CVNM 2015-2016 CONSERVATION SCORECARD:
ALBUQUERQUE AREA STATE LEGISLATORS VOTE ALONG PARTY LINES
**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 Albuquerque area senators in the 2015-2016 Scorecard is 73%, nine percentage points above the Senate-wide average. The average conservation score earned by Las Cruces area representatives in the 2015-2016 Scorecard is 58%, 10 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. “From the respiratory health crisis in the South Valley of Albuquerque, to the methane hotspot in the Four Corners area, to keeping local control of our public lands, New Mexico communities are (and have been) desperately in need of more focus from legislators in Santa Fe. Finding more ways to elevate community voices is a priority for CVNM moving forward.”
Albuquerque area legislators sit on many 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:
- Of those who voted on House Bill (HB) 285, Representatives Georgene Louis, Miguel Garcia and Patricia Roybal Caballero were the only Albuquerque area legislators to vote against the anti-conservation bill.
- 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 House Joint Resolution (HJR) 8/18, Rep. Jim Dines has the dubious distinction of being the only Albuquerque area legislator that voted for the anti-conservation resolution to make the PRC a body appointed by the Governor.
- Of those who voted on HB 154, Rep. Miguel Garcia was the only Albuquerque area legislator to vote for it. HB 154, a pro-conservation bill, sought to provide needed oversight and transparency for state land business leases by requiring that the affected local government(s) review them and make appropriate recommendations before the Commissioner of Public Lands can finalize them.
- Senator Mark Moores was the only Albuquerque area senator to vote against Senate Bill (SB) 391. A vote against this bill is the anti-conservation position. Representatives Dines, Larry Larrañaga, Jimmie Hall, David Adkins, Tim Lewis and Monica Youngblood were the only Albuquerque area representatives to vote against the bill.
- SB 391 (2016) would have extended the existing 10% tax credit for the installation of commercial, residential and agricultural solar systems, which is set to expire December 31, 2016. This 10% tax credit has helped many New Mexicans invest in solar energy for their homes, businesses and farms, improving the environment and public health by reducing the demand for coal-fired electricity.
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. This bill did not receive a message from the Governor in the 2016 budget session, was not heard and therefore not scored. (HB 293, 2016)
- 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 www.CVNM.org/Scorecard. 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 Liliana@CVNM.org