Roughly a third of the land in New Mexico is federally owned. According to a bipartisan poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 74% of New Mexicans are opposed to the seizure and selling off of public lands, furthermore, 68% oppose assuming the control and debt of managing these lands. Twenty state and regional sportsmens’ organizations sent a letter to the Governor and Legislature asking them to oppose any and all legislation that seeks to transfer federal public lands to the state or waste any state funds studying the idea. Hunters and anglers rallied in Santa Fe to tell the Governor and Legislature they oppose takeover of national forests and BLM lands.

Despite public opinion, efforts have been made to transfer lands over to the state. NM Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn supports federal land transfers to the state. Seven bills were introduced in the 2013 legislative session, but did not pass. If these bills passed it would cost state taxpayers between $75,000 and $500,000:

  • SB 404 and HB 292 to transfer public lands to the state
  • SM 93 to study the transfer of public lands
  • SJM 53 and 56 to study the transfer of public lands

Bills introduced in 2014 that did not get out of committee:

  • HB 102 to create a public lands transfer task force
  • SB 256 to study transfer of public lands
  • SM 47 to study transfer of public lands

New Mexico’s Enabling Act states “That the people inhabiting said proposed state do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated and ungranted public lands lying within the boundaries thereof.”

2015 Public Lands Legislation

  • Senate Memorial 6: Federal Lands Management and Revenue Impacts
  • House Bill 291: Relating to Public Lands; Creating the New Mexico Federal Land Management Study Commission; making an appropriation
  • Senate Bill 483: Relating to Public Lands; Creating the New Mexico Federal Land Management Study Commission