Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Faith and Environmental Leaders Gather at Senator Bingaman’s Office to Show Solidarity With Gulf Coast
As the Gulf Coast oil catastrophe quickly grows into one of the largest environmental disasters in US history, Albuquerque-area faith and environmental leaders gathered in front of Senator Jeff Bingaman’s district office to protest BP’s reckless behavior and call for an end to risky offshore drilling and other dirty energy.
Black plastic and red caution tape was used to stage a mock oil spill today to show why we need a moratorium on drilling off our coasts. People waved signs saying “Clean it Up” and “No More Drilling,” and called on BP to clean up their mess.
“In a region still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina, coastal communities cannot afford the economic and environmental blow that this oil spill will deliver,” Molly Brook of Conservation Voters New Mexico said. “This is a wake-up call. We need to clean up the Gulf Coast, and we need to clean up America's energy.”
Speakers also highlighted the clean energy solutions to our country’s oil dependency with signs that read “Better Fuel Efficiency” and “Make our Energy Clean: Make it American.”
Senator Bingaman chairs the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which is why local faith and environmental leaders and activists gathered in front of his office and called on the Senator to help deliver a plan to get America off oil.
“We already have the technology and solutions for 21st century transportation systems -- we just need the political will to implement them,” said Shrayas Jatkar of the Sierra Club. “We need a ban on all new offshore drilling immediately to protect our coasts and coastal communities. At the same time, the BP oil disaster should shake up Congress to protect our climate by pass strong and comprehensive legislation that transitions America to a clean energy economy now.”
“We are at a crossroads,” said Franciscan sister Joan Brown of NM Interfaith Power & Light. “We have a choice to make. We either continue to stand with large corporations and oil companies like BP and Haliburton who make billions from outmoded energy sources or we stand with the families of those who lost loved ones in this disaster and the people of the coastal region whose livelihood and beloved land and water are being destroyed. Standing with families for the common good and viable life in the future means investing resources in efficiency, conservation and clean energy such as wind and solar.”
Today’s gathering in Albuquerque was part of a massive grassroots movement taking place around the country, of communities calling for an end to offshore drilling and the need to move towards a clean energy future. Over 50 protests nationwide are expected this week.
For more information on the spill in the Gulf Coast, please visit www.sierraclub.org/oilspill.
Caption photo 1: Joan Brown of NM Interfaith Power & Light pours water over the mock oil spill site to honor 11 workers killed at BP Deepwater Horizons offshore rig explosion. Holding inflatable globe are other speakers, Shrayas Jatkar of the Sierra Club in NM & Molly Brook of Conservation Voters NM.
Caption photo 2: Shrayas Jatkar of the Sierra Club in NM calling for an immediate moratorium on all new offshore drilling, while urging Senator Bingaman to lead the charge for a strong, comprehensive plan for clean energy and climate protection. (Other speakers in the background: Joan Brown, NM Interfaith Power & Light & Molly Brook, Conservation Voters NM.)
Photos by Jake Horowitz, Environment NM (May 12, 2010)
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
1Sky New Mexico Pushes for Obama to Fight for Fair, Ambitious, Binding International Climate Deal
Local leaders representing 1Sky New Mexico today gathered at a media conference at the Civic Plaza in Albuquerque to urge President Obama to fight for a fair, ambitious and binding international treaty on climate change when he attends the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 9. Furthermore, youth and labor leaders called on President Obama to bring home a new clean energy economy through the international climate treaty, according to a statement released by the group.
“President Obama can use his international prestige to be the driving force behind true progress on climate change,” said Akilah Sanders Reed, a sophomore in high school and a leader in the 1Sky NM campaign. “The rest of the world will follow if America leads, and President Obama campaigned -- and won -- on a platform of domestic and international leadership to fight climate change.”
Andrew Padilla, the AFSCME Council President of New Mexico, also spoke at the media conference and urged President Obama to call for a bold international climate treaty to generate jobs in the state. “As public employees, an international treaty and national legislation will usher in new green jobs in water, power, energy audits on buildings and much more. We fully support a bold international climate treaty and urge President Obama to push for one in Copenhagen in the coming week.”
In addition, Ray Powell, the former New Mexico Land Commissioner, spoke at the media conference. "New Mexico has the opportunity to help create a bright new energy future for our nation and planet. Our state is blessed with an enormous supply of renewable energy resources. In addition, our national laboratories and universities have the knowledge, expertise and talent to optimize these resources and create good jobs for New Mexicans. A bold international treaty in Copenhagen and domestic legislation would create the ideal framework for our natural resources and talent to be used.”
The Media Conference was part of more than 30 1Sky events nationwide this week. Many of the events highlighted art work made by activists in the 1Sky network who participated in over 200 “art gatherings” during November, where participants created murals and other works of art that expressed the urgency of the climate crisis. The artwork was designed to push the Obama administration to take a strong stance in Copenhagen, where representatives of most world nations will discuss an international treaty to stop the greenhouse gas pollution that causes global warming. A culminating event is scheduled to take place in front of the White House in Washington D.C. on December 4 that will incorporate works of art from all over the country.
