CVNM’s Top 5 Legislative Priorities
New Mexico wins when we invest in our communities. After eight years of the most anti-conservation leadership New Mexico has ever seen – and at a time when we’re experiencing unprecedented attacks on environmental safeguards from the federal government – New Mexicans are ready for our leaders to correct our course and take the first critical steps down a path that leads to a healthier and more resilient state.
CVNM and CVNM Education Fund are working in partnership with communities to push leaders at all levels of state government to stabilize our budget, ensure a fairer economy and advocate for clean air, land and water.
During the 2019 legislative session, the CVNM family of organizations, community leaders and our ally organizations are working with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard and their administrations to pass and enact the following policy changes. By proactively helping to move and enact these policies, the new administrations are demonstrating their commitment to a clean and healthy state. This collaboration is sure to to change the conversation around these issues for decades to come.
We are working with elected leaders to minimize the boom-and-bust nature of our state economy by making it a priority to stabilize our economy on diverse sources of income. We can play to our strengths as we diversify our economy by taking action on climate change, ensuring everyone pays their fair share, holding polluters accountable, protecting cultural and public lands, and making public and environmental health a priority. We can make significant progress on these goals by passing these bills.
Climate Change & Environmental Justice
The International Panel on Climate Change recently shared a bombshell with the world: we have 12 years to act on climate change to avoid the most dire impacts. Recently, a similar message was repeated in our very own State Capitol building when a legislative committee heard a presentation on climate change impacts on New Mexico: decision-makers need to get serious about climate change and we need to act now. While governments are slow to act, New Mexicans have been affected by climate change for years now, breathing polluted air, working the land with less and less water each year, and watching life and property destroyed by more intense wildfires. The reality is that Latino, indigenous and traditional communities and working families are disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution in New Mexico. We can no longer ignore this reality.
Governor Lujan Grisham has already signaled her commitment to addressing the climate crisis head on by signing a landmark executive order to join the U.S Climate Alliance, create the first-ever state Climate Change Task Force and establish a strong methane capture rule, among other goals.
New Mexico needs to make sweeping progress on climate change as quickly as possible. To do so, we are advocating for:
- The Energy Transition Act (SB 489) which includes a nation-leading increase to our Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040 and 100% carbon-free by 2045; about $40 million to help San Juan County communities and coal mine workers thrive and transition after the shutdown of the San Juan Generating Station; local workforce training for traditionally disenfranchised communities and apprenticeships in labor union jobs; and ensures PNM will retire the coal plant in San Juan – this is critical to transitioning to clean energy. The bill employs a financial tool called “securitization” which will ensure ratepayers get the best the deal when the coal plant closes.
- Passing a community solar bill (HB 210/SB 281) that will put communities in charge of their energy choices, allowing people to work together to employ clean energy in their own neighborhoods.
- Passing the Environmental Review Act (HB 206) that will support our state in making development decisions more carefully to reduce the risk of spills, public health crises and clean-up costs. A 2018 statewide landscape poll indicated that 74% of New Mexicans support this type of legislation.
Public and Cultural Lands
That New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment is no accident. Not only are the landscapes of our state diverse and breathtaking to experience, but indigenous and traditional communities remain closely connected to the land. In many indigenous cultures, the land is sacred and priceless. Recreational opportunities abound on our public lands. Already, our outdoor recreation and ecotourism industry generates just under $10 billion dollars annually, with $623 million in state and local taxes, and employs approximately 100,000 New Mexicans.
New Mexico needs to ensure that our lands are protected and that we invest in them to diversify our economy. To do so, we are advocating for the following:
- There is significant opportunity to boost our rural economies with the creation of a Outdoor Recreation Division (SB 462) that can work with local communities to leverage our public lands to better tap into the billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry — all while protecting traditional New Mexican land use practices. CVNM advocated for the inclusion of the Outdoor Equity Fund in this proposal, which would ensure youth and working families have equal access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Reinstate the Oil Conservation Division’s authority to assess civil penalties on oil and gas operators that violate the Oil and Gas Act (SB 186). A lawsuit in 2009 removed this authority, and the NM Supreme Court has ordered the legislature to update the law. New Mexicans deserve more fairness in society, the economy and in government. Individuals, businesses and government all have a responsibility to do their part and pay their fair share.
Now that New Mexicans have leadership to maximize our potential, we are one step closer toward cleaner water, cleaner air and a more equitable economy that supports everyday New Mexicans.
Making progress is not possible without leaders who will put our communities ahead of polluters, which is why in 2018, CVNM made its largest-ever investment in electing candidates committed to conservation and willing to provide consistent leadership to protect our air, land and water for healthy communities. Our work continues to connect New Mexicans to their political power.
Literally thousands of bills have been filed this legislative session. Help us break through the noise by sharing our top priorities on Facebook and Twitter. We need as many voices as possible to support these bills and the Governor’s efforts to make protecting our air, land, water and communities a priority!