capitol reports

Capitol Report 1/27/22 – Legislators Act to Protect New Mexico forests and watersheds.

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INTRO:

New Mexico Legislators are discussing proposals about the impact of wildfires on our state’s natural resources and the need to develop solutions to better protect New Mexico’s forests and watersheds.

Jason Espinoza reports from the Roundhouse.

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New Mexico, like other western states, faces urgent issues concerning catastrophic wildfires. Increasing severity of wildfires are expanding risk to communities, firefighters, and natural resources — especially water supply.

 

In response to this growing risk, The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed a committee substitute for a house bill that would appropriate $4.6 million to establish the New Mexico Reforestation Center.

 

The Reforestation Center would be tasked with addressing the impacts of climate change on the state’s forests and meet the state’s current and future restoration needs through establishment of a seed bank program, a nursery program, and a planting program. The Center would also be tasked with developing and implementing comprehensive policies and projects related to reforestation.

 

The Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department stated that it will help develop forests that are resilient to the impacts of climate change, which will enhance their ability to sequester carbon and capture and promote ecological benefits for current and future generations.

 

After receiving an endorsement of the bill from the Committee, Representative Kristina Ortez, one of 5 sponsors of the legislation, posted on social media that “Not only will this bill improve our soil quality, air quality, and water quality, it will create hundreds of jobs, at all skill and experience levels, across the state.

 

For the New Mexico News Network, I’m Jason Espinoza

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