New Mexico governor joins US conservation challenge

Aug 25, 2021, 11:47 AM | Updated: 9:48 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Wednesday making New Mexico the latest Western state to join an ambitious effort to conserve nearly one-third of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

The Biden administration detailed its plans in May for achieving the goal, saying conservation and restoration of lands and waters was an urgent priority. Democratic officials and environmentalists see the effort as a tool to increase green space, protect drinking water sources and reduce wildfire risks.

To make significant progress on the decadelong commitment, experts have said Western states must play a key role in the effort.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said she wants to “bring people together” in New Mexico for the initiative that she hopes will make a difference for decades to come.

Her executive order calls for the creation of a committee made up of key state agencies to draft a plan for reaching the goal. The group will meet four times a year and report back annually to the governor.

“I just want action,” Lujan Grisham said before signing the order, “but if you don’t have a guide … we’re not going to get every opportunity that we deserve.”

California was the first to formalize its 2030 conservation goal when Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping executive order last fall. Nevada followed in May with lawmakers in the Democrat-dominated state passing a resolution.

About 12% of the nation’s lands and one-quarter of its waters are currently protected, according to research by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. Wilderness areas, game refuges, agricultural lands, ranches and other sites with conservation easements are among the protected parcels.

Nationally, the Biden administration is calling for the expansion of federal grant programs to create more local parks, increase access to outdoor recreation and for Indigenous communities to access funding for conservation priorities.

In New Mexico, members of Lujan Grisham’s executive cabinet have been charged with finding ways to leverage state and federal funding and existing programs to help with the effort.

They must also consider the importance of working lands, such as farms and ranches, as well as tribal sovereignty.

The order acknowledges that “agricultural production through farming and ranching represents historic, current and future land use and embodies cultural traditions that are at risk due to drought, development, climate impacts and reduced water availability.”

A handful of rural New Mexico counties have passed resolutions in recent months opposing the effort.

Elected leaders in those communities have voiced concerns that designating more wilderness areas and imposing more restrictions would compromise the livelihoods of residents and businesses dependent on the landscape.

Republican state Sen. Crystal Diamond of Elephant Butte said almost half of all land in New Mexico — the fifth largest state in the U.S. — is already owned and managed by either the state or federal government.

“We all know that our family-owned, private land is better managed, utilized and preserved,” she said. “This 30×30 initiative set forth by the governor is a thinly veiled land grab, and the people of New Mexico will not stand for it.”

Environmentalists praised Lujan Grisham’s move, arguing that it would help protect New Mexico’s outdoor heritage and the traditions of agricultural-based communities.

Theresa Pasqual, executive director of Acoma Pueblo’s Historic Preservation Office, said it marks the start of a conversation that will allow local communities to figure out what would work best for them.

“We start that conversation by thinking about what’s in our own backyard,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A staff of Nissan car showroom wipes a car on Jan. 31, 2022, in Tokyo. Nissan reported a 55%...
Associated Press

Japan’s Nissan reports better profit as chip crunch eases

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan reported a 55% jump in October-December profit Thursday, as the Japanese automaker seeks to embark on a less bumpy journey with its French alliance partner Renault. Profit for the quarter at Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co. totaled 50.6 billion yen ($386 million), up from 32.7 billion yen the previous year. Quarterly sales […]
2 hours ago
Heavy machinery moves coal as it is poured onto a stack near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, Aus...
Associated Press

Australia rejects new coal mine on environmental grounds

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has for the first time rejected a coal mining application based on environmental law. The government is under pressure to curb climate change by blocking all new coal and gas extraction projects. Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of both fossil fuels, which are major sources of the […]
2 hours ago
Raqiya Abdsalam, who survived a bout of dengue fever, sits at her home in El-Obeid, Sudan on Januar...
Associated Press

Sudan’s tropical disease spike reflects poor health system

EL OBEID, Sudan (AP) — The two Sudanese women thought they had malaria and were taking their medication, but things took a dire turn. Both complained of a splitting headache and fever that didn’t respond to the anti-malaria treatment. By the time she was diagnosed with dengue fever, Raqiya Abdsalam was unconscious. “Soon after they […]
2 hours ago
FILE - Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. gestures during his speech at the 2022 Department ...
Associated Press

Japan, Philippines to sign plans to boost defense ties

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. are expected to sign key agreements to boost their defense ties Thursday as Asia sees tensions around China’s growing influence. Marcos is visiting Japan soon after he and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reached agreements on allowing the United States […]
1 day ago
A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securiti...
Associated Press

Asian shares mixed after Wall St falls on rate hike worries

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed Thursday in Asia after Wall Street gave back some of its recent gains on persisting uncertainty over interest rates and inflation. Benchmarks declined in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney but rose in Hong Kong and Shanghai. U.S. futures were higher while oil prices edged up. Wall Street retreated Wednesday following […]
1 day ago
FILE - The company logo highlights the grille of a 2021 Tacoma pickup truck on display in the Toyot...
Associated Press

Toyota reports 8% drop in Oct-Dec profit, keeps forecast

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota reported an 8.1% drop in fiscal third quarter profit Thursday, as a global shortage of computer chips and soaring raw material costs battering the auto industry hit Japan’s top automaker. Toyota Motor Corp.’s October-December profit totaled 727.9 billion yen ($5.6 billion), down from 791.7 billion yen the previous year. The company […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
New Mexico governor joins US conservation challenge