February 8, 2017
For immediate release
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Wildlife Federation applauds Senator Mary Kay Papen, Senator William Soules, and the education committee for tabling Senate Bill 182. This bill, with the backing of the State Land Office, was an ill-conceived attempt of funding early childhood education. We appreciate the Senators listening to their constituents and tabling this bill which would have continued to tie our children’s health and education to unreliable revenue sources.
This bill was problematic for a number of reasons. First, this bill assumes that the federal government will pass legislation transferring 6.6 million federal subsurface acres to New Mexico at no cost to the state, essentially opening the door to public lands transfer. Second, despite being touted as a way of funding early childhood education, New Mexico children would not see any funds until decades down the road – when we need solutions now. Third, the bill would continue to tie our children’s education and health to the unpredictable oil and gas industry, which consistently negatively impacts the health of families. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is dedicated to early childhood education and believes in finding responsible solutions to fund these initiatives – but Senate Bill 182 was not the correct solution. In addition to these issues, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation expressed concerns about how this bill would impact wildlife corridors and our environment running across both public and private lands.
“We are very grateful to our Senators and the education committee for listening to the many New Mexicans who contacted them about this bill and tabling it as a result,” said Executive Director Garrett Vene Klasen. “Our state’s budget crisis shows the problem with not diversifying our economy and relying too much on oil and gas. By attempting to frame this as a pro-education bill, the State Land Office neglected to acknowledge the detrimental impact increasing oil and gas would have on our environment and the health of our children. We’re glad our elected officials and the greater New Mexico citizenry saw the short-sightedness of this bill.”
We look forward to continuing to work with our elected officials in finding new, sustainable solutions to funding education throughout New Mexico.