Conservation Community Sets Priorities for 2016 Session
The Environmental Alliance of New Mexico (EANM) is a collaborative of 27 conservation organizations that work to protect the air we breathe and water we drink during each legislative session. Every year, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund (CVNMEF) convenes EANM regularly to plan for the session by attending interim committee hearings to learn the latest on policies as they evolve, and build relationships with decision-makers. EANM also uses the interim to organize skills-building trainings to grow as advocates. The keystone of EANM’s work is in developing what it calls its “common agenda”: each year, the collaborative identifies critical issues to address through legislative policy. EANM then votes on which policies it will stand behind in a unified way, creating its common agenda.
Last legislative session, EANM supported a bill (SB 391) to extend tax credits for solar energy. This legislation is critical to bolster our state’s renewable energy economy – the tax incentive is currently set to sunset in 2016. Thankfully, many of your legislators recognized this: SB 391 passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. Once it reached the Governor’s desk, however, it was pocket vetoed. The lack of action by the Governor was disappointing, but it doesn’t halt efforts to move this measure forward.
That’s why going into the 2016 legislative session, EANM has adopted the solar tax credit extension as a cornerstone of its 2016 common agenda. In addition to this policy, the coalition is also committed to halting any attempts to weaken existing laws that protect the health of our communities and natural resources. In past 30-day sessions, the coalition has defeated attempts by polluters to weaken our renewable energy laws, clean water policies, and even gut funding for critical conservation projects. We expect that all of these, and more, will likely be on the table this year.
We know it’s not always easy to follow what happens at the legislative session. That’s why CVNMEF has Protect New Mexico, an issue clearinghouse website that will track all conservation-related policies this session and is updated daily. So, if you haven’t used it yet, be sure to log-in this January and get the scoop on what’s happening at the Roundhouse. Visit the website at: www.ProtectNewMexico.org.