Santa Fe, NM – Today, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) unveiled the statewide 2015 Conservation Scorecard, marking the 11th year of release. In the Scorecard, CVNM reports the votes cast on the most critical issues affecting our air, land, water and communities during the 2015 legislative session. Senators Howie Morales and William Soules and Representatives Georgene Louis and Javier Martinez, each earning a 100% in the 2015 Scorecard, joined CVNM for a telephone press conference.
Along with this information, the 2015 Conservation Scorecard features:
- An Executive Summary by CVNM Executive Director Demis Foster highlighting successes and challenges the conservation community faced during the session
- Our Issue Spotlight, in which 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
- Stories of critical moments for conservation during the 2015 legislative session
- A look at data from the 2005 to 2015 Conservation Scorecards
The average conservation score earned in the Senate in 2015 is 71%. The average conservation score earned in the House of Representatives in 2015 is 47%.
“In the 2015 session, there was more divisive, polarizing behavior between parties in the House of Representatives than most years – which ultimately led to a more unified defense against anti-conservation legislation in both chambers,” says Demis Foster, CVNM Executive Director. “Despite sowing chaos in New Mexico’s legislature, the Martinez administration’s anti-conservation agenda was stopped cold by a strong, unwavering alliance. We applaud our conservation champions and allies for making healthy air, land, water and communities for all New Mexicans their top priority.”
The 2015 Scorecard includes votes on 10 Senate and 13 House pieces of legislation on critical issues that New Mexico’s decision-makers faced in the session earlier this year. Here are just a few examples of harmful measures CVNM worked with allied organizations and legislators to successfully defeat. These measures would have:
- Taken voting rights away from thousands of New Mexicans who are most impacted by environmental degradation
- Weakened protections for communities in the Mining Act
- Removed New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to provide 20% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020
- Enabled the privatization of critical public services (e.g. water systems) without adequate safeguards, oversight or taxpayer protections.
CVNM also advocated for pro-active legislation. Here are two examples:
- For a second year, CVNM brought forward bills that would have established a fund to conduct a baseline community health study of the Grants Mineral Belt, and made recommendations for ways to mitigate the public health impacts of uranium mining. Both the House and Senate bills were heard in committee, generating debate about the importance of protecting community health. Unfortunately, both bills died. HB 494 died in House Health Committee by a vote of 5-4. SB 610 failed to be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee after passing out of the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
- CVNM supported the Solar Tax Credit Extension (SB 391, Stewart) which would have continued the existing tax credit for the installation of commercial, residential and agricultural solar systems. The 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 demand for coal-fired electricity. The solar tax credit has proved to be successful, assisting the booming local industry to grow 73% from 2012 to 2013, for a total of 1,900 solar jobs in New Mexico. Despite this track record, Gov. Martinez failed to sign, or “pocket vetoed,” the bill.
CVNM’s 2015 Conservation Scorecard is available online via a fully interactive website at CVNM.org/Scorecard.
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