CVNM’s 2020 Legislative Priorities
2019 was a significant year for protecting our public lands and investing in our renewable energy future. During the last twelve months, New Mexico established a new government office—the Outdoor Recreation Division—that is tasked with building a thriving ecotourism economy and increasing access for youth to the outdoors. The Lujan Grisham Administration released a comprehensive Executive Order on Climate, and launched a process to develop a statewide methane rule to address air pollution from the oil and gas industry. New Mexico also passed one of the strongest renewable energy standards in the nation that calls for 100% carbon-free energy by 2045.
These policies are essential to keep our state moving in the right direction and poised to tackle the climate crisis head on. However, one of our biggest obstacles to making this a reality lies in the months ahead: ensuring our state has the necessary resources to fully implement these policy wins in the years to come. That’s because implementing bold policy ideas require new state expertise and resources to make sure that big polluters are held accountable and follow the law, and policies enacted have a positive impact on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our families.
When Governor Martinez was in office, her administration slashed agency budgets significantly – taking away the state’s ability to hire adequate staff to monitor and enforce critical environmental laws. This left New Mexico without the expertise we needed to protect our air, land, water and communities – for years. With the 2020 legislative session only a week away, we have an urgent need to address this wrongdoing because the upcoming session is focused solely on the financial matters of the state, like New Mexico’s budget. In 2019 we saw the Governor sign some game changing bills, and now it’s time to ensure that those ideas can become a reality. The great policy we create is only as good as its execution, and that’s our focus in the 2020 legislative session.
Over the past few months, CVNM has been engaging in the state’s budget-building process to ensure we have the support we need to allocate critical dollars to our state’s underfunded environmental agencies and departments. To do this, during the 2020 legislative session we will be advocating for:
- Funds for the Energy, Minerals and Naturals Resources Department to be the type of regulator that New Mexicans deserve for the oil and gas industry in the state. Under Martinez, our oil and gas regulators fell far behind the industry in resources and technological sophistication. The Governor’s budget proposal provides much needed resources to start to catch us up.
- Increasing the budget of the New Mexico Environment Department to more effectively protect our state’s water supplies (particularly groundwater) and air quality.
- Additional staff to help the new Office of Outdoor Recreation achieve its vision and mission to diversify our economy, and foster a booming outdoor recreation industry that is accessible, equitable, local, and sustainable.
This is our chance to make sure that our state has the resources it needs to implement the new laws passed in 2019, and take critical action to protect our environment with strong administrative action in the coming years. With dedicated members like you by our side, we will keep fighting to bring community voices and concerns to the decision making table. Thank you for standing with us.