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Response to Gov’s State of the State Speech

By January 19, 2016Legislature

Yesterday afternoon we heard Gov. Martinez lay out her vision for what she’d like to see the legislature accomplish in the current 30 day legislative session. I want to take a moment to summarize some of the key environmental and conservation themes that came out of her address.
In short: It’s not good.
We’ve already seen some bad ideas in the bills pre-filed between December 15th and January 15th such as SB 34, which would offer oil and gas producers a taxpayer-funded bail out. In her address today, the Governor announced what we’ve feared: The State Energy Plan is going to be on the agenda in this session.
The State Energy Plan is overflowing with industry-friendly policy recommendations like investing taxpayer dollars to put dirty coal on life support, attempting to redefine “renewable” to include nuclear power for the purposes of the state’s renewable portfolio standard and (most ominously) removing the ability of towns and counties to regulate drilling within their borders.
That last point is particularly troubling. At the behest of extractive industries, Gov. Martinez is pushing to take power away from, or pre-empt, local communities’ ability to protect public health and safety. At least 25 New Mexico cities and counties, including oil and gas producers, have found local drilling rules necessary to protect citizens, because state rules fail to.
And let’s talk about nuclear energy. New Mexicans get hit twice in the nuclear energy life cycle. Grant County and the western half of this state continue to pay the price for decades of uranium mining in the form of entire families devastated by cancer. New Mexico is also charged with assuming the risk of storing hazardous wastes at facilities like the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and others. New Mexicans bear the brunt of the damage from the nuclear energy industry. Nuclear energy isn’t our bright shining future, it’s our shameful legacy, and it’s time for us to move forward.
We’ll be in the state capitol all day, every day to ensure our energy future protects our health and is profitable for New Mexicans. We’ll need you every step of the way.