Advocates with a group called Juntos: Our Air Our Water delivered 2,000 petition signatures last week to the Environment Department asking that the state move toward a clean energy economy and protect public lands despite the election of Donald Trump as president.
During the campaign, Trump vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and to dismantle the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States rule. The latter puts smaller tributaries under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Christopher Ramirez, program director for the Our Air Our Water program, says Gov. Susana Martinez is moving the state in the wrong direction.
“She’s talking about nuclear energy and natural gas pipelines, and what we’re concerned about is investment in renewables, solar and wind, not dirty industries,” he states.
The petitions ask the governor to implement the Clean Power Plan, even though it is on hold while it’s tied up in court. Petitioners also ask for better community access to public meetings, which in the past have taken place during the workday and without Spanish translation.
Our Air Our Water advocates are marching from the State Capitol in Santa Fe to the New Mexico Environment Department to hand in the petitions.
New Mexico already is close to being in compliance with the Clean Power Plan, because conservation groups won a lawsuit to force the closure of two of the four units at the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant.
Ramirez would also like to see the power company PNM stop buying nuclear power.
“Nuclear energy, including the extraction of uranium from places like northwest and western New Mexico are dangerous for the environment and the people in those communities, let alone the disposal of products once they’re used for production of energy,” he stresses.
Our Air Our Water has spent the past six months gathering signatures at events in Albuquerque, West Gate, South Valley and the International District.
Juntos: Our Air Our Water is a program of the New Mexico League of Conservation Voters.
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