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Sunday, December 18, 2011
Bill That Funds N.M. Public Lands and Other Initiatives Sent to President
An excellent Christmas present for New Mexico. Should provide some jobs at least to get a few people working again.And if anyone has driven through some of our State Forest there is alot of downed and dead standing trees. The $402 million should help that hazardous condition within the state.
U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall voted for final approval of a spending measure that funds important public lands initiatives in New Mexico.
The Senate today approved the fiscal year 2012 Omnibus Spending Bill and will now send it to the President to be signed into law.
“By improving the health of our national forests and protecting our state’s public lands, the funding in this bill is an important investment in New Mexico and its people,” Bingaman said.
“New Mexico's public lands are an essential part of our heritage and provide a livelihood for folks across the state,” said Udall. “This bill provides critical funding to help sustain New Mexico's enchanting landscapes and special places.”
The bill included funding for the following New Mexico initiatives:
- $3.432 million for operations at the Valles Caldera National Preserve
- $3.4 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire the Miranda Canyon property in Taos County by the Carson National Forest.
- $8.533 million for the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts in Santa Fe.
- $40 million for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund – a program that Senator Bingaman authored in 2009. Two New Mexico projects will benefit from this level of funding: the ongoing Southwest Jemez Project and a highly-ranked project in the Zuni Mountains within the Cibola National Forest will have a better chance at getting selected during the second round of national selections.
- $1 million for the Livestock Loss Demonstration Program. A portion of the funds will go to New Mexico to compensate ranchers for livestock depredations by Mexican wolves and other means of reducing conflicts between cattle and wolves.
Also at Bingaman and Udall’s urging, the final bill includes $402 million for the Forest Service’s Hazardous Fuels and State Fire Assistance programs, which help mitigate the risks of severe wildfires.