- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico would gradually set aside up to $5 million to help repair damaged or polluted state trust lands under a bill awaiting the governor’s signature or veto.

The Senate voted Wednesday to create the State Trust Lands Restoration and Remediation Fund.

The fund could be tapped to clean up illegal dumping, restore watersheds from wildfire damage or deal with invasive plant species.

The restoration fund was first proposed by Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn as his agency grappled with waste-water spills by a financially troubled oil-well company.

The bill diverts 1 percent of revenues from the state’s land maintenance fund, or roughly $580,000 a year.

The maintenance fund is the source of the State Land Office’s operating budget and receives money from activities ranging from cattle grazing to oil extraction.

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