While you were waiting to hear from us about the outcome of the Weber Trial ( we haven’t heard anything from Judge Kelly yet), you probably weren’t expecting an email about stream access in New Mexico. However, that’s exactly what this email is about.
On Friday, in the final minutes before the New Mexico legislative session adjourned, in an all-too-familiar fashion, stream access there was stripped from the public and handed over to private interests. Just like that, our concerns that another state could follow Utah’s lead on stream access went from possibility to reality. We are all in this together, and that’s why it’s important for you, as USAC members, to step up and take action.
The bill in New Mexico, SB 226, restricts access to rivers and streams that cross over private property, like HB 141 in Utah. It passed the House on a 32-31 vote, and is now sitting on New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez’s desk. She is expected to sign the bill into law by the end of the week. This is where we can help. Educate Governor Martinez on why she must VETO SB 226.
Tell Governor Martinez to VETO SB 226. Tell her that anything other than a stroke of the Veto pen is a mark against public rights. Tell her to look to their neighbor to the northwest, and the coalition of thousands that have rallied to fight for public rights. Tell her that millions of taxpayer dollars WILL be wasted on needless lawsuits to overturn the law. Tell her that complicating access laws will compromise the $607M annually that sport fishing brings to the New Mexico economy. Tell her that access and use of PUBLIC water belongs to the PUBLIC. Tell her that Vandalism, Littering, and Trespass are already against the law, and need to be enforced, without codifying additional unnecessary access restrictions. Tell her that 2 state Supreme Court decisions, Red River in New Mexico and Conatser in Utah support the constitutional rights of the public to access and use their waters. Tell her that what will follow will be bolstered by the momentum of ALL citizens, inside and outside of New Mexico’s borders, that want to protect and maintain public access to public waters.
Utah Steam Access Coalition