ALBUQUERQUE – During the 2013 Legislative Session, State Representative Yvette Herrell (R-HD 51) introduced HB 292, legislation that would have allowed for transfer of public lands from the federal government to the state. This was a bill that Democratic State Land Commissioner Ray Powell opposed; however, he recently told the Albuquerque Journal that he believes transferring some public lands from federal control to the state would be a beneficial idea. See the story here.
“Land Commissioner Powell’s flip-flop on this issue is incredulous,” said RPNM Chairman John Billinglsey. “The fact that Representative Herrell has been working on legislation that would accomplish this task—and increase state revenues as he stated was the ultimate goal—for two years is something that seems to have slipped his mind. Thanks to the hard work of Rep. Herrell, this is already something that has been well researched, discussed and presented, and now we see Powell attempting to take credit for this idea.”
“Rep. Herrell even exhibited a willingness to compromise last session, allowing a committee substitute of HB 292 that changed it from a demand of land transfer to legislation that created a task force,” continued Billingsley. “Strangely enough, Powell still would not support the bill. Now, he is asking for state money to perform a study. To put that more clearly, he is asking for the hard earned tax dollars of New Mexicans to look into something that could already be resolved.”
“We are proud of the work that Rep. Herrell has done on this issue to return resource management to the local level, increase state revenues, and create jobs here in New Mexico,” continued Billingsley. “If Powell really wants to get something done on this, perhaps he should contact Rep. Herrell instead of playing political games with our state’s lands and supporting solutions when it is convenient. While we appreciate the fact that he is now supporting this idea, his stance swaying in the winds of political favor has to make voters question whether or not they can trust his positions. This is a flip-flop, plain and simple, and an attempt to take credit for a genuine solution that was not his. It’s clear that Powell’s loyalties sway as much as his positions on the issues.”
Interested in learning more about the transfer of public lands from the federal government to the state government? This video I discovered on Facebook has more: