SANTA FE, N. M. – Clean energy and conservation proponents are three-for-three, and it seems New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has struck out in the “new rules” department. The Sierra Club has withdrawn a lawsuit against the Martinez administration in exchange for her agreeing to publish new state building codes adopted last year to achieve greater energy efficiency.
The reversal comes after the State Supreme Court ordered the administration to publish two other sets of new environmental rules. Gov. Martinez had put a 90-day delay on implementing all such new rules and codes, but the high court said that move was overstepping her authority.
Congressman Martin Heinrich spoke to a joint session in Santa Fe this yesterday and expressed his appreciation for the work performed by one of the few remaining citizen-legislatures in the country.
His speech reiterated much of what senior New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman said last week in his address to New Mexico lawmakers regarding the importance of federal funding for the state’s economy.
Where Heinrich diverged from Bingaman was in how New Mexico can improve its economy and create jobs by becoming a clean energy capital.
He used the Bell Group’s unveiling of their solar array last year as an example of local technology and jobs that should be the way of the future.
To fulfill that vision the local workforce must be trained; which starts by strengthening math, technology, and engineering skills in our young people.
Strikingly, it appeared that some Republican lawmakers were not interested in hearing from our national representatives. As during the Bingaman speech, a notable number of them were absent from the floor.
Legislative members convened in the House chambers today to listen to an address by U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.
Notably absent were some Republican senators, who remained in the Senate chamber and held an impromptu mini-caucus as Sen. Bingaman spoke.
In his address to state legislators, New Mexico’s senior senator spoke of the similarities between the challenges facing the New Mexico legislature and Congress in Washington D.C.
“New Mexico relies on both government and the private sector to create jobs.” said Bingaman.
Bingaman went on to list a large number of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects and the associated federal funds that have flowed into the state over the last couple of years.
While that funding will no longer be available, Bingaman assured the audience that New Mexico will continue to receive large amounts of
federal dollars, including money for the national laboratories to use to modernize the nuclear arsenal and comply with the new START treat and funds for the Airforce Advanced Research Lab to develop “plug and deploy” miniature satellites.
The challenge will be to make sure that the work on energy research continues at the labs and does not get overshadowed by the lab’s new responsibilities, he said.
While most states are looking at losing military funding in the coming years, Bingaman said that New Mexico should see a steady and
“The fiscal health of our nation is at stake. We can no longer continue on the present path of unprecedented deficits and debt. Without dramatic changes in fiscal policy, America will find itself far weaker in the world, economically and strategically.”
Whether or not Domenici is right, I suppose, depends on your definition of “economic and strategic” strength. Consider the facts. Pete Domenici voted ‘yes’ on the following:
If, broadly defined, “economic and strategic strength” means billions of dollars of entitlements for prescription drug companies, massive tax breaks for the very same companies who created the insane boom and subsequent crash in real estate prices which would ultimately send our economy into recession, and more money for an unwinnable and politically intractable war, then Senator Domenici is quite right.
If, however, this is not the case, then we can simply let the numbers speak for themselves:
Even though it was the United States Department of Commerce that championed the Internet as a means of universal commercial and democratic information exchange, the U.S. ranks 12-16th in broadband penetration. We are the only developed country in the world without a coherent broadband strategy. New Mexico, despite being host to such high-tech agencies as Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia National Labs, lags behind almost all other states in broadband penetration.