From the February 2001 Idaho Observer:
New Mexico emergency legislation
Bill would allow counties to mitigate federal land management disaster
Last spring the federal government ignited a prescribed burn even though dry and windy conditions would have prevented a sane person from starting a fire at that time. The fire, as many people predicted, got out of control and burned a significantly large area of the state that included both public and private property. As expected, the federal government has done little, if anything to repair the damage caused by its negligence. Out of desparation and irritation over the federal government's disinterest in taking responsibility for its $multi-billion, the New Mexico state legislature will debate a bill that will effectively return the damaged federal lands to the state where they can be repaired by the state.
SENATE BILL 1
45th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2001
Manny M. Aragon
RELATING TO DISASTERS; DECLARING A DISASTER IN CERTAIN AREAS OF THE NATIONAL FORESTS IN NEW MEXICO; USING THE POLICE POWER OF THE STATE TO EMPOWER COUNTY BOARDS OF COMMISSIONERS TO TAKE ACTIONS NECESSARY FOR CLEARING AND THINNING UNDERGROWTH AND FOR REMOVING AND LOGGING FIRE-DAMAGED TREES; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. FINDINGS-DECLARATION OF DISASTER-
POWERS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONS-APPROPRIATION.-
A. The legislature finds that:
(1) devastating fires during the past year within the national forests in this state, caused in large part by the failure to properly clear and thin forest undergrowth, have resulted in fire-damaged trees that constitute a hazard needing immediate attention;
(2) the federal government has been reluctant to act in clearing and thinning forests and in removing or logging the fire-damaged trees and such reluctance could result in future fires, causing additional severe economic harm to areas within this state; and
(3) it is necessary for the state to exercise its police power to avoid additional damage to the public health, safety and welfare.
B. The legislature declares a disaster within those areas of the national forests of New Mexico that suffered severe fire damage during calendar year 2000 and those areas, as determined by the local board of county commissioners, where large amounts of forest undergrowth have created the potential for damaging fires in the future. The legislature also declares that the disaster is of such magnitude that the police power of the state should be exercised to the extent necessary to provide the resources and services that will end the disaster and mitigate its effects.
C. After consulting with the state forester, taking surveys, holding those public hearings as may be necessary and developing a plan to mitigate the effects of the disaster, a board of county commissioners for a county in which a disaster has been declared pursuant to Subsection B of this section may take such actions as are necessary to clear and thin undergrowth and to remove or log fire-damaged trees within the area of the disaster. A county may enter into an agreement with a contractor, licensee or other agent to carry out the purposes of this subsection if:
(1) the contractor, licensee or other agent maintains its principal office in New Mexico; and
(2) all the employees of the contractor, licensee or other agent performing work under the agreement are New Mexico residents.
D. Employees, contractors, licensees and other agents of the county shall have unrestricted access to the national forests, including the use of roads and trails, in order to carry out the purposes of Subsection C of this section and shall not be liable for criminal or civil action for trespass or for damages for acts done while carrying out the purposes of this subsection.
E. Any money received by a county as royalties, license fees or other compensation for activities allowed pursuant to this section shall:
(1) first be used to reimburse the county for any amounts expended in carrying out the provisions of this section;
(2) if any amounts remain, as much of the excess as is needed shall be placed in a special fund for necessary expenditures relating to the management of the national forests in such a way as to avoid future disasters; and
(3) if any amounts remain, the excess shall be forwarded to the federal government.
Section 2. EMERGENCY.-It is necessary for the public peace, health and safety that this act take effect immediately.
Home - Current Edition
Advertising Rate Sheet
About the Idaho Observer
Some recent articles
Some older articles
Why we're here
Corrections and Clarifications
Vaccination Liberation - vaclib.org
The Idaho Observer
P.O. Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869