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Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Mexico’s Working Families Praise New Mexico’s U.S. Senators for Voting to End Billions in Special Oil & Gas Company Tax Breaks

From Organizers in the Land of Enchantment:

Reps. Luján, Heinrich Vote Against Oil & Gas Tax Breaks in Ryan Budget

The U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation Thursday by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) which would have cut $24 billion in tax breaks for the five richest oil companies and use the savings to pay down the U.S. debt and invest in wind power and energy efficiency. Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) praised New Mexico’s U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall for voting for the legislation.

Even though a majority voted to pass the bill, the nearly party line vote of 51-47 failed to muster the 60 votes needed to override a filibuster.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (WI) budget which retains a decade of oil and gas industry tax breaks worth tens of billions of dollars. OLÉ applauds Congressmen Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich for voting against continuing these taxpayer giveaways and expresses frustration that Rep. Steve Pearce voted for it.

Oil companies made $137 billion in profits last year, thanks to the high prices consumers paid at the gas pump. And despite nearly record high levels of drilling in the United States, gas prices are going up not down.

“We don’t have a problem with too little production; we have a problem with too much profiteering. And working families are footing the bill,” said Mathew Henderson, OLÉ Executive Director.

March 31, 2012 at 12:18 PM in Children and Families, Energy, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | |

Laura E. Sanchez Withdraws from SD13 Race Endorses Chris Catechis

Today, Laura E. Sanchez, candidate for Senate District 13 in Albuquerque's North Valley and Westside, announced to her supporters that she is withdrawing from the 2012 election to focus on family and professional priorities.

“As I've embarked on this campaign, I've realized that now is not the right time for me to pursue election to office. I need to focus on my professional career and family responsibilities at this time,” Sanchez said.

“Of course, I’m disappointed, but I will hopefully have more time in future election cycles to pursue my goals to help New Mexicans by serving as a public official," Sanchez said. "We will see widespread political change this year at the Roundhouse, given so many open seats. I am endorsing Chris Catechis in this race. Chris is a proven community leader and has fought hard for this area as President of the North Valley Coalition. I am confident that Chris will fight hard in Santa Fe for our local issues and will continue to represent the values of the entire district. I intend to remain active from the sidelines helping the many other quality candidates like Chris this cycle."

Sanchez has been a regular panelist on New Mexico PBS's (KNME’s) New Mexico In Focus television program and is currently a staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) where she works on energy issues, renewable energy transmission and climate change policy in New Mexico and Arizona.

March 31, 2012 at 07:14 AM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Democrat | |

Friday, March 30, 2012

Op Ed by Hector Balderas; The Legacy of Cesar Chavez Is Our Legacy

Hector balderas pro picOP-ED by Hector Balderas.

This weekend, millions of Americans will pause to reflect and honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez.

Cesar Chavez will always be known as a tireless advocate for the poor and underrepresented.  When he saw an entire group of our society struggle with no one speaking for them, he not only lent his voice, but helped them realize how to make theirs heard.

For most of our nation’s history the migrant workers who picked the lettuce, the peas, the beans, the cherries, and the grapes were paid almost nothing.  They suffered their injustice without hope.  With his nonviolent approach to change, Cesar Chavez led the pickets, the marches, the strikes, and the boycotts until finally farm workers achieved higher wages, better working conditions in the fields, and the right to bargain collectively.

As a leader in the fight for justice for migrant workers, and of the Latino civil rights movement in general, Cesar Chavez helped generations of Latinos in America realize a sense of self-empowerment, whether it was standing up to brutality or simply registering to vote.

Cesar chavezCesar Chavez was guided by a simple principle -- to leave the world a better place than we found it.  He showed us that a single voice can change our country.  And he showed us how strong a people can be when they bind their hearts and efforts together in a sense of community.

