Luján Legislation to Strengthen Land Grant Communities’ Rights Clears Committee

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) to provide greater consultation between the federal government and land grant communities. The Land Grant-Mercedes Traditional Use Recognition and Consultation Act recognizes community land grants as an important part of the culture and history of the State of New Mexico and requires the consideration of Historical Traditional Uses in federal land management planning.

As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 116th Congress, Senator Luján unanimously passed similar legislation through the House to make it easier for land grant-mercedes to work with federal land management agencies. The legislation also requires the federal government to provide guidance on any permit requirements for qualified land grant-mercedes and traditional uses, including for routine maintenance, minor improvements, and major improvements.

“New Mexico’s land grant communities enrich the fabric of New Mexico culture and history. The federal government must prioritize consultation with land grant communities to ensure that their voices are heard and respected,” said Luján. “Having worked on this issue for over a decade, I was proud that this legislation received such strong support in committee. I’m hopeful that we can pass this legislation into law – representing the most meaningful land grant legislation in generations.”

U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) are original co-sponsors.


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