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Northern NM Legislators Score High Overall in CVNM’s 2015-2016 Conservation Scorecard

By August 4, 2016November 29th, 2022Press Releases, Legislature

**Full Scorecard Available Here**

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) released the statewide Conservation Scorecard for the 52nd legislature. In the Scorecard, CVNM reports the votes cast on the most critical issues affecting our air, land, water, health and communities during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. The 2015-2016 Scorecard also includes an analysis of State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn’s record on the environment in his first two years in office.
The average conservation score earned by Northern New Mexico senators in the 2015-2016 Scorecard is 71%, seven percentage points below the Senate-wide average. The average conservation score earned by Northern New Mexico representatives in the 2015-2016 Scorecard is 77%, 29 percentage points above the House-wide average.
“Working alongside communities to ensure that their voices are the ones heard in the Capitol is the key to addressing the myriad environmental injustices around the state,” said Ben Shelton, CVNM Political and Legislative Director. “Northern New Mexico legislators are keenly aware of their constituents and both their pro-conservation and anti-conservation votes show that.”
Northern New Mexico legislators sit on multiple legislative committees that vote on critical conservation measures during the legislative sessions. That means they take many votes on issues impacting air, land, water and communities. Here are a few specific noteworthy votes:

  • Representative Dennis Roch has the dubious distinction of being the only Northern New Mexico legislator that voted in favor of House Bill (HB) 299, HB 366 and HB 340. A vote for each of these bills is the anti-conservation position.
    • HB 299 (2015) was a sweeping measure that would privatize public entities that are most appropriately developed and maintained by public entities such as water and sewage systems. Experiences by other governments in privatizing public services (e.g. transportation, water treatment, education, public safety) have rarely been successful, usually resulting in higher costs, lower quality and expensive legal battles in the long-term.
    • HB 366 (2015) would have invalidated any county and municipality ordinance relating to oil and gas law, including zoning ordinances–removing the critical flexibility that communities need to protect the public interest on a local scale.
    • HB 340 (2015) would have disenfranchised voters, especially minority and elderly voters who are often most disproportionately impacted by the effects of pollution and environmental injustice, by requiring a photo ID issued by a government, federal agency, recognized tribe or educational institution.
  • Of those who voted on HB 285, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard was the only Northern New Mexico legislator that voted against it. A vote against this bill is the pro-conservation position.
    • HB 285 (2016) was a greenwashed tax break for the oil and gas industry. The carbon savings that the bill tried to advertise were overstated.
  • Of those who voted on HB 87, Senators Richard Martinez and Pat Woods and Reps. Bobby Gonzales, Matthew McQueen and Roch were the only Northern New Mexico legislators that voted for it. A vote for this bill is the anti-conservation position.
    • HB 87 (2015) would have provided the Water Quality Control Commission with overly broad authority to decide the location of public hearings that they conduct. This would have created the possibility for hearings to be conducted in a location that makes attendance difficult or impossible for communities most affected by proposed regulations or water quality standards.
  • Peter Wirth and Nancy Rodriguez and Reps. Brian Egolf, Thomas Salazar and McQueen were the only Northern New Mexico legislators that voted against SM 34 and HM 40, respectively. A vote against these measures is the pro-conservation position.
    • SM 34 (2016) and HM 40 (2016) authorize the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance to construct a consolidated interim storage facility for the storage of spent nuclear fuel rods from commercial (for-profit) nuclear power generation plants.

The 2015-2016 Scorecard includes votes on 16 Senate and 24 House pieces of legislation on critical issues that New Mexico’s decision-makers faced in the 52nd legislature. Along with this information, the 2015-2016 Conservation Scorecard features:

  • An Executive Summary by CVNM Political and Legislative Director Ben Shelton highlighting successes and challenges the conservation community faced during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions
  • In the Issue Spotlight, we take a deep dive into the five-bill push to strip away, or pre-empt, the ability of local governments to make decisions to protect their land and water in the 2015 session and the repercussions of the failure of the solar tax credit in the 2016 session
  • Stories of critical moments for conservation during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions

Here are just a few examples of harmful measures CVNM worked with allied organizations and legislators to successfully defeat. These measures would have:

  • Extended additional tax breaks to the oil and gas industry, despite the severe budget deficit the state faces (HB 107, HB 285/SB 34, 2016)
  • Replace the elected Public Regulation Commission (PRC) with a commission appointed by the governor, with certain safeguards in place to prevent overly political appointments. While there are certainly flaws in the electoral process, it is a more transparent venue than that of appointed positions. (HJR 8, 2016)
  • Taken voting rights away from thousands of New Mexicans who are most impacted by environmental degradation (HB 340, 2015)
  • Removed New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to provide 20% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 (HB 445, 2015)

CVNM also advocated for pro-active legislation. Here are two examples:

  • Pollution, like legacy waste sites from uranium mining, not only endangers natural resources but also poses severe risks to public health. However, there is currently no process in place to study the impacts that environmental degradation has on the quality of health over time. HB 494 and SB 610 began to address this by creating a community health study fund, paid for by fines assessed to companies directly responsible for contamination.
  • Extending existing tax credits to homeowners for installing solar power on their homes, making solar more affordable to more New Mexican families and supporting one of the few job-creating industries in NM (SB 392, 2015, HB 26/SB 13, 2016)

CVNM’s 2015-2016 Conservation Scorecard is available online via a fully interactive website at Print versions are available upon request.
CVNM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization connecting the people of New Mexico to their political power to protect our air, land, and water for a healthy Land of Enchantment. CVNM does this by mobilizing voters, helping candidates win elections, holding elected officials accountable, and advancing responsible public policies.
Contact: Liliana Castillo, 505-992-8683 or