NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has offered her support for a proposed regulation regarding conservation on the Bureau of Land Management land. If approved, the regulation would formally specify conservation as an official use for public land.

Supporters like New Mexico Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury say the rule protects the environment but opponents say the proposal would limit access to those public areas including oil and gas drilling.

Garcia Richard told a House of Representatives Natural Resources subcommittee while New Mexico relies heavily on oil and gas, conservation leasing is key to creating a “balanced portfolio” of land use. “I would also like to emphasize that this rule isn’t about “taking public lands away.” It is about explicitly allowing another type of use, which can often occur alongside other lands uses. There may be times where various uses are incompatible, but there are also going to be many instances where there are not any conflicts,” said Garcia Richard.

Wednesday’s hearing was dedicated to gathering information on the issue so no action was taken.