New Mexico legislator proposes house bill modeled after Utah’s public lands transfer act

The Great Seal of the State of New Mexico, floor of the New Mexico Capitol Dome, Capitol Building, Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 25, 2008 | Photo courtesy of Puroticorico,

ST. GEORGE  – New legislation was introduced in the New Mexico Legislature that proposes to shift management of public lands from the federal government to that of the state. If the idea sounds familiar, it’s because it was patterned after Utah’s own “Transfer of Public Lands Act” that Gov. Gary Herbert signed on March 23, 2012.

In its legislative round-up Wednesday, The Santa Fe New Mexican, describes the bill, H.B. 292, “as one of the most ambitious and longest-shot bills introduced so far.”

Sponsored by N.M. Rep. Yvette Herrell and co-sponsored by a handful of others, the bill proposes transferring millions of acres of federal land over to the state, with the notable exceptions of national parks, national monuments, tribal lands, and so forth. The transfer of lands would be overseen by a task force which, if the bill passes as drafted, will hold its first meeting sometime before July 1, 2013, and will be disbanded by July 1, 2016.

Details of how funds gained from the sale of public lands are also outlined in the proposed bill.

“I am very excited about (this),” said Alan Gardner, Washington County commissioner. He said legislators in other states in the West were considering proposing similar public lands transfer bills.

“It’s great to see this effort pick up steam,” he said.

Gardner has spoken out against what he said he considers the federal government’s “micromanaging” of public lands in the past.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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1 Comment

  • Karen January 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    I’m happy to hear how excited Alan Gardner is about New Mexico’s legislation. Alan is unhappy with the federal government and claims it micro-manages public lands. This is the same Alan Gardner that gave us the monster houses of The Ledges that overlook Snow Canyon State Park and ruin the view. This is all due to his support of the troubled Ledges development that not only ruins the view for visitors but has forced a family-friendly trail on the rim to become a goat trail as it has to drop below the rim to skirt around the golf course up there. Thanks, Mr. Gardner for looking out for the citizens of Washington County.

    As for me, I’ll take the federal government over your management anytime.

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