The hope and optimism that Cesar Chavez articulated inspired generations after him.  As a young boy growing up in Wagon Mound, my mom and I lived in public housing and survived on Medicaid and food stamps. But even as a boy growing up in family and community that did not have much, I never knew we were poor.  Instead, my mother filled her children with a sense of hope and optimism.  She taught us that with hard work, a strong sense of community, and the willingness to stand up for what is right, the sky was the limit.

Sadly, today there are far too many families in too many New Mexico communities who have lost that sense of hope – who no longer believe that the sky’s the limit.  They worry about a lack of jobs in their communities, whether or not they can pay their mortgage, how they will send their kids to college, or if their kids will even finish high school.  For the first time, they’ve lost hope that their children will have it better off than they did.

And it’s no wonder.  When they look at Washington and see our political and leaders arguing over how big of a tax cut to give the wealthiest among us, people lose hope.

When they look at Wall Street and see that not one single person that caused our nation’s economic crisis has gone to jail or been held accountable, people lose hope.

Cesar Chavez taught us that there’s a better way.  That the only way to strengthen our society is by investing in all our people – not just the most privileged.  By investing in public education, rural infrastructure, and our struggling small business owners, and protecting programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we will not only be helping our most vulnerable, we will be strengthening our entire nation.

As Chavez once said, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community.  Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

That is a lesson our political and corporate leaders could stand to learn.

But we cannot rely on them.  If there’s anything that Cesar Chavez taught us, it’s that we must take our destiny into our own hands.  Only we can ensure that our voices are heard and that our communities thrive and succeed.

That is what inspired me to enter into public service.  Throughout our entire history as a nation, only seven Latinos have ever been elected to the U.S. Senate.  We need more people from our community to step up and be active, not just by running for office, but by getting engaged in our community, and by using the most simple but powerful weapon we have – our votes.

Even with that, there are many cynics who wonder if we will ever be able to truly bring change, if we are too much of an underdog.  To them, I say that I began every one of my political campaigns as an underdog.  But that’s OK because I’m in good company.  We are a state full of underdogs.

But if there’s one thing that Cesar Chavez taught us – and that history has proven – it is that we as a community, we as a people, and we as a nation are at our strongest when our underdogs make their voices heard.

This weekend, the dream still lives and our hopes continue to sustain us.  Cesar Chavez’s struggle is our struggle, and the struggle ennobles us.  Let us honor him by never losing his sense of abetter world, and let us prove to our mothers that we still believe that the sky’s the limit.

Hector Balderas is New Mexico State Auditor and a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.

March 30, 2012 at 07:02 PM in Guest Blogger, Hector Balderas, Hispanic Issues, Unions | |

Eleanor Chavez says: Unbelievable!


Eleanor has organized a strong grassroots campaign for the upcoming primary election. She has been a champion for working families and voters are excited about her campaign.

Eleanor’s opponent, Michael Padilla, is alleging voter fraud and challenging petition signatures that were submitted by the campaign.

“We worked hard to reach out to voters in the district and the campaign turned in more than 4 times the required amount of required signatures,” said Eleanor, “I stand by my signatures and volunteers. We know that there is an expected error rate in petition gathering that every campaign experiences. In those cases, we support the process and those signatures should not be counted.”

Voter fraud is a serious allegation and it’s unfortunate that Michael Padilla, who turned in pages of unqualified signatures, would make these baseless charges without evidence. After all, he’s no stranger to public allegations. But, voter fraud…hmmm…doesn’t that sound like a familiar line from the Republican playbook? These types of wild allegations make us wonder who is advising his campaign.

Connections to the Republican Administration

Michael Padilla was offered a no-bid contract by the state and Governor Susana Martinez’s administration. His call center company, Altivus, contracted with the Motor Vehicle Division to aid Governor Martinez in handling calls from immigrants whose driver’s licenses were under review.He is a relative of the Taxation and Revenue Secretary who is responsible for overseeing the MVD, who offered the contract to him.