The Copenhagen conference is expected to run from December 7 to December 19. 1Sky and other groups dedicated to fighting climate change are calling for a fair, ambitious and binding treaty, and warning that failure to generate an effective, working agreement soon could have disastrous consequences for the planet, which is already suffering from the effects of climate change.
Specifically 1Sky is calling on the Obama administration to:
- Push for stronger action on short term targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts than the 17 percent currently offered by the United States since 17 percent is simply not enough to stave off the worst effects of global warming.
- Acknowledge a degree of U.S. responsibility for climate change by making financial investments in the transition
- Use the Copenhagen trip to pressure the U.S. Senate to build the political will to pass a strong bill in the Senate this spring.
“Unfortunately the planet cannot wait,” said 1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell. “We need to see serious progress in Copenhagen and from the United States Senate over the next few months. The economic benefits to acting are very clear and the result of no action is also, unfortunately, very clear.”
Click to see a full list of planned events (pdf) throughout the country.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Senate Energy Bill Passes Committee; Udall Says Global Warming Challenge Demands Bipartisan Cooperation
The office of Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) released a statement today to report that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved S.1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Udall, a member of the committee, voted to pass the legislation so that broader, bipartisan cooperation and consensus to promote clean energy and combat global warming could be reached when the bill is debated by the full Senate Chamber. The EPW Chairman brought the measure to a vote in accordance with Committee rules after all seven Republican committee members boycotted several scheduled meetings to review and debate the bill.
Following the vote, Udall said, “Rather than face further delays and stalling tactics in this room, we should move on and seek bipartisan compromise on the floor. As a result, I support reporting this legislation to the full Senate. Senators from all parties and regions should have a chance to weigh in.”
Udall also noted that “bipartisan momentum is building” for clean energy and climate legislation, highlighting yesterday’s announcement by Senators John Kerry, D-MA, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Joe Lieberman, I-CT, to build upon S. 1733 and make additional improvements.
In the EPW Committee, Udall worked to include several provisions in the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that benefit New Mexico and the West while putting the nation on a path toward energy independence, including:
- Increased support for renewable energy development, including large-scale projects;
- A greater role for natural gas, an abundant traditional fuel with low emissions;
- Enhanced protections of natural resources and special places from wildfire and drought linked to climate change;
- Increased protections for energy consumers, including rural electric cooperatives;
- Enhanced roles for Indian tribes in developing clean energy and climate solutions;
- Improved compliance options for small domestic oil refineries which serve New Mexico;
- New opportunities for farmers and ranchers through the Supplemental Agriculture and Renewable Energy Program;
- Greater role in the Renewable Fuels Standard for biofuels produced from algae.
“While this legislation continues to be a work in progress, this bill addresses many issues critical to New Mexico and the West,” Udall said. “I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on a bipartisan basis to spur the creation of a clean energy economy and effectively combat global warming.”
A longtime proponent of a “Do It All” energy approach, Udall is on the record as a staunch advocate of a national energy policy that includes all of the tools in our energy toolbox - including energy efficiency, solar, wind, biofuels, natural gas, enhanced oil recovery, safe nuclear power and clean coal technologies.
S. 1733 would create a system of clean energy incentives and place limits on global warming pollution from approximately 7,500 large industrial facilities in the United States.
Economic analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Congressional Budget Office, found the clean energy incentives would reduce imports of foreign oil and the costs of controlling global warming pollution would be low. Further analysis by academic and non-profit organizations also found clean energy incentives in S. 1733 would create nearly 2 million jobs and billions of dollars in energy savings.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Repower New Mexico Launches Repower Wall with Citizen Voices for Clean Energy and Climate Action
This week, the Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower New Mexico campaign unveiled a new initiative designed to demonstrate broad national consensus for action on clean energy and climate. An integrated multimedia effort supported by an online, field and advertising campaign, the new Repower effort centers around a virtual (and really cool) “Repower Wall,” where thousands of people have already uploaded messages of strong support for action to create clean energy jobs, safeguard America’s economic and national security future, and solve the climate crisis. Click to visit the Repower Wall.
“New Mexicans have joined thousands of voices from across America on the Repower Wall to express their support for swift action to address climate change and to transition to a new 21st century clean energy economy,” said state director Brandon Pinette in a statement released by the Alliance. “The Repower Wall is becoming a hub for all New Mexicans who want to see our economy grow and to start down a path toward a new energy future for New Mexico and America.”
According to the Center for American Progress, transitioning to a clean energy economy will create more than 11,000 jobs here in New Mexico while revitalizing our economy, strengthening our national security and breaking our dependence on foreign oil.
Already, more than 12,000 individuals have added their faces and voices to the Repower Wall, and more than 40 leading corporations and non-governmental organizations have contributed their logos to the effort -- including Fortune 500 Companies like Nike, Gap, Inc., Avon, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Staples, eBay and Exelon.
