HOUSE BILL 261
48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
FOR THE WATER AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS NATURAL RESOURCES MATTERS; AMENDING THE NATURAL RESOURCES TRUSTEE ACT TO PROVIDE FOR MANAGEMENT AND TO USE OF MONEY IN THE NATURAL RESOURCES TRUSTEE FUND AND TO PROVIDE FOR A GENERAL FUND APPROPRIATION FOR OPERATING EXPENSES OF THE OFFICE OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES TRUSTEE; MAKING APPROPRIATIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. Section 75-7-1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1993, Chapter 292, Section 1) is amended to read:
"75-7-1. SHORT TITLE.--[This act] Chapter 75, Article 7 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the "Natural Resources Trustee Act"."
Section 2. Section 75-7-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1993, Chapter 292, Section 2) is amended to read:
"75-7-2. NATURAL RESOURCES TRUSTEE--OFFICE OF NATURAL RESOURCES TRUSTEE.--
A. The "natural resources trustee" is created. [He] The trustee is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor pursuant to the provisions of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended by the federal Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and any other applicable federal law. The natural resources trustee shall act on behalf of the public as trustee of natural resources within the state or belonging to, managed by, controlled by or appertaining to the state, including protecting and representing the state's interest under applicable federal laws regarding injury to, destruction of or loss of natural resources in the state.
B. The "office of natural resources trustee" is created. The office shall be administratively attached to the department of environment. The administrative head of the office of natural resources trustee is the natural resources trustee. For purposes of this subsection, the term "administratively attached" means the same as specified in Section 9-1-7 NMSA 1978."
Section 3. Section 75-7-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1993, Chapter 292, Section 5, as amended) is amended to read:
"75-7-5. NATURAL RESOURCES TRUSTEE FUND.--
A. The "natural resources trustee fund" is created in the state treasury. Money appropriated to the fund or accruing to it through gifts, grants, fees, penalties, bequests or any other source shall be delivered to the state treasurer and deposited in the fund. Money recovered for the state by or on behalf of the natural resources trustee shall be deposited in the natural resources trustee fund. The fund shall be administered by the natural resources trustee as a separate account and may consist of subaccounts that the natural resources trustee deems necessary to carry out the purposes of the fund. Disbursements from the fund shall be made upon warrants drawn by the secretary of finance and administration pursuant to vouchers signed by the natural resources trustee or [his] the trustee's designated representative. Money in the fund shall not revert to the general fund at the end of a fiscal year.
B. Pursuant to the following criteria, money in the natural resources trustee fund shall be used to carry out the provisions of the Natural Resources Trustee Act by restoring, replacing or acquiring natural resources in an area where natural resources have been injured, destroyed or lost, provided that money deposited in the fund because of injury to, destruction of or loss of natural resources in an area shall be disbursed to restore, replace or acquire natural resources in that same area:
(1) if an expenditure from the fund is necessary to comply with a court order or court-approved settlement or to match federal funds, then, pursuant to Sections 6-3-23 through 6-3-25 NMSA 1978, the natural resources trustee may request a budget increase and, if approved, the amount of the expenditure is appropriated; [and]
(2) if money is received for reimbursement of assessment costs, then the natural resources trustee may expend money for injury assessment, and money is appropriated in that amount for that purpose; and
[(2)] (3) any other expenditures from the fund shall be made only pursuant to appropriation by the legislature.
C. In addition to expenditures made pursuant to Subsection B of this section, money [in the natural resources trustee fund] shall be appropriated annually by the legislature from the general fund for the purpose of providing for necessary personnel and other costs of the natural resources trustee, the attorney general and the office of natural resources trustee in carrying out the provisions of the Natural Resources Trustee Act, including the cost of investigation, assessment, collection or enforcement.
D. For purposes of this section, "assessment costs" means the costs of restoration and the costs of collecting, compiling and analyzing information, statistics or data to determine damages for injuries to natural resources pursuant to the Natural Resources Trustee Act.
[D.] E. Money in the natural resources trustee fund shall be invested as other state funds are invested, and interest and earnings from the fund shall not revert to the general fund but shall be credited to the natural resources trustee fund."
Section 4. APPROPRIATION.--Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the office of the natural resources trustee for expenditure in fiscal year 2008 for the operations of the office of the natural resources trustee and to carry out the provisions of the Natural Resources Trustee Act. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of the fiscal year 2008 shall revert to the general fund.
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