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Haaland touts renewable energy in Roundhouse speech

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., is applauded by New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, after she spoke to a joint session of the Legislature in Santa Fe on Monday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland called climate change the “issue of our time” Monday as she addressed a joint session of the Legislature.

In a 22-minute speech, she praised Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision to join a coalition of states committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and she slammed President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border. It was her first address to New Mexico lawmakers since winning election to Congress last year.

“From Shiprock to the Organ Mountains, to the South Valley in Albuquerque,” Haaland said, “every inch of land has beauty worth protecting.”

Lujan Grisham – a Democrat, like Haaland – signed an executive order last month that adds New Mexico to a list of 18 other states in the U.S. Climate Alliance. The governor directed her administration to develop statewide regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations, among other measures.

Haaland called on lawmakers to embrace renewable energy as a way to diversify the economy and transition New Mexico away from the “boom and bust” cycle linked to oil production and prices. She said a “Green New Deal” – a nonbinding resolution pending in Congress to shift the economy away from a reliance on fossil fuels – would provide well-paying jobs while protecting the environment.

Haaland also accused Trump of mischaracterizing the situation at the border. Trump last week declared an emergency as part of his effort to fund a border wall.

“Here in New Mexico,” Haaland said, “we know the border is not a scary place.”

Haaland also expressed support for a variety of left-leaning policy proposals under consideration by New Mexico legislators this session – including the legalization of recreational marijuana use and expanding prekindergarten services.

She also spoke in favor of legislation that would establish a state task force to help investigate missing and slain indigenous women.

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