Climate control is too important to leave in the hands of the U.S. Congress…or in the hands of the highly-paid lobbyists who speak for the energy companies and huge corporations.
That’s why it’s so important now for states to take the lead – and New Mexico has emerged as one of the boldest, says social justice activist Robby Rodriguez in a new essay just published in High Country News.
Rodriguez, who is executive director of the Albuquerque-based SouthWest Organizing Project, says New Mexicans should be proud that SWOP, New Energy Economy and more than a dozen groups are currently petitioning to make New Mexico a leader in the nation when it comes to regulating greenhouse gases.
The groups are asking the state’s Environmental Protection Board to place a science-based cap on the amount on global warming emissions in the state to 25 percent below 1990 levels. This is the minimum action recommended by the global scientific community to mitigate the impact of global change. If approved, New Mexico’s plan could be used as a national model for other states.
Rodriguez writes that he was moved when he heard faith leaders, doctors, scientists, advocates, renewable energy producers and more testify at a March 1 public hearing on the petition.
From the HCN piece:
Those who spoke in favor of the petition in front of the EIB represented lifelong residents of the Four Corners area in northwestern New Mexico—one of the most heavily polluted areas in the country–who spoke of noxious fumes and the devastating impacts of the oil, gas and coal industries on their health, land and animals. Young people talked about their future. A pregnant mother talked about her soon-to-be-born son. Faith leaders, renewable energy producers, advocacy organizations, doctors, scientists and local government officials all came forward in favor of capping greenhouse emissions. The room was packed—standing room only!
It was beautiful.
Then Rodriguez spoke of the parade of corporate CEOs, lobbyists and even some tea partiers, all of whom spoke against the petition.
From the HCN essay:
And then came the parade of polluters. PNM, the major electric utility company in New Mexico led the way as grand marshal. They were followed by suits representing the energy, mining, oil, gas, coal, agribusiness and other manufacturing industries, and of course, their shareholders. Also in the parade were the various chambers of commerce and of course the new kids on the block, the ‘teabaggers.’ They cited all the usual “if we do this the sky will fall” arguments. They argued the matter should be decided by our state legislature or by the congress at the national level or at the international level—as though the long political process necessary to overcome the massive propaganda campaigns they wage is time we can afford. . We’ve heard it all before.
It got ugly.
And that was just the beginning. The EIB will continue to hold hearings throughout the summer and is scheduled to rule on the petition sometime in the fall.
As this battle plays out, we at Clearly New Mexico hope New Mexico continues to stand firm on the front lines of the battle over climate control.