New Mexico Land Office Reports Over $64 Million in August Revenue; Cleanup of ‘River of Tires’ Illegal Dump Site Near Wagon Mound

New Mexico State Land’s Commissioner Ray Powell (D) has announced that in the month of August, the New Mexico State Land Office earned $64.9 million in revenue for the beneficiaries of the state land trust.

raypowell3“The New Mexico State Land Office is working hard to ensure that revenues are optimized to support the public schools, universities, and hospitals,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Ray Powell. “We also are working with the private sector, our sovereign tribes, our local, state, and federal agencies, and our local communities to create jobs for New Mexicans.”

The New Mexico State Land Office is responsible for managing state trust lands to generate income for 22 beneficiaries and for taking care of the lands so they are healthy and productive for the future.

  • More than $57 million went to support public schools in New Mexico.
  • More than $1.8 million went to state colleges and universities.
  • More than $1.38 million went to special schools, such as the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in Alamogordo, and the School for the Deaf, in Santa Fe.
  • About $2.4 million went to hospitals, including Miner’s Colfax Hospital in Raton, and special hospitals like Carrie Tingley Hospital in Albuquerque.
  • The remaining $2 million went to other institutions, including the State Penitentiary and public buildings, water reservoirs, Rio Grande Improvements, and other beneficiaries.

Revenues from nonrenewable use of the trust lands, such as the royalties from oil and natural gas
extraction, are deposited into the Permanent Fund. They are invested and a percentage of the fund
is paid to the beneficiaries.

Revenues from the renewable resources uses, such as grazing, rights of way, interest on earnings
and bonuses paid to acquire oil and gas leases, are distributed directly to the beneficiaries, minus the State Land Office’s operating budget and other administrative expenses.

‘River of Tires’ Illegal Dump Site Cleaned-up Ahead of Schedule

New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell also announced that a grazing lessee has removed more than 160,000 scrap tires that were  dumped on state trust land in Mora County.

The state trust land is located about 10 miles southeast of Wagon Mound. The tires were dumped in a drainage arroyo, which was dubbed by the news media, “River of Tires.”’

'River of Tires' Illegal Dump found on State lands in Mora County

‘River of Tires’ Illegal Dump found on State lands in Mora County

“I am very pleased to have this potential super-fund site cleaned up at the expense of the person who created it,” said State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. “If this illegal tire dump had caught on fire it would have potentially burned for years and diverted a large amount of money from support of our public schools. Thanks to the outstanding work of our professional staff at the New Mexico State Land Office and help from our sister agency—the State Environment Department—the risk is gone and the health of the land will be restored.”

A global settlement agreement was reached with Kansas Equity Investments and Daniels Ranches, who created a massive tire dump located in Mora County. Under the terms of the  settlement, the lessee agreed to remove the tires and deliver them to an appropriate facility by  the end of November of 2013. Kansas Equity Investments and Daniels Ranches also agreed to pay the State Environment Department a civil penalty and the State Land Office an amount  based upon a final tire count.

The lessee paid a fine of $30,000. The State Land Office estimated that removing and appropriately disposing of the tires could have cost as much as $1 million, thus reducing the money available for trust beneficiaries, such as public schools, universities, and hospitals. Since the tires have now been removed, reclamation work can proceed at the site – all at no cost to New Mexicans. The lessee is expected to submit a plan for the reclamation work soon.

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The New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands is an elected state official responsible for administering the state’s land grant trust. Thirteen million acres of land were granted to New Mexico in 1898 and 1910. Each tract is held in trust for the public schools, universities, as well as special schools and hospitals that serve children with physical, visual, and auditory disabilities. In fiscal year 2013, the trust lands produced more than $577 million in income for the beneficiaries, which saves the average household about $800 a year in taxes.