As this legislative session proceeds there is one theme we are witnessing across multiple bills - a desperate attempt to sell New Mexico land, water and resources to the highest bidder. With HB9 sponsors seek to put in place and fund a "Climate, Energy and Water Division" at the Economic Development Department to fast track industrial pilot projects without oversight from EMNRD and NMED. With HB259 sponsors seek to grab 2% of the Permanent fund to finance these projects. With SB215 sponsors seek to push through a radical and dangerous Carbon Capture and Sequestration permitting structure that inexplicably allows private industry to foist all liability for potential seismic and water contamination failures onto the state. With the Governor's proposed Strategic Water Supply the administration plans to subsidize the creation of a market for the oil and gas industry's toxic waste with public money.
In all of these bills the theme is clear - New Mexico will pay you to come and exploit our land and water, regardless of the cost to its residents and ecosystems.
And yes, each one of these destructive bills is disguised as a climate bill (Orwellian?) Having learned that New Mexico residents don't want anything to do with fossil fueled hydrogen or Class VI injection wells, these bills instead refer to "advanced climate technologies" without any definition. There is no language in the bills to ensure that technologies are proven and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or language to verify that projects are in compliance with Environmental Justice principles. Instead the bills emphasize the need to streamline permitting and fast track pilot projects - code for eliminating pesky regulatory oversight and public input.
Today we are asking you to take action to tell New Mexico legislators and the Governor that New Mexico is not for sale. We value our land and water. We value regulatory and democratic oversight of industry. We value our public funds and believe that they should be used to safeguard our people and land, not to entice industrial exploitation in the name of false climate solutions. Please take ten minutes of your day today to do each of the following:
MAKE ONE CALL AND SEND ONE EMAIL ABOUT HB9
Pick at least one of the legislators below and call them to share why you oppose HB9, which will be heard in the House Commerce committee, tomorrow, Saturday at 9:00AM. Then click the button below to send an email to all the committee members. Here are some reasons why HB 9 is so alarming:
HB9 creates a "Climate, Energy and Water Division" at the Economic Development Department when we already have a climate division at NMED. It is unclear how this new division would work with other departments and jurisdictions, how pilot projects would be selected and how EIB, OCD and NMED would be involved to protect the people and the environment.
HB9 creates a fund to provide grants for "clean energy, water and energy conservation technologies" but fails to define what qualifies as "clean energy" or to require that said technologies are proven and that projects comply with Environmental Justice principles to protect vulnerable people and land. This fund is the likely vehicle for investment in fossil fueled hydrogen, carbon capture, and the Governor's Strategic Water Supply.
HB9 calls for the streamlining of permitting for climate, energy and water projects, a dangerous proposition that implies minimization of regulatory oversight and public input and seems questionable when we already face problems enforcing environmental oversight of existing industries in New Mexico.
Rep. Doreen Gallegos - Chair (D) - 505-986-4329,Rep. Linda Serrato - Vice Chair (D) - 505-986-4243,Rep. Janelle Anyanonu - (D) - 505-986-4464,Rep. Derrick Lente - (D) - 505-986-4420,Rep. Charlotte Little - (D) - 505-986-4254,Rep. Patricia Lundstrom - (D) - 505-986-4249,Rep. Marian Matthews - (D) - 505-986-4438
MAKE ONE CALL AND SEND ONE EMAIL ABOUT SB215
Pick at least one of the legislators below and call them to share why you oppose SB215, which will be heard in the Senate Conservation Committee on Tuesday at 9:00am. Then click the button below to send an email to all the committee members. Here are some reasons why SB215 is so alarming:
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is not an effective climate solution. It is primarily being pushed as an excuse to continue burning fossil fuels while clinging to the faint hope that CCS will save us. But that is not technically feasible and it's just a delay tactic.
CCS is dangerous to groundwater, can cause increased seismicity and there is no real science confirming that it will stay sequestered underground as planned. New Mexico should not be used as a dumping ground for fossil fuel waste more than it already is.
SB215 assigns ownership of underground pore space where the carbon will be sequestered to the property owner above ground, limiting oversight to OCD and thereby eliminating the right of neighbors and other members of the public who might be impacted by earthquakes or groundwater contamination from protest or input.
