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NM delegation: Get serious on climate change

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich wants to have a serious debate about climate change before the Senate takes up the “Green New Deal” resolution.

The New Mexico Democrat has challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor to have the debate.

Heinrich believes McConnell, R-Ky., wants to put the resolution – sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass – on the floor as a political stunt.

“The Majority Leader would have you believe that solutions to climate change are too costly or too impractical to be taken seriously,” Heinrich said.

The “Green New Deal” seeks to solve the climate crisis by combining quick action to get to net- zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, along with an “Economic Bill of Rights.”

He isn’t the only member of the New Mexico delegation who believes action should be taken on the congressional level.

“There is no more pressing issue facing us than climate change, and New Mexico is right in the bull’s-eye,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

“Climate change is a national crisis – one that requires our immediate and urgent action,” Assistant Speaker of the House Ben Ray Luján said.

Udall said he is currently revamping the Renewable Electricity Standard to strengthen the targets and ensure that all 50 states participate in building renewable power. The goal will be to get the U.S. as close as possible to zero-carbon electricity by mid-century.

Heinrich is also backing incentives to encourage small businesses to use green energy technology, as well as incentives to get government agencies and the public to use electric vehicles.

U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., believes the state’s energy producers need to be brought to the table to help find solutions.

“Climate change poses a threat to our way of life in New Mexico – the years will get hotter and drier, and water will become an even scarcer resource,” Torres Small said.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., has been touting the “Green New Deal” in town hall meetings and urged the New Mexico Legislature to take action.

She, Udall and Heinrich have been supportive of measures on the state level such as the Energy Transition Act, which was passed by both houses of the Legislature in recent weeks and sent to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her signature.

“I’m especially pleased with the work Democrats in the New Mexico Legislature are doing to reach our state’s potential – it’s key to building an economically secure future for New Mexico families,” Haaland said.

UDALL HOPES FOR VETO OVERRIDE: Udall is hoping the House will once again try to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.

Trump vetoed legislation Friday that would have blocked the declaration.

Udall was one of the senators who introduced the bill after it passed the House.

“This does not end with the president’s veto,” Udall said. “I hope that the House will vote to override this veto and that the Senate will as well. But even if too many Republicans are still afraid of this president and his threats of political retaliation – and neglect to rise to their constitutional duties – this is only the beginning.”

Every member of the state congressional delegation voted for the measure in House and Senate votes.

Twelve Republicans voted to block the national emergency in the Senate.

Scott Turner: sturner@abqjournal.com

 

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