Democrats failed us at the Roundhouse!

By Lora A. Lucero

In our state legislature where both chambers are controlled by healthy Democratic majorities, who should we hold responsible for the dismal failure to pass strong climate bills? The honest answer — the Democrats. New Mexico is the country’s second-largest oil producing state and fifth largest natural gas producer. Our state’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions is massively out of proportion to our measly population of 2.1 million, and our failure to rapidly reduce fossil fuels production is enormously consequential for the planet.  Our elected New Mexico Democrats should be sending notes of apology to their constituents and the world.

Jerry Redfern, reporting in Capital & Main (Mar. 29, New Mexico Legislature Fails IPCC Test, enumerated some of the bills that died: “Stricter regulation on who can drill wells? Dead. A provision allowing citizen groups to sue when the state drags its feet over prosecuting oil and gas companies? Dead. A nominal increase in oil and gas taxes that applies only to future wells only on state lands? Dead. Updates to the state’s 80-year-old foundational oil and gas law to include protections for human and environmental health? Dead. A fund to help fossil-fuel energy workers transfer to new careers? Dead. The latest in a years-long push to add environmental protections to the state constitution, similar to one in red state Montana? Dead.”

The stranglehold of the oil & gas industry on New Mexico politics and politicians is no secret. But it’s time to call out the Democrats who can’t or won’t act in the best interest of our children and their future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns the world that the window for action is rapidly closing. We have the technology to address climate change but we don’t have the political will. Our elected Democrats must read the NM Democratic Party Platform and either commit to voting consistent with our platform or risk a primary challenger. The Progressive Democrats of America – Central New Mexico chapter (PDA-CNM) intends to press each and every elected official to read and affirm the DPNM Platform.


1. The right to live in a healthy environment and the right to clean air, land, and water; and

2. Historically, Black, Indigenous, and people of color and lower-income and working-class people are disproportionately and negatively impacted by climate disruption and/or pollution; and

3. The world must move swiftly to 100% renewable electricity and remove fossil fuels from all sectors as soon as possible; and

4. New Mexico must be using 100% renewable electricity by 2030; and

5. That reducing carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy is essential; and

6. Our nation’s spending on infrastructure has fallen to its lowest level in 70 years, resulting in lost productivity, investment, collapse of U.S. manufacturing, and a degradation of our competitive edge worldwide.


1. Develop a plan that lays out mandatory benchmarks to transition electricity generation, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture to 100% renewable energy; and

2. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than 80% below 2005 levels; and

3. Call for economic support for workers in affected industries and affected local communities and Indigenous sovereign nations as we transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy; and

4. Cut energy waste in New Mexico homes, schools, hospitals, and offices by implementing energy-efficiency programs and making New Mexico manufacturing clean and efficient; and

5. Reinstate the New Mexico Solar Energy Tax credit; and

6. Transition tax breaks and subsidies from fossil fuel industries to renewable energy providers; and

7. Prioritize and incentivize wind, solar, and other renewable energy and energy-storage technologies while phasing out all fossil-fuel-based power plants; and

8. Support community solar programs to expand solar access to underserved lower-income individuals and groups; and

9. Support the development of Public Power in New Mexico, i.e., some form of public ownership of electricity infrastructure, to ensure that the transition to renewable energy will include a restructuring of the power grid energy markets and the ownership and control of this infrastructure to best serve community values and interests. Ensure and protect the right of New Mexicans to tie residential and commercial solar to the grid; and

10. Enact the Green Amendment to the New Mexico Constitution, which will make clean pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments a constitutional right for New Mexicans for future generations; and

11. Assert our rights to clean pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments and communities as they are essential to protecting all New Mexicans from contagious disease (e.g., COVID-19), and pollution (e.g., Gold King Mine spill and Kirtland AFB jet fuel spill) and from the disparate impacts that egregiously harm communities of working-class people and people of color; and

12. Invest in a statewide, renewable-energy-powered, and publicly accessible electric-vehicle-charging network; and

13. Construct new transmission lines to transport low-cost renewable energy to market in a transparent and environmentally sound way; and

14. Upgrade distribution systems so that they have the capacity to accommodate the continued growth of distributed generation, building electrification, electric vehicles, and emerging technologies; and

15. Close the Halliburton loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act and require that all chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) must be disclosed to the appropriate government regulators as public information; and

16. Support the formation of a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) modeled on the four previous nationally chartered public banks to fund the development of the infrastructure needed to achieve our renewable energy transition; and

17. Reject hydrogen production that utilizes any form of fossil fuel, either directly or as fossil-fuel-powered energy; and

18. Ensure that all New Mexicans, including landowners, communities of color, and affected tribal nations, are honored and respected in the decision-making and energy-implementation processes; and

19. Ban the importing and use of clean water for fracking purposes, and require that the oil and gas industry account for all water: from its origination source; the amount used and recovered; the toxicity of the fracking waste “produced water” that results; and where that waste ultimately ends up. Require that the oil and gas industry be transparent with the public on these findings; and

20. Stop the use of fracking waste “produced water” and criminalize the contamination of watershed; and

21. Educate and empower our population using independent data with scientific integrity to face the challenges of climate change, including mitigation strategies; and

22. Support improved government regulation to ensure our water is not polluted by agricultural, mining, sewage treatment, chemical, oil and gas, or other activities; and

23. Increase funding of the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division to adequately staff all offices with qualified personnel at competitive salaries to oversee drilled wells, witness and verify the integrity of all wellbores, and enforce the most stringent federal and state environmental regulations, while creating public involvement and oversight of this process; and

24. Respect the cultural heritage and historical use of acequias and other traditional irrigation practices; and

25. Engage and involve Black, Indigenous and other people of color, lower-income and working-class people in meaningful consultation and full participation “at the table” from the beginning: when collecting data; researching; investigating; engaging in environmental justice planning; and in formulating solutions to unsustainable development and environmentally harmful practices; and

26. Support implementation of the “30 x 30 Initiative” (to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030) and keep public lands public for all time; and

27. Support the protection and reclamation of New Mexico’s state land, public land, and natural resources from damage inflicted by extractive industries; and

28. Support federal Wild and Scenic Rivers designation for the Gila, the last free-flowing river in New Mexico and its tributaries; and

29. Support the protection and preservation of our National and State Parks, Forests, Monuments, World Heritage Sites, and Indigenous sacred sites, especially those in New Mexico, such as Chaco Canyon and Valle del Oro; and

30. Support the Endangered Species Act to protect threatened and endangered animals; and

31. Support a state-level moratorium on the building, placement, or expansion of existing factory animal farms; and

32. Support enlisting farmers and ranchers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship; and

33. Advocate for legislation and policies that will require state and local governments to implement federal Justice40 policies, rules, and laws (to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities). Coordinate with federal government agencies to remediate the harms caused by decades of environmental and economic injustice and build instead healthy and sustainable communities for all through massive investments in infrastructure designed and developed by and for the people; and

34. Establish an independent and transparent baseline for groundwater based on Cumulative Impact Analyses; test for groundwater quantity and quality before new permits are issued; and ensure due process in these water permitting procedures; and

35. Advocate for federal, state, and local legislation that will require government agencies to consider cumulative impacts from multiple pollutants and sources, mandatory limits on fossil-fuel emissions in already polluted communities, and the applicants’ past violations when such agencies are making permitting decisions under water and air quality laws; and36. Advocate for federal, state, and local legislation that will require and adequately fund government agencies to include community-based environmental, public health, and social impact data collection and analysis, related research, mapping, and environmental-justice strategic plans in the implementation of agency programs and policies


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