Outrageously SB215 also removes all liability from the companies involved, assigning it to the State. We are left holding the bag for any failures or accidents.
Sen. Liz Stefanics - Chair (D) - 505-986-4377Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez - Vice Chair (D) - 505-986-4389Sen. Joseph Cervantes - (D) - 505-986-4861Sen. Carrie Hamblen - (D) - 505-986-4266Sen. Harold Pope - (D) - 505-986-4365Sen. Bill Soules - (D) - 505-986-4834
MAKE ONE CALL AND SEND ONE EMAIL ABOUT THE GOVERNOR'S STRATEGIC WATER SUPPLY
The Strategic Water Supply request from the Governor and the New Mexico Environment Department asks for $500 million over two years ($250m in 2024 and $250m in 2025) via state issued severance tax bonds. The proceeds will be deposited in a Strategic Water Supply Fund which will offer “advance market commitments” to incentivize private companies to build treatment plants for brackish and produced water (aka fracking waste) and sell it to companies seeking to do business in New Mexico.
Why is it being proposed? The Governor is seeking to attract water intensive industries to our arid state at a time when we are facing the potential of a 25% decrease in our rivers and aquifers. She is also proposing to use public funds to subsidize the oil and gas industry and help them try to solve their costly and enormous waste disposal problem.
The proposed “Strategic Water Supply” plan endangers land, water and human health. The Governor’s recently published water plan states that treated water will be used for zero-discharge industrial processes and eventually to recharge fresh-water aquifers and otherwise augment the supply of freshwater for communities, farms, aquatic ecosystems, and interstate compact compliance. But
There is no such thing as zero-discharge. Any brackish water or produced water treatment process will result in a highly concentrated toxic and radioactive brine that will require disposal. When you start with brackish water and fracking waste, that brine discharge is essentially a radioactive, hazardous waste. There is no answer for what to do with this waste.
Toxins and Radiation in fracking fluids can accumulate in soil, plants, livestock and the human body. Chemicals involved in fracking include known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors and have been proven to increase birth defects. Even if reduced to extremely low concentrations, these chemicals can accumulate in soil, plants, and livestock over time. Research has shown that produced water can lower crop yields; suppress plant disease defenses; inhibit seed vigor and germination; reduce microbial diversity; and harm fish, amphibians and mollusks.
Radiation in both deep brackish and produced water cannot be effectively treated. Even if all of these toxins in produced water can be removed, the radioactivity present in both deep brackish water and produced water cannot be fully treated, endangering the workers handling the waste and any ecosystem or living organism exposed to it.
New Mexico’s deep brackish waters are hydrologically connected to the water we depend on. Pumping this saline water risks contamination of shallow potable water and impacts to streamflows.
This is not the most effective use of $500 million to deal with our urgent water crisis. The State of New Mexico is failing to fund and do the crucial water management work identified by a consensus of the 2022 Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force. Water Agencies requests for staff and resources continually fall on deaf ears, and without them the Agencies cannot implement 21st century water management that is essential to avoid New Mexico’s collapse. Without those resources they cannot implement the 2019 Water Data Act or organize the Regional Water Planning Entities authorized by the 2023 Water Security Planning Act. These important priorities must be fully funded and staffed before we spend money on a speculative and dangerous plan that endangers our soil, water and health and commodifies our most precious resource. (Download the one pager here.)
Call one of the following House and Senate Finance Committee leaders and register your opposition to funding for the Governor's Strategic Water Supply proposal.
Rep. Nathan Small, House Finance Chair - (575) 496-9540Sen. George Muñoz, Senate Finance Chair - 505-986-4371
Finally, if you feel strongly about any of these issues we encourage you to draft one paragraph about why and send it to your local newspaper. Letters to the Editor are powerful because they help shape the narrative about how the public feels and most legislators pay close attention to their public reputation. These letters do not have to be long or particularly eloquent, they just need to convey your thoughts clearly. Click here for links to submit your letter to newspapers around the state.
The legislative session moves incredibly quickly, making it very difficult for advocacy organizations and the public to engage. We must keep raising our voices regardless!