S. 534, the “Buffalo Tract Protection Act,” as it would permanently ban future aggregate production in areas of central New Mexico, severely limiting critical resources needed in the construction of infrastructure and public works projects for this growing region. NSSGA represents aggregates producers and those who manufacture equipment and services that support the construction industry. S. 534 would set bad policy by permanently banning aggregate production on tracts of federal land in central New Mexico. These areas contain some of the only available aggregates supply located near the Albuquerque market. Enacting this ban sets bad precedent and would severely diminish the ability for communities to access key resources that are necessary for building roads, bridges, renewable energy projects, schools, hospitals, homes, and businesses. Allowing this ban to proceed would have a significant impact on the cost of public works projects due to the need to import necessary stone, sand and gravel required to develop and repair infrastructure and buildings. According to conservative estimates, aggregate prices for the Albuquerque metro market would increase 30-to-40 percent, and some projections estimate a 90 percent increase in cost. Advancing S. 534 will stagnate and diminish the movement of goods and commerce in central New Mexico.