Published December 20, 2015
Proponents of transferring multiple-use land in the West from the federal government to individual states say it could generate millions of dollars a year for New Mexico.
Opponents question the numbers and the practicality of such a move.
But Gov. Susana Martinez says it's at least worth considering and thinks forming a statewide task force is a good idea.
"It's always better to have more information as to the costs," Martinez told New Mexico Watchdog last week. "It's always better to know what it would take. How many jobs would it create?"
Martinez made the remarks just one day after joining Utah Gov. Gary Herbert - a fellow Republican who is a leading advocate for the land transfer proposal - at aneconomic summit in Albuquerque.
In particular, Martinez said the threat of wildfires in New Mexico brings up questions as to whether the state might do a better job than the feds.
"When you have federal land, especially that's in the forest and it's not getting taken care of, and we end up with severe fires because of all of the fuel that's within the forest, you end up losing homes and you end up losing life and they don't seem to be interested in maintaining those forests," Martinez said.