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New Mexico Telegram » Delegation, Environment, Featured » Udall questions Interior secretary over mineral payments to states

Udall questions Interior secretary over mineral payments to states

Tom Udall mineral paymentsSen. Tom Udall questioned Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell about the impact of sequestration on federal mineral payments to states at a meeting of the Interior & Environment Subcommittee..

New Mexico lost $26 million in payments from the Department of the Interior.

The Associated Press covered the hearing.

“This revenue is vital to New Mexico, where it funds our public education system,” Udall told Jewell. “New Mexico state leaders are very upset by the Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue determination that these state revenues are subject to sequestration.”

Senators from Wyoming and Udall will be introducing legislation to allow the mineral payments to continue.

Sally Jewell says that it was not her office’s fault that the payments were curtailed. She says it was because of the Budget Control Act (which instituted sequestration) and her office didn’t have control over the payment.

“It effects all revenues and payments. I’m unclear as to what kind of jurisdiction we have over this.”

Pam Haze, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Finance, Performance, and Acquisition, says “We have looked at it at least twice” and that the money was subject to sequestration.

Udall says that these are state revenues that are being taken away.

In addition to the mineral payments issue, Udall spoke about funding for forest fire prevention and, particularly, hazardous fuels reductions — thinning forests.

Udall also spoke about updating the 1872 Mining Control Act. Udall has been a proponent of legislation to update that law.

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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