From the March 2001 Idaho Observer:

NM bill to address federal fire controversy passes senate 38-2

SANTA FE -- Senate Bill 1 to declare an emergency and release state funds to clean up damages caused by the U.S. Forest Service's ill-timed prescribed burn started near Los Alamos last April was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate in early February.

The bill was proposed after the state waited for nearly a year for the federal government to assess and repair the damages caused by federally-set fires on federally administrated lands. The USFS intentionally set the fire even though drought conditions, high winds and common sense should have prevented the federal land management agency from doing so. The fire got out of control and, by the time it died, had consumed hundreds of thousands of both public and private acres.

After reviewing the damages last May, then President Clinton promised that the federal government, "will do the right thing."

According to the New Mexico legislature, the federal government has done nothing to repair the damage caused by the ill-advised fire.

The fire was started near the Los Alamos military reservation where some of the most controversial scientific research is being conducted by the federal government. Aerial photographs reveal that the fire passed over areas where radioactive waste was being stored above ground.

Though the bill has been amended, its full text was published in the February, 2001 edition of The Idaho Observer. This is an important bill to all states as it constitutes a bold step in reclaiming authority over state lands that have been mismanaged by the federal government.

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