2015-2016

CVNM Conservation Scorecard – Conservation Voters New Mexico

Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice Votes ↓

Environmental Justice

One of the greatest tragedies of “economic progress” is the wildly disproportionate burden of environmental hazards suffered by low-income communities, especially those of color. Certain communities suffer staggering health problems simply because they lack the power to fight back against polluting industries.

Most Americans would immediately recognize this as unfair. Unfortunately, these communities also lack access to the mainstream media that could help them tell their stories. Even in the rare instances when these stories are told, complacency on the part of the media and the broader public preclude actions to rectify the discrimination.

The focus of the environmental justice movement isn’t on inequality. It does not seek merely to redistribute environmental harms fairly, but is committed to eliminating those harms completely.

Example of action that advances the cause of environmental justice:

Unfortunately, victories for environmental justice are far too rare. However, in a triumph for a predominantly Hispanic, African-American and low-income neighborhood in Clovis, NM, three groups — the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Concerned Citizens of Curry County (CCCC) — successfully defeated the building of an ethanol plant near their neighborhood. Residents were understandably concerned about severe health threats from air emissions, as well as diesel exhaust from delivery trucks and trains. After the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) successfully argued on behalf of the three groups that prior notice to the community was inadequate, the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) reversed the permit decision in early 2008. Afterwards, the giant ConAgra Trade Group withdrew its application for the plant.

Example of action that perpetuates environmental injustice:

The devastating health and environmental impacts of uranium mining and milling are well-established, and many communities throughout New Mexico are still suffering from the uranium boom of the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, those impacts are concentrated in Native American communities, on and around the land and sacred sites of New Mexico’s pueblos and the Navajo nation. Worse, pressure is intensifying to greatly expand new uranium mining operations, threatening drinking water and jeopardizing the health of families and communities. It’s a travesty that old mine and mill sites have never been cleaned up. Of 259 mines that produced uranium in New Mexico, fewer than half have any record whatsoever of reclamation activities.

Sources:

Related Votes

Priority # Name Sponsor(s) Issue(s) CVNM Postion Year Legislative Link Outcome CVNM Sort CVNM Sort #
PR SB 163 Amendment to Change Board & Commission Sunset Dates , Oppose 2013 SB 163 on nmlegis.gov The House floor amendment (sponsored by Rep. Gentry) was tabled (defeated) 33-30, and the Senate floor amendment (sponsored by Sen. Griego) was defeated 18-23. 50 163
PR HB 297 Blanket Plugging Financial Assurance Increase , Oppose 2011 HB 297 on nmlegis.gov HB 297 died in Senate Conservation Committee. 0 297
SB 467 Change Interstate Stream Commission Members Support 2015 SB 467 on nmlegis.gov SB 467 passed the Senate (28-13) and died on the House calendar. 50 467
PR HB 343 Community Health Study Fund Support 2014 HB 343 on nmlegis.gov HB 343 was defeated on a tied vote in the House Health, Government, and Indian Affairs Committee. 0 343
HB 494/SB 610 Community Health Study Fund & Uranium Mining Support 2015 HB 494/SB 610 on nmlegis.gov HB 494 died in the House Health Committee. SB 610 died in the Senate Conservation Committee. 0 494
PR HB 458 Consolidated Environmental Review Act , , , , , Support 2013 HB 458 on nmlegis.gov HB 458 died in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 0 458
PR HB 422/SB 421 Cultural Property Registration & Acquisition , Oppose 2011 HB 422/SB 421 on nmlegis.gov HB 422 died in House Judiciary Committee; SB 421 died in Senate Judiciary Committee. 0 422
PR HB 178 Denial of Air Quality Control Permits , Support 2011 HB 178 on nmlegis.gov HB 178 died in House Energy & Natural Resources Committee. 0 178
HM 40/SM 34 Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance Storage Facility Oppose 2016 HM 40/SM 34 on nmlegis.gov HM 40 passed the House (50-17). SM 34 passed the Senate (27-10). Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the Governor. 60 40
SJR 6 Eliminate Public Regulation Commission, CA , , , Oppose 2011 SJR 6 on nmlegis.gov SJR 6 died in Senate Rules Committee. 90 6
PR HB 429 Environmental Private Right of Action , , , Support 2013 HB 429 on nmlegis.gov HB 429 died on the House floor (30-36). 0 429
SB 76 Lead in Sale of Recycled Metals Act Support 2016 SB 76 on nmlegis.gov SB 76 passed the Senate (41-0) and the House (59-0). The bill was signed by the Governor on March 4, 2016. 50 76
PR HJR 3 Legislative Nullification of Rules Andy Nuñez , , , , Oppose 2011 HJR 3 on nmlegis.gov HJR 3 died in House Judiciary Committee. 40 3
PR HB 652/SB 194 No Agriculture as a Nuisance , , Oppose 2013 HB 652/SB 194 on nmlegis.gov HB 652 died in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 194 died on the Senate floor calendar. 0 652
PR SB 677 Private Right of Action Support 2015 SB 677 on nmlegis.gov SB 677 died in the Senate Conservation Committee. 50 677
PR SB 147 Publish Legal Notices on Websites , Oppose 2011 SB 147 on nmlegis.gov SB 147 died in Senate Judiciary Committee. 50 147
PR HB 259 Recover Damages for Natural Resource Injuries , , Support 2013 HB 259 on nmlegis.gov HB 259 died in the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee. 0 259
HB 564 Right to Farm & Operations as Nuisance Oppose 2015 HB 564 on nmlegis.gov HB 564 passed the House (35-29) and died in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 0 564
PR SB 193 Water Quality Control Commissioners , Oppose 2013 SB 193 on nmlegis.gov SB 193 died in the Senate Rules Committee. 50 193