The AP revealed Tuesday that Steve Pearce has been hiding his continued involvement in the oil and gas industry for decades, and passing off his $25 million company Trinity Industries as a party rental firm that provides “tents, tables, chairs, knives, forks, everything,” when it has been renting oilfield equipment.
The news quickly raised even more questions about Pearce’s hard-fought battle against the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, and what he might stand to gain financially from oil and gas drilling in the area.
“Steve Pearce has blatantly violated the public trust countless times,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Pearce must immediately release five years of his tax returns and fully disclose all his business dealings so we can see what kind of ‘party’ he and his cronies were planning in the Organ Mountains.”
Pearce has been a staunch opponent of OMDP from the beginning
- After a decade of local support and grass-roots activism for a national monument covering five ranges near Las Cruces, Pearce let his constituents down by introducing legislation that would cover less than 12% of the proposed area. [Albuquerque Journal, 5/20/14]
- In a battle to shrink the monument in 2017, Pearce lied to the public and cited a petition from 2010 that didn’t even mention the word “monument” as backup for his case. [Albuquerque Journal, 7/27/17]
- And his staff went so far as to explicitly ask the Dept. of the Interior to revise the monument. A staffer wrote of the request: “my boss wanted to make sure a sent this over to you all. We really want to make sure the Organ Mountains monument gets reviewed.”
- And Pearce balked at Zinke’s plan to review monuments after it didn’t include OMDP. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, “U.S. Rep.Steve Pearce, R-N.M., who has advocated for a reduction in the monument’s size, issued a statement saying Zinke’s report “fails to provide the solutions New Mexico needs.” [Las Cruces Sun-News, 9/18/17]
What did Pearce stand to gain?
- The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on concerns that the move to shrink monuments was intended to allow for additional oil and gas exploration. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 8/24/17]
- Full disclosure of Pearce’s taxes and business dealings would let the public know who he was working with and if he stood to gain.