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Monday, September 25, 2023

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Nevada organization calls for greater Latino engagement in politics; Gov. Gavin Newsom appears to change course on transgender rights; Nebraska Tribal College builds opportunity 'pipelines,' STEM workforce.'

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House Republicans deadlock over funding days before the government shuts down, a New Deal-style jobs training program aims to ease the impacts of climate change, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas appeared at donor events for the right-wing Koch network.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

New Mexico Creates First-Ever $100M Conservation Fund

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Friday, March 31, 2023   

New Mexico is using some of its surplus budget funds, primarily from oil and gas revenues, to establish the state's first-ever source of recurring funding for conservation efforts.

Known as the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, it consists of two $50 million reserves - one to fund existing state programs and another permanent fund managed by the State Investment Council.

Jonathan Hayden, senior policy analyst with Western Resource Advocates, said the funds with allow better stewardship as the state grapples with what's ahead from changing weather patterns "through things like watershed protection, forest restoration, thinning projects, community-resilience projects - all of which will help insulate communities from the worst effects of a dryer and hotter climate."

Monies from the Legacy Fund will also go to outdoor recreation and infrastructure, agriculture and working lands, historic preservation and wildlife protection. With predictable funding in place, the state will also gain access to untapped federal dollars from the Great American Outdoors Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Hayden said passage of the bill to create the fund was years in the making, as environmental groups and others urged lawmakers to follow Wyoming's lead to create dedicated, recurring funding for conservation.

"All the stars kind-of aligned this year," he said, "and we had the support of our legislators, of our administration, and unity in the conservation community about what programs should be included in this fund."

Following this year's legislative session, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also signed Senate Bill 72, creating the Wildlife Corridors Action Plan. It will fund 11 high-priority safe passage projects around the state designed to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and restore habitat connectivity.

Disclosure: Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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