If you’d like to support Eleanor in fighting back against these Republican tactics, please donate to her campaign at ACTBLUE or send a check to:
Eleanor Chavez for Senate, 1307 Del Mastro, Albuquerque, NM 87121

March 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races | |

Pueblos of Zuni, Laguna and the Alamo Chapter endorse Maxine Velasquez for Senate

VelasquezTribes endorse Velasquez in heated Senate District 30 Democratic Primary

LAGUNA PUEBLO, NM, on March 24, 2012; Maxine Velasquez secured three key endorsements in the contested State Senate District 30 Primary race this Saturday. In a first, tribal councils from the Pueblos of Zuni, Acoma, Laguna and the Alamo Chapter of the Navajo Nation convened a joint session to hear from candidates and to make endorsements for the 2012 Democratic Primary.

Velasquez faces incumbent David Ulibarri and two other challengers in the Democratic Primary. For over a decade, Velasquez has been practicing and studying public policy, including working at the local, state, and national level advocating for economic development for rural and traditional communities.

“It’s a great honor to have received the endorsement from Alamo Chapter, Laguna and Zuni. As Senator, I will fight for our rural communities in Santa Fe and always remember my responsibility to all the people of Senate District 30.”

The Senate redistricting plan identifies 24.7% of the district as Native American making Saturday’s official endorsement a big win for Velasquez.

“I am running for State Senate because I care deeply about the needs of our community and am dedicated to improving the lives of working families,” says Velasquez. “Our district deserves leaders we count on to represent our needs first and foremost. I will fight for what matters most: the economy and jobs, improved infrastructure, healthcare and education. I will stand for the interests of our community and home-grown businesses over corporations.”

Velasquez is currently General Counsel for the Pueblo of Tesuque and the guardian to her niece Taylor Rose Lucero who attends the Laguna Middle School.

More information about Maxine can be found at www.maxineforsenate.com

March 30, 2012 at 04:30 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Democrat, Native Americans | |

Are Republicans Afraid of New Mexico Senator Eric Griego?

There is never a dull moment as a website manager, online journalist, blogger, or whatever you want to call this 8 year old media.  But, what you see from watching this website and the back workings of this website is very interesting, to say the least. What follows is a description of "Comment Drama!"

The latest interesting comment drama has been around the contentious Congressional District 1 race. There has been a commenter, lurking, we in the biz call it trolling. The troll comments under different names; sometimes using Mary, sometimes using Mary Martinez, and sometimes using Tommy Jones. So the troll’s identity remains a mystery.

What we do know is that the troll, he or she, comments always contain derogatory information about NM Senator Eric Griego. While appearing to support one of the other democratic candidates in the race. Now it has come to Democracy for NM attention that the troll has commented on other posts on another blog; NM Telegram, with an identical comment.

The troll has consistant commenting, he or she is always ragging on Eric Griego, criticizing about the progressive bills that have not been passed that Eric has carried. Eric has carried many of the progressive bills which would help the people of NM, Eric has fought for these bills which the conservative blue dog democrats and republicans have voted down, refused to pass. So thank you troll for highlighting what a voice for the people Eric will be if elected, he will fight for the people against all odds.

And finally, if you click on the URL link that the troll with the phony names uses - it takes you to a republican website, The Republican Party of Bernalillo County website!

Mr/Ms Republican Troll if you are trying to educate our readers on the difference between the republicans and democrats you have done a fine job. But if the troll is a supporter of one of the other Democratic candidates, my first response is shame on you. My second response is, you have done a fine job at educating our readers on a real democratic progressive, fighting for the people of New Mexico. Fighting for those who cannot fight, Eric will stick his neck out. These days those bills you list do not pass, but some day they will. Sometimes what appears as a negative comment is actually a positive comment.

Below is an image of the "Comment Drama."

Comment-lies-graphic 2
 Is the troll a republican? Is the troll from one of the other two CD1 competitors? Stay Tuned.

