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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Signs State's First Bills For Dedicated Environmental Funds

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs SB 9 and SB 72 into law as Rep. Nathan Small (L) and Sen. Steven P. Neville look on.
Kevin Meerschaert
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs SB 9 and SB 72 into law as Rep. Nathan Small (L) and Sen. Steven P. Neville look on.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a pair of bills on Thursday to help preserve wildlife and the environment.

Using the REI Sporting Goods Store in Santa Fe’s Railyard District as a  backdrop, the Governor signed Senate Bills 9 and 72 into law that establish the Legacy Permanent Fund and the Wildlife Corridors Fund.  

SB 9 establishes the state’s first ever dedicated source of recurring funding for conservation efforts. The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund will consist of two $50 million funds, with one fund dedicated to existing state programs and the remaining $50 million going into a permanent  trust fund managed by the State Investment Council. 

There aren’t any specific funds earmarked for the program but Gov. Lujan Grisham says that shouldn’t be a problem in the future.

“What if we said, and I haven’t made this decision, but as an example, if you did $50 million for the next three years you’re right at that early childhood fund. If we did $75 if we did $100 (million) then you start to build a fund that ends up in the billions so now we don’t fight over every single project,” she said. “It’s a statewide initiative and that’s what I’m looking for, a statewide initiative.”       

The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund was bipartisan and was sponsored by Majority Floor Leader Sen. Peter Wirth, Sen. Steven P. Neville, and Rep. Nathan Small. 

“The protection and promotion of our land, air, and water through conservation, infrastructure support, and preservation is an investment every New Mexican should be proud to support,” said Sen. Wirth. “And with this sustained, predictable funding in place, we gain access to untapped federal dollars that will multiply these investments many times over. I would like to thank all the co-sponsors and fellow supporters of Senate Bill 9, and thank Governor  Lujan Grisham for making this effort a priority and signing it into law.”

"I’m proud that today, New Mexico’s enchantment was solidified for my grandkids and their grandkids,” said Sen. Neville. “I am grateful that the governor and my legislative colleagues saw this bill to the finish line for the betterment of all New Mexico families.”

 “New Mexicans know how precious our natural resources are and The Land of Enchantment Fund will empower future New Mexicans to be stewards of these resources for generations to come,” said Rep. Small. “This historic investment is a down payment on a more resilient and sustainable future in the face of a changing climate.” 

The funding will support existing and successful programs that prioritize land and water stewardship, forest and watershed health, outdoor recreation and infrastructure, agriculture and working lands, historic preservation, and wildlife species protection.SB 72 establishes a fund to provide safe road crossings for wildlife and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.