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Conservation Group Grades Lawmakers’ Voting Record

By December 10, 2013September 29th, 2022Democracy, Legislature

By Steve Terrell, the Santa Fe New Mexican
Most of Santa Fe’s delegation to the state Legislature did well on the annual Conservation Scorecard compiled by the environmental group Conservation Voters New Mexico.
Five Santa Fe lawmakers, all Democrats, received scores of 100 percent this year from the organization. They are Reps. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, Brian Egolf and the late Stephen Easley, and Sens. Nancy Rodriguez and Peter Wirth. The scores are based on how lawmakers voted on legislation deemed important by Conservation Voters.

However, Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, didn’t fare so well on this year’s scorecard. He was the lowest-scoring Democrat in the Senate, with 21 percent. Griego normally does better on the annual scorecard. His lifetime score is 51 percent, the group’s report said.
As for other area lawmakers, Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, and Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, each scored 92 percent; Nick Salazar, D-Ohkay Owingeh, had 75 percent; Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, earned 67 percent; Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, scored 62 percent; and Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, had 58 percent.
Among the legislation considered was a bill that would have exempted certain agricultural operations from nuisance laws; measures that would have transferred oversight of federal public lands to the state; a procedural effort to end the Water Quality Control Commission; a bill to change the membership of the Water Quality Control Commission, “removing much of the health and technical expertise, and stacking it towards industry-allied agencies,” the report says.
Because some of the votes were taken in committees, some legislators didn’t get a chance to vote on some of the bills that were counted by Conservation Voters.
A total of 13 House members and eight senators — all Democrats — received 100 percent scores.
Thirteen House members, all Republicans, had single-digit scores. One senator, Lee Cotter, R-Las Cruces, scored a zero for his votes on conservation issues.
The report singles out for praise two Santa Fe lawmakers, Wirth and Egolf, who are committee chairmen. Wirth is chairman of the Senate Conservation Committee, while Egolf chairs the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In the case of the Senate committee, the report says, “Sen. Wirth’s chairmanship represents a 180 degree turnaround from the previous leadership. Although the committee is still dominated by members who are more aligned with polluting industries than environmental protection, the tone and tenor of the conversation is vastly different.”
Rodella, who chairs the House Business and Industry Committee also receives praise in the report. Her panel has “traditionally been quite hostile to environmental concerns,” the report says. “However, Rep. Rodella went to the mat this session to defend the Water Quality Control Commission and keep it from expiring.”
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