March 30, 2012 at 03:40 PM in Candidates & Races, Economy, Populism, Eric Griego, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | |

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Southern NM Veterans’ Organ Mountains Tour Highlights Importance of Protecting Public Lands

Organ Aguirre Springs
Vets Discuss Value of Lands for Those Who Fought for America

On a tour of various landmarks in the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region on Wednesday, Southern New Mexico veterans from every branch of the military discussed their strong shared support for protecting rich public lands within the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks region in Doña Ana County. Veterans spoke of the importance of having protected mountains and open space at home for veterans to recreate and provide a sanctuary.

The tour included several natural and historic locations including the Organ Mountains, rare World War II Aerial Targets in the Sierra de las Uvas, and the historic Butterfield Stagecoach Trail.

“Veterans – more than most -- recognize that when our sons and daughters are fighting overseas, they’re fighting for so much more than our freedoms. They are also fighting for our land and our nation’s sacred places,” said Dona Ana County-area veteran Peter Ossorio. “To Southern New Mexicans, the craggy peaks of the Organ Mountains and its surrounding desert is one such sacred place. In fact, I would say protecting our public lands heritage is one of the most patriotic things we could do.”

The event, which was a desert tour of some of the public lands proposed for a national monument in Doña Ana County, was organized by local veterans and the national Vet Voice Foundation.  The Organ Mountains-Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act (S. 1024) would protect these resources as would a recently-announced proposal to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (see www.OrganMountains.org).

Just last week, a broad coalition of Southern New Mexico businesses, sportsmen, faith-based organizations, conservation groups and community leaders announced their support for a Presidential monument designation for the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks region. Representatives from the Offices of Sens. Bingaman and Udall, two sponsors of S. 1024, were on hand for the veterans tour, which included an expert on the Butterfield Stage and a local historian on the land’s significance.

“As veterans, we are committed to serving beyond the time when we were in uniform,” said Dona Ana County area veteran Bernie Digman. “Serving our country is about so much more than our time in the military – it’s about what we do when we take that uniform off. For me, that means fighting to protect public lands so that my kids and grandkids can enjoy the wonders of nature that I enjoyed as a boy.”

In addition, healthy public lands are critical to many returning veterans as they reintegrate to civilian life.

“You cannot understate the therapeutic value of a camping trip or a peaceful hike for our brothers and sisters who are returning home from service in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ossorio added. “These wild and beautiful places like the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks region are a crucial part of the America our service members are fighting for.”

“Protecting public lands is about more than merely conserving acreage, it’s about preserving our history,” Digman said. “Right here in Dona Ana County we have the obvious places to protect – like the crest of the Organ Mountains. But we also have more hidden treasures, like the Butterfield Stage route and the bombing targets carved into the desert these are no less significant than the beautiful vistas we enjoy every day.”

Recent studies have highlighted the positive economic impacts of National Monuments.  A 2011 report on Carlsbad Caverns showed an annual tourist spend of $23 million, supporting nearly 350 direct and indirect jobs.

Organ WW2 bomb range 5
Photo above at the bomb range is (frmr state Rep.) Nate Cote and other Las Cruces area veterans.

“National Monuments mean local jobs,” said local veteran Nathan Cote. “How? Because when a monument is designated it immediately goes to the top of the list when it comes to tour books and travel blogs. A National Monument in our community will bring more visitors who will spend money and create jobs right here. There really is no downside.”

Nathan Cote, Bernie Digman and Peter Ossorio are all featured in a recent series of videos from the Vet Voice Foundation on the importance of preserving our public lands and heritage.

ABOUT Vet Voice Foundation
Vet Voice Foundation is a national group that works to mobilize veterans to become leaders in their communities on the important issues our nation faces. With regard to the conservation of our public lands, Vet Voice Foundation recognizes that when a service member is fighting for his or her country, they are also fighting for our nation’s natural wonders and an American way of life that is steeped in enjoyment of the great outdoors.