The Repower Wall includes many New Mexicans from all backgrounds, such as business leaders, students, and farmers. Some voices from New Mexico include:
Sharon Leech, from San Cristobal, NM:
Excerpt: "We're past the point of guessing when we need to take action. We need to take action now. And part of the reason why we need to take action as the United States is because this is the first time I think in a dozen years that we've really had an opportunity with our elected officials to step up against the opposition, step up against the corporate interests with enough votes to make something happen... The bottom line is if we care about our grandchildren if we want our children to be able to grow food, if we want this beautiful planet, which is the only habitable one we know of, to survive, we have to act now."
Erin Sanborn, from El Prado, New Mexico:
Excerpt: "I think it's imperative that leaders take a very strong stance on reducing carbon in our atmosphere... I urge every world leader to stand up, be bold, take a stand."
Calling on people across the U.S. to add their own message of support to the Repower Wall, a combination of notable names and everyday Americans are featured in a pair of national television ads titled “Voices” and “Faces” that also began airing this week. The campaign has attracted a wave of messages from workers, business executives, military veterans, faith leaders, elected officials, entertainers, activists and people from across the country, demonstrating the deep and broad support for swift action on climate change and a transition to a new 21st century clean energy economy.
As supporters upload their photos, videos and messages of support for clean energy and climate action, they actually become the voice of the campaign’s efforts on TV, in print, on billboards, online and in brand new forms of communication that will go directly to elected leaders.
The Repower America campaign will roll out new versions of the television ads, featuring different participants, in the coming weeks. To learn more about the effort and view the television ads, visit the campaign website. Add your voice at Repower America Wall.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Polling Shows Voters in NM-02 See Global Warming as Threat, Support Dem Carbon Reduction Plans
Surprise! August polling on issues related to global warming, carbon reduction measures and green jobs was conducted by The Mellman Group with 400 likely voters in each of four swing districts, including New Mexico's Second Congressional District. Results show that a healthy majority of respondents in each of the four states generally supports Democratic positions on energy issues. The results contradict the alarmist rhetoric being used by the GOP to claim a massive backlash in swing districts against clean energy initiatives and those who vote for them:
- Voters In Each Of These Swing Districts See Global Warming As A Real And Serious Threat That Is Happening Now
- Voters In Each Swing District Believe Efforts To Reduce Global Warming Will Create Jobs, Not Eliminate Them
- Voters In Each District Strongly Favor Action To Reduce Carbon Emissions
- Large Majorities Support Key Elements Of The House Bill
- There Is No Evidence That The Energy/Global Warming Bill Is Causing A Backlash
- A Candidate Using Our [Democratic] Message Overwhelms An Opponent Using The Opposition’s Arguments
Click for a summary presentation (pdf) of the polling results for FL-02, NM-02, OH-16 and VA-05. It's well worth a look.
- 68% of respondents in NM-02 favored the U.S. taking action to reduce emissions of gases like carbon monoxide that cause global warming, while 23% were opposed and 9% were undecided.
- 69% of respondents in NM-02 support the key elements of the Democratic energy plan, while only 22% oppose them and 9% are undecided. Moreover, Independents support the Dem plan by a margin of 63% to 25%.
Congressman Harry Teague, who voted for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy And Security Act, should rest a little easier now that factual data is emerging to negate the view that loud Tea Party protests and attacks by right-wingers indicate deep and widespread dissatisfaction with global warming mitigation and renewable energy legislation. If the polling in this survey is accurate, many more voters in NM-02 support the Dem legislation moving through Congress than oppose it. Don't be fooled by the spin from the right-wing noise machine.
Monday, October 26, 2009
NM Rep. Mimi Stewart Appointed by White House to National Coalition of State Leaders on Energy and Climate Change
Excellent news. State Rep. Mimi Stewart, a Democrat from Albuquerque, has been selected to serve on a national working group of state leaders that will be working with the White House to advance federal clean energy legislation in Congress. The group met for the first time in late September by phone, tackling energy policy issues that will put the country on course for significant progress in the clean energy economy.
“New Mexico and many other states have shown real leadership building a cleaner, more energy efficient future,” said Rep. Stewart in a statement released today. “State legislators play a unique role in clean-energy jobs policies. We’re elected representatives of the people, we know the businesses and labor issues in our states, and many of us see federal action as the launching pad for the next generation of innovation and prosperity in America.”
Working with the White House, the group will help inform the debate surrounding the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). The group's efforts will focus on moving the country toward clean energy solutions that will create jobs and reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil.
Rep. Stewart will be participating in the working group along with 40 other state legislators from across the nation, meeting this week on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington D.C. at the White House, to formalize the group and to plan actions in each state.
New Mexico is uniquely positioned to contribute innovative ideas for nationwide clean energy policy reforms. The state has enacted solar energy legislation to help home owners convert to solar electrical systems, instituted a Renewable Energy Transmission Line that is bringing green jobs to the state, and continues to look at other ways to promote clean energy. New Mexico is one of several states recognized as a model for the country’s new clean energy economy.
“New Mexico has again taken the opportunity to lead,” said Rep. Stewart. “Our recent efforts at the state level are at the cutting edge of job creation and innovation in the clean energy economy -- and one of the few areas of job growth during the current downturn. The progress we’ve made can serve as a model for the rest of the country as Congress takes needed action to build a prosperous economy and a more secure clean energy future.”