March 09, 2009

Bingaman & Udall: Forest Land to Benefit From Recovery Package Funding

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today announced that the Forest Service will soon release nearly $5 million in federal funding for two projects aimed at improving national forests in New Mexico.

Congress set aside $650 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve national forest lands, and another $500 million for wild fire management. The U.S. Forest Service has approved two projects, one in the Santa Fe National Forest and another in the Lincoln National Forest.

"This funding will allow the Forest Service to hire dozens of workers tasked with making the Santa Fe and Lincoln national forests safer," Bingaman said. "I look forward to more projects like these being funded in New Mexico."

"Recovery funding investments in New Mexico's national forests will create good jobs while reducing wildfire danger and protecting our watersheds," said Udall. "After a particularly dry winter, this is a critical investment for our state."

The economic recovery package is making $3.699 million available to the Lincoln National Forest for hazardous fuels reduction. The funding will support the 16 Springs Tribal Forest Protection Act Stewardship Project, which is focused on reducing the fire risk of nearby forested communities and tribal lands in Otero County. It is estimated that the funding will create approximately 40 jobs.

An additional $1.1 million is being released to clean up the Nacimiento Mine in the Santa Fe National Forest with approximately 12 jobs being created. The work will include cleaning up and restoring 25 million gallons of groundwater at the mine near Cuba.