March 29, 2012 at 03:30 PM in Dona Ana County, Environment, Land Issues, Visuals | |

Georgene Louis Running for New Westside House District 26

Georgene louisGeorgene will bring new leadership to create a stronger Westside community

Georgene Louis is a candidate running to represent new House District 26 located on the southwest side of Albuquerque. The new district was created to address the tremendous growth in population that has occurred over the past 10 years. “On the Westside, our families are given the opportunity to grow with our beautiful community,” said Georgene, “If elected, I will ensure that our community members get the fair representation and support that they we deserve.”

Georgene is a native New Mexican and originally from the Pueblo of Acoma. Currently, she is an attorney at the Luebban Johnson & Barnhouse law firm and an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. But, her path was not an easy one.

As a young mother, Georgene worked hard to accomplish her goals and received her law degree while meeting the challenges of raising her daughter as a single parent.  “In my family, education was highly encouraged, and understood to be the key to a successful future. I had my daughter at a young age and she served as my motivation to succeed.  With the love and support of my family, friends and community members I pursued my education knowing that it would help me provide for my family and serve the community to the best of my ability,” said Georgene. She will work hard to ensure that all families have access to a quality education and supports adequate funding for our teachers and schools.

Georgene chose to practice law in New Mexico as a personal commitment to serve as an advocate for underserved communities. She has served the community on many boards like the Acoma Business Board and through her work with the NM Gaming Control Board. She has experience in working with stakeholders to identify effective economic development solutions and is committed to leveling the playing field for small businesses while creating good jobs in our community.

Georgene Louis will be a strong advocate at the legislature for workers, seniors and families. “I am committed to advocating for solutions to some of our most pressing concerns around jobs and foreclosures, access to quality education, affordable health care, public safety, the environment and Westside infrastructure needs. “

For more information about Georgene Louis and the issues she cares about please visit www.georgenelouis.com.

March 29, 2012 at 01:36 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Democrat | |

Local Leaders Endorse Al Park for Public Regulation Commissioner

Al park from KCIEA little more than a week after submitting nominating papers, Al Park’s campaign for Public Regulation Commissioner is proud to announce its endorsement by several prominent local leaders. The diverse group of state, county, and local elected officials includes:

Eleanor Chavez, New Mexico State Representative
Isaac Benton, Albuquerque City Councilor
Maggie Hart Stebbins, Bernalillo County Commissioner
Michelle Lujan Grisham, Bernalillo County Commissioner
Rey Garduno, Albuquerque City Councilor
Tim Keller, New Mexico State Senator

Representative Eleanor Chavez cited Al Park’s commitment to consumer protection as a New Mexico Representative saying “While serving with Al in the State House he wrote the used car lemon law and was the prime co-sponsor for the payday lending reform bill, he is exactly the type of consumer watchdog we need on the Public Regulation Commission.” Bernalillo County Senator Keller commented, “I’ve known Al for years and I am confident that he will be the same tireless fighter for New Mexicans as a member of the PRC that he was as a State Representative”.

“I am grateful for the support of these community leaders,” said Park “In the coming months I look forward to talking with New Mexicans about what the PRC can do to protect their consumer rights and ensure it operates in an ethical and transparent manner.” Park added, “And as someone who championed an independent ethics commission, open conference committees, and increased criminal penalties for corrupt public officials while in the State House you can be certain my commitment to ethics reform is real and not just campaign rhetoric.”

March 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM in 2012 NM PRC Races, Candidates & Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

Treatment Center Funding Announced

Capital outlay monies going to treatment facility. With so much negative press about capital outlay these years, here is an example that should be highlighted as excellent pork! It is surprising the Governor did not line item veto it. DFNM wrote a peice about this project back in September, follow this .

