NEW MEXICO WATERSHED RESTORATION ACT
A DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY; DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE WATERSHEDS LOCATED ON THE NATIONAL FORESTS WITHIN [ State Name ]; USING THE POLICE AND CONTRACT POWERS OF THE STATE AND APPLICABLE FEDERAL LAW TO ENABLE AND/OR EMPOWER THE STATE TO TAKE SUCH ACTIONS ON SAID NATIONAL FORESTS AS ARE NECESSARY TO THIN THE EXCESSIVE AND UNJUSTIFIABLE OVERGROWTH THAT IS IMPAIRING CRITICAL WATERSHEDS AND DEPRIVING [the State’s] RIVERS, STREAMS, AQUEDUCTS, RESERVOIRS AND AQUIFERS OF THE WATER NECESSARY FOR THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE OF THE STATE’S CITIZENS, COMMUNITIES, LIVESTOCK, WILDLIFE (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THREATENED AND/OR ENDANGERED SPECIES) AND THEIR HABITATS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF [State Name]:
Section 1. FINDINGS -- DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY --
A. The Legislature finds that:
(1) A State of Emergency exists in [State] due to a shortage, and ever diminishing aggregate total supply, of water available to its citizens, communities, livestock, wildlife (including threatened and/or endangered species) and their habitats;
(2) [State] communities that have been seriously threatened and/or impacted by a shortage of available water within the last calendar year include but are not limited to: [enter names of affected municipalities];
(3) [State] waterways that are either presently experiencing, or within the last calendar year have experienced, a significant depletion of available water include but are not limited to: [insert names of affected waterways] as well as the streams and tributaries that contribute water to same;
(4) [State] livestock, wildlife and threatened and/or endangered species that are now or are likely to be seriously imperiled by a shortage of available water either directly or indirectly (via the impact of the water shortage on their supply of forage or prey base) include but are not limited to: [list livestock and wildlife affected by water shortage];
(5) Due to the existence of this declared State of Emergency it is imperative that [State] promptly take such actions as are or may be necessary and/or appropriate to restore and increase the aggregate total supply of water available within the State;
(6) This State’s aggregate total supply of water is significantly dependent upon watersheds located on federal lands. To achieve an increase in the aggregate total supply of water in [State] it is imperative for the State to take any and all necessary and/or appropriate actions that may be available to remedy the presently existent deteriorated conditions of these watersheds;
(7) The existence of excessive and unjustifiable overgrowth on [State]’s federal forests has been publicly acknowledged and/or declared both by [insert state officials that have addressed the overgrowth issue], and in 2002 by the President of the United States, Members of his Cabinet, other Administration officials and numerous members of the United States Congress;
(8) In addition, numerous State and local [State] elected officials and other citizens have repeatedly petitioned the United States Forest Service over the last several years to take actions needed to remove or eliminate the excessive forest overgrowth conditions that exist on watersheds on the federal lands within the State of [State]. All said petitions have been effectively ignored by the Secretary of Agriculture and other officers within the federal government under her authority, reflecting what can only be characterized as their utter disregard for both the needs of [State] citizens and wildlife, and [State]’s lawful rights to said waterflows;
(9) The United States Congress, in pertinent part, expressly provided that “No national forest shall be established, except to improve and protect the forest within the boundaries, or for the purpose of securing favorable conditions of waterflows. . .” 16 U.S.C. § 475. Congress reaffirmed this directive when it passed the Multiple-Use Sustained –Yield Act of 1960 by specifically stating that the national forests “shall be administered” for “watershed” purposes. 16 U.S.C. § 528 et seq. (emphasis added);
(10) Additionally, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. New Mexico, 438 U.S. 696 (1978) stated “Congress has evidenced its continuing concern with enhancing the water supply for non-forest use by specifically authorizing the President to set aside and protect national forest lands needed as sources of municipal water supplies. 16 U.S.C. §552a.” Id. at 713. Moreover, the Supreme Court further held that “States, [not the federal government], have exclusive control of the distribution of water on public lands and reservations.”;
(11) The following facts are indisputable: ...
(12) Based on the foregoing findings of fact, the following conclusions are indisputable:...
B. The legislature declares the existence of a State of Emergency due to ...
C. The legislature further finds that the continued existence of said State of Emergency poses a direct threat to the health, safety, well-being and economic viability of [State]’s citizens and to ...
D. To further achieve the objectives of this Act, within 90 days of the passage of this Act in to law, the Governor of [State] shall: ...
TO FIND OUT MORE OR OBTAIN A FULL COPY, PLEASE CONTACT MR. CLIFF NICHOLS AT (310) 909-9024.
©2003 Clifford C. Nichols. Conceived, authored and written by Clifford C. Nichols, Attorney at Law, 2003. Passed and enacted into law in the state legislatures of New Mexico, Wyoming and South Dakota, 2003.