Another One Of Those Small Business-Friendly Tactics?

By Tracy Dingmann

A bill that would bar the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board from making any greenhouse gas rules that are more stringent than federal law is making its way through Senate committees.

The bill, SB 489, sponsored by Clinton Harden, (R-Clovis), would not reverse the two carbon cap proposals that were approved in the waning days of the Richardson Administration. Those proposals drew strong opposition from the oil and gas industry and from Gov. Susana Martinez, who vowed during her campaign to reverse them if elected governor.

(A few weeks ago, Clearly New Mexico learned that Gov. Martinez had appointed a Small Business-Friendly task force filled with representatives of the oil and gas industry and other large corporate interests to evaluate regulations like the carbon caps. The group made it clear that rolling back regulations was their number one priority, and discussed a number of strategies to accomplish this that included legislation, executive orders, and other tactics.)

Though SB 489 wouldn’t reverse the current caps, it would severely hamper New Mexico’s ability to protect its environment in the future, opponents say.

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(UPDATED) Bills Threatening Cultural Properties to be Heard

By Tracy Dingmann

Here’s a legislative alert from our friends at Conservation Voters New Mexico!

SB421, a bill that would strip local communities of the right to protect significant cultural properties, is scheduled to be heard today (March 4) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which convenes at 2:30 or whenever the Senate floor session ends.  The bill is sponsored by Sen. Rod Adair, (R-Roswell).

A companion bill, HB422, will be heard in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Monday at 8:30 a.m. That bill is sponsored by Rep. Richard Vigil (D-Ribera.)

The bills are important because they would drastically reduce the power of local communities and residents to protect significant cultural properties by forcing them to register them with the State.

If passed, either of these bills would undercut the work of the Cultural Properties Review Committee and be a significant change from established process for nomination of future sites to the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties.

The bills would require that nominations to the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties include written notice of support from the majority of property owners, including those holding subsurface mineral interests.

This standard of owner support exceeds that required for nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places – and would put extractive companies in the firmly in the driver’s seat.

If you care about this, contact Adair by clicking here or Vigil by clicking here and here.

UPDATE: The Senate bill has been tabled; but the companion bill lives on in the House.  Read more here at Democracy for New Mexico.

What Would Stewart Udall Do?

Earth Day 2010. Conservation Voters of New Mexico today released its annual scorecard documenting state legislators’ voting records. It’s title: WWSUD—What Would Stewart Udall Do?

CVNM Executive Director Sandy Buffett writes:

Stewart Udall devoted his life and work to protecting the unique and sacred places of the natural world. Most of the landmark environmental laws of America—clean air and water, endangered species, wilderness, trails and scenic rivers—can be traced directly to his efforts.

So when we’re faced with the global climate crisis—perhaps the single greatest environmental challenge we’ve ever faced—we should ask ourselves: WWSUD? What Would Stewart Udall Do?

While you ponder that question, watch this 17 minute documentary on the life and legacy of the man known as the father of the environmental movement by filmmakers Joe Day and Grant Taylor. Stewart Udall passed away last month at the age 90.