Huge kudos to Senator Michael Sanchez and the other Democrats who helped this project get passed and funded. Voting matters. Remember the "in again out again" republican Rep. David Chavez is challenging Senator Sanchez for his Valencia County seat. We must retain Senator Sanchez.

Press release in it's entirety:

The fight against substance abuse is getting much-needed financial assistance from the state thanks to two appropriations obtained during the recently completed legislative session. Senator Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Valencia County) announced $5 million was included in the capital outlay bill for phase two construction of the Henry Perea Center for Wellness and Recovery in Los Lunas. Also, $750,000 was included in the general appropriations bill for operations of the program.

The Center is a multi-faceted program designed to be the state lead in treating persons from throughout New Mexico with the most severe disorders of addiction and mental illness, and those who have had frequent contact with the criminal justice system. The innovative program incorporates an emerging national trend to “treat not incarcerate”.

“Severe addictions and mental illness have caused devastating health, economic, educational, and social effects in communities throughout New Mexico. The Center is a positive and important step in breaking the cycle of substance abuse and subsequent criminal activities,” said Senator Sanchez. The Center currently provides out-patient substance abuse and mental health services to over 800 residents of Valencia County and that number is increasing by 90 new customers each month, according to Noel Clark, managing partner at the Center.

Clark noted, “Senator Sanchez’s effort will assist us in expanding this capacity to extend out-patient services to 125 new customers from throughout the state each month. The capital outlay funding will allow construction of a residential in-patient treatment facility for women and children. The new facility will give the unique opportunity for a mother to be with her children during her time in treatment. This treatment approach will help children bond or re-bond with their mother following a difficult time of family dysfunction due to substance abuse.” He added, “Senator Sanchez recognizes the negative impact substance abuse has on our communities and continues to champion efforts to attack this problem.”

Last year’s capital outlay bill included $5 million for the same project. However, a filibuster in the final hours of the legislative session effectively killed the bill and any chances for this project to begin. “It is unfortunate that this project had to wait a year,” said Senator Sanchez. “But we are pleased that phase two will soon move forward so that New Mexicans who are unable to get needed treatment in their own communities can be served by this facility.”

March 29, 2012 at 10:47 AM in Addiction, Drugs, Alcohol, NM Legislature 2012 | |

Marty Chavez; A True Champion for Equality

MartyFrom the Marty Chavez for Congress campaign:  “Marty has been a champion of diversity & a fierce opponent of discrimination even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do.”

On Tuesday, the “LGBT for Marty” steering committee held their kickoff event in support of Marty's campaign to represent central New Mexico in the House of Representatives.

“Marty has a long and consistent commitment to equal rights for the LGBT community which was demonstrated as early as his support of legislation guaranteeing those rights while he served in the New Mexico State Senate,” said former Albuquerque City Attorney Bob White. “Whether it was signing the first Hate Crimes law in New Mexico including sexual orientation or the first executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or the executive order allowing domestic partner benefits for city employees, Marty Chavez has been a champion of diversity and a fierce opponent of discrimination even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do.”

“I'm honored to have the support of so many leaders in New Mexico's LGBTQ community,” said Chavez. “In Congress, I will continue to fight on their behalf and build upon the great progress made during my Mayoral administration to advance quality issues and fight back against hate and discrimination that they have recognized.”

Curley-roamLynette Curley-Roam added, “I’m supporting Marty because he has consistently supported full equality for all people including the LGBT community even before it was fashionable to do so. In addition, Marty has the best interests of our seniors in mind as he knows the great difference that Medicare makes in their lives.  Marty also wants to be sure that you and I are protected by the Affordable Care Act.

As Mayor, Chavez fought for vast improvements in Albuquerque’s law to protect against discrimination including signing the first hate crimes ordinance in New Mexico that included sexual orientation language, signing the first sexual orientation anti-discrimination executive order in New Mexico, organizing and convening Albuquerque’s first anti-hate summit and enacting a gender identity anti-discrimination policy.

