The New Mexico government wants to protect the state’s land and water as much as possible.
Albuquerque, NM-Gov. Michel Lojan Gresham signed an executive order on Wednesday, making New Mexico the most modern western state with an ambition to protect about one-third of the United States’ land and water by 2030. Will join the effort.
The Biden administration detailed its plans to achieve the target in May, saying the protection and restoration of land and water was an immediate priority. Democratic officials and environmentalists see the effort as a tool to increase green space, protect drinking water sources and reduce the risk of wildfires.
For significant progress on decades of commitment, experts say Western states should play a key role in this effort.
Democrat Lujan Gresham said she wants to “bring the people together” in New Mexico for the initiative, which she hopes will make a difference in the coming decades.
Its executive order calls for the formation of a committee comprising key state agencies and others to draw up a plan to achieve the goal. The group will meet four times a year and report annually to the governor.
“I just want action,” said Logan Gresham before signing the order, “but if you don’t have a leader, we won’t get every opportunity we deserve.”
California first formalized its 2030 conservation target when Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a comprehensive executive order last fall. Nevada passed a resolution with lawmakers in the Democratic-majority state in May.
According to research by the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, about 12 percent of the country’s land and a quarter of its water is safe.
Protected areas include desert areas, sports shelters, farmland, farms and other places with conservation facilities.
At the national level, the Biden administration is pushing for the expansion of federal grant programs to create more local parks, increase access to outdoor recreation, and give local communities access to funding for conservation priorities.