Bipartisan Land & Water Conservation Proposal Receives Unanimous Support
Santa Fe, N.M. - January 31, 2023 - Today representatives of a broad coalition of New Mexico organizations released the following statement after the Senate Conservation Committee voted unanimously 7-0 with a “do-pass” recommendation for Senate Bill 9: The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, that would create the state’s first dedicated and long-term funding stream for land and water conservation.
“Today’s unanimous endorsement by the Senate Conservation Committee reinforces the urgent need for this fund,” said Dr. Brittany Fallon, western lands senior policy manager at Western Resource Advocates. “With support from legislators on both sides of the aisle, it’s clear we must prioritize land and water conservation this session. We are eager to continue this positive momentum as it moves through the legislative process so that we can have a sustainable fund in place to protect and restore New Mexico’s landscape for future generations.”
“We’re proud to be among the broad coalition advocating for this fund, and pleased to see the strong bipartisan support it is receiving,” said Pam Roy, executive director of the Farm to Table and coordinator of the New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council. “How we manage our natural resources directly affects the health, safety, livelihoods and quality of life of every New Mexican, and we must seize the opportunity before us to make this historic investment.”
SB9, the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, would invest in existing state programs to leverage federal funds to protect New Mexico communities from wildfire, flood and drought, safeguard urban and rural water supplies, support rural and agricultural communities, and grow our outdoor recreation economy. The bill is sponsored by Sens. Steven Neville (R), Peter Wirth (D) and Rep. Nathan Small (D), building on the vision laid out by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in her executive budget recommendation.
The Fund is a bipartisan product of five years’ negotiations among a broad coalition of legislators, state agencies, community stakeholders and non-governmental organizations. More information can be found here and the text of the bill as introduced can be viewed here.