Jesse Lopez, the immediate past president of Albuquerque Pride, also proclaimed, “When it comes to equality issues, what can I say, Marty has always been on the right side of history.”

Hosts for the “LGBTQ for Marty” kickoff included: A.J. Carian, Ellen Curley-Roam, Lynette Curley-Roam, Jesse Lopez, Past President ABQ Pride, Jim Maddox, Brian Morris, Tony Ross, Co-Founder of ABQ Pride, PJ Sedillo, Co-Founder of ABQ Pride, Bob White, Keith Harrison-West, Andre West-Harrison

March 29, 2012 at 08:24 AM in Candidates & Races, GLBT Rights, Martin Chavez, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | |

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Mexicans Can “Breathe A Little Easier” Thanks to EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard

San juan gen plant_coal
Photo above taken in Nov., 2011 by Martin LaMonica/cnet

From the Sierra Club: Local Groups and Citizens Express Support for New Safeguards that Will Hold Industrial Polluters Accountable and Help Protect New Mexico Communities’ Health

Today, New Mexicans are breathing a little easier after the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Obama Administration’s release of a proposal to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, which is essential to improve public health. Local organizations including Physicians for Social Responsibility of New Mexico, New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and Environment New Mexico applauded the new standards.

“Every year, coal-fired power plants dump more than two billion tons of dangerous carbon pollution and other pollutants into the air,” said Dr. Robert Bernstein with Physicians for Social Responsibility of New Mexico. “This new standard announced by the Obama Administration and the EPA will establish the first national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants and move our nation a much-needed step forward toward protecting public health from the harmful effects of climate change. Doctors, nurses, scientists and other health experts say that carbon pollution is particularly dangerous for children because it makes smog pollution worse, which triggers asthma attacks and permanently damages and reduces the function of children’s lungs.”

New Mexicans are showing their support for the new carbon rules, saying the EPA is doing its job under the Clean Air Act – and holding power plants accountable for the amount of pollution they spew into the air. The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board recently repealed two plans that would have required statewide carbon polluters, including major stationary sources like coal-fired power plants and oil and gas refineries, to reduce emissions beginning in 2012 and 2013. The Public Service Co. of New Mexico, (PNM), the largest electric utility in the state, oil and gas associations, and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez lobbied against the common-sense state carbon pollution limits.

“The EPA and Obama Administration stood up to the big polluters like PNM and opposed their efforts to block clean air standards,” said Shrayas Jatkar with the Sierra Club in New Mexico. “Our public leaders would be wise to remember not to put corporate polluters’ profits ahead of our kids’ health and know that New Mexico families want the EPA to protect us from dangerous air pollution from power plants.”

In addition to strictly limiting carbon pollution and protecting public health, many say these new standards will also spark innovation in clean technologies and create green jobs here in America.

“Like the EPA and Obama Administration’s clean car standards that will cut carbon pollution from new vehicles nearly in half by 2025 while at the same time helping rebuild the American auto industry, standards for new and existing power plants will likely spur innovation and create jobs,” said Mark Westbrock of Positive Energy, a New Mexico solar installation company. “The new technologies necessary to make significant reductions in harmful carbon pollution will encourage innovation in the power sector leading to clean technology manufacturing jobs.”

The standards announced today will limit carbon pollution from new power plants. The EPA is also working to develop standards to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, and is expected to issue a draft proposal for existing plants early next year.

New Mexico is home to two of the nation’s oldest and largest coal-fired power plants, the San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant. Both coal plants rank in the Top 50 for carbon pollution, together emitting over 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

“We also applaud Administrator Jackson for continuing to work with scientists, economists and public health officials on a process for addressing carbon pollution from existing power plants. The health and safety of current and future generations depends on us tackling this problem,” said Sanders Moore with Environment New Mexico.

March 28, 2012 at 05:59 PM in Energy, Government, Regulation | |