SENATE MEMORIAL 124
53rd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2017
William F. Burt
REQUESTING THE GOVERNOR TO CONVENE MEETINGS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND GENERAL COUNSELS OF STATE AGENCIES THAT PARTICIPATE IN THE PLANNING OR FUNDING OF WATERSHED RESTORATION PROJECTS IN THE STATE TO DEVELOP A CONSISTENT APPLICATION OF THE LAW GOVERNING THE USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR SUCH PROJECTS.
WHEREAS, watershed restoration projects are designed to increase the adaptability and resilience to recurring drought and extreme weather events of the state's forests and watersheds; protect water sources; reduce the risk of wildfire and maintain the water storage and release capacity of watersheds; and may include projects to restore burned areas, thin forests and support related economic or workforce development projects; and
WHEREAS, fostering partnerships and cooperation among federal, state and county agencies, tribal entities, political subdivisions and educational institutions of the state, soil and water conservation districts, the forest products industry, the Rio Grande water fund and other public and private organizations dedicated to forest and watershed preservation and restoration programs or projects is necessary to efficiently implement watershed restoration projects to protect and maintain the state's water sources; and
WHEREAS, watershed restoration projects constitute the performance of an essential governmental function, and the expenditure of public funds for watershed restoration projects on any lands within the state serve the important public purpose of protecting and maintaining the state's water sources; and
WHEREAS, state agencies that are authorized to plan, organize, participate in or implement a watershed restoration project may expend public money on a project that incidentally benefits private lands; and
WHEREAS, there is often disagreement within and among state and local agencies concerning the expenditure of public funds on watershed restoration projects that incidentally benefit non-state lands; and
WHEREAS, this lack of agreement can hamper efforts to efficiently administer and coordinate watershed restoration projects in the state;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the governor convene meetings of the attorney general and the general counsels of state agencies that participate in the planning or funding of watershed restoration projects in the state to develop a consistent application of the law governing the use of public funds for watershed restoration projects on any lands within the state that serve the important public purpose of protecting and maintaining the state's water sources; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that counsel from the energy, minerals and natural resources department, department of game and fish, department of environment, office of the state engineer, interstate stream commission, office of the attorney general and legislative council service be invited to attend the meetings; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the offices of the governor and attorney general report to the appropriate interim legislative committee by September 2017 on the results of the meetings; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor and attorney general.
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