Bill would divert oil and gas money to restoration - Albuquerque Journal

Bill would divert oil and gas money to restoration

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Skyrocketing oil and natural gas production in southeastern New Mexico continues to produce record-setting state revenue. A broad coalition of agricultural and environmental groups believe some of that money should help restore the state’s land and water.

Senate Bill 102, the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act, would direct a portion of the state’s oil and gas revenue surplus to a permanent fund for habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture projects in the state.

Bill sponsor Sen. Steven Neville, R-Aztec, joined representatives from the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts and several other groups at the Roundhouse on Tuesday to show support for the bill.

The bill proposes that $150 million be appropriated from the general fund into an Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund in fiscal year 2021. Interest from public and private investments in the fund would pay for restoration projects.

“Everything we care about in New Mexico really begins with the well-being of our land and water, and this is an opportunity to reinvest in those resources,” said Lesli Allison, executive director of the Western Landowners Alliance. “This could give New Mexico a different future.”

The legislation is modeled on the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust program, which has allocated $97 million since 2005 for river restoration and rangeland improvements.

Money in the New Mexico fund could be used to reduce streambed erosion, improve water quality, and restore fire-impacted watersheds. Potential projects also include preserving open space, purchasing conservation easements, enhancing wildlife habitat in “areas impacted by residential, energy, mineral or industrial development,” managing invasive plant species, and creating healthy soil and other sustainable agriculture projects on private land.

The fund could provide state money as a match to qualify for federal conservation grants.

“People have been caring for this land for generations, and they want to see it protected forever,” said Cecilia Rosacker, executive director of the Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust. “Our stumbling block has always been funding.”

The bill would secure long-term funding for habitat preservation projects, instead of “fighting for scraps every year,” according to Michael Dax, New Mexico representative for Defenders of Wildlife.

Some other organizations in support of SB 102 include Trout Unlimited, Audubon New Mexico, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the Quivira Coalition and Holistic Management International.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Twins subplot aside, Lobos' Duffs prioritize getting the victory
College
Twin showdown, double trouble, twice the ... Twin showdown, double trouble, twice the fun ...The Duff and Cavinder sisters have und ...
2
Lobos face surprise of the Mountain West Saturday at ...
College
The ball sails freely in that ... The ball sails freely in that cold, thin air of Laramie, Wyoming.And as the University ...
3
Garvey tells Lobos their upward journey can begin here, ...
Baseball
When Steve Garvey first came to ... When Steve Garvey first came to Albuquerque in 1969 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old in just his second ...
4
Lobos begin indoor T&F stretch with MLK Jr. invitational ...
College
The University of New Mexico men's ... The University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field programs begin their four-weekend stretch of home meets Saturday with the Dr. Martin ...
5
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...
6
Editorial: Study paves way for more NM wildlife crossings
Editorials
Kudos to N.M. wildlife and transportation ... Kudos to N.M. wildlife and transportation officials for converting a sizable data-gathering project ...
7
Editorial: APS should learn it's not above open records ...
Editorials
APS should learn it's not above ... APS should learn it's not above open records law
8
Exhibit looks at the landscapes of New Mexico, Colorado ...
Arts
Place can connect us to something ... Place can connect us to something beyond ourselves.For Placitas artist Joan Fenicle, t ...
9
Exhibit looks at the Rio Grande through photography and ...
Arts
Clarke Condé's photography speaks volumes without ... Clarke Condé's photography speaks volumes without him uttering one word.Yet, th ...