For Immediate Release
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
November 9th 2011
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New Mexicans Urge Governor to “Hear the Music” and Stop Polluting
Young Activists Deliver Singing Telegram
SANTA FE, NM— Frustrated with Governor Martinez’s “deaf ear” to public health concerns, environmental impacts and the lack of jobs in the solar industry, almost twenty young people delivered a singing telegram to the Governor at her office today. Dressed as suns and in solar sandwich boards, the activists sang a modified version of “You Are My Sunshine” and invited the Governor to a lecture by renowned activist and author Bill McKibben at the Lensic Theater at 7pm on Wednesday, November 9th.
Once in the Governor’s office, students sang their solar-gram and delivered a large card signed by attendees and homemade sun cookies to Henry Varela the Director of Constituent Services, on behalf of Governor Martinez. After leaving the Roundhouse, the group walked over to the PERA building where they sang the solar-gram in front of the Environment Improvement Board.
“Across America, jobs in the solar industry are growing at tens times the rate of the economy as a whole,” said Lilia Diaz, Outreach Coordinator for New Energy Economy. “Young people in New Mexico need and want clean energy jobs, but Governor Martinez still has no plan to create these jobs despite the fact that our state has the second highest solar energy potential in the nation.”
New Mexico has a 20% renewable energy standard, and Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is not on target to meeting this mandate. Reports show a combination of rooftop solar and wind energy could supply New Mexico’s power needs by more than seventy-fold. While utilities in Colorado and other states are retiring coal-fired power plants, opting against investing millions in the face of mounting environmental liability, and investing instead in renewable energy, New Mexicans are wondering why their state is lagging behind.
Spurred by reports which attribute 33 deaths a year to San Juan coal, as well as 600 asthma attacks, 31 asthma-related emergency room visits, and other health impacts, citizens are concerned the adverse health costs – estimated at more than $250 million dollars a year, will only persist as PNM continues to fight federal Clean Air Act regulations.
Commissioned in 1973, PNM’s San Juan Generating Station is one of America’s largest single sources of harmful air pollutants including nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Each year, this inefficient, outdated facility also emits more than 8.5 million tons of carbon pollution and consumes more than 9.3 billion gallons of clean water.
Singing Telegram Lyrics
(to the tune of You Are My Sunshine)
Please use our sunshine, not dirty coal mines
Keep our skies clear, and water clean
It’ll save us millions in healthcare each year
It will boost our economy
Oh Ms. Martinez, we need solutions
Climate change is out of control
We pay for power, not coal pollution
Please don’t make our children pay the toll
New Mexico boasts some of the finest
Solar potential in the world
Why not start using this friendly resource
Sustain the earth for every boy and girl
Oh Ms. Martinez, please open your eyes
To PNM’s monopoly
Stop putting profits over people
Invest in solar energy!