Like so many New Mexicans, I grew up in Albuquerque marking the arrival of fall by the smell of green chile, Balloon Fiesta, changing cottonwoods in the bosque, and the end of irrigation season. This year, the end of irrigation season came early as our state has been gripped by a severe drought, the Rio Grande has reached its lowest levels in years, our beloved mountains have seen little snowpack, and our state has experienced it highest number of disaster declarations in history due to wildfires and flooding.
Climate change is here. We are already experiencing its impacts, which is why we need bold action to address climate change. Right now, we are working in Congress to pass both a Build Back Better Act and an Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which together represent one of the most significant investments in the well-being of our communities since the New Deal. I, along with many of my colleagues, am fighting to make sure that climate action is front and center in these bills.
The science is clear. The United States must take meaningful action now to reduce our carbon emissions and avoid crossing a major tipping point. That means we must invest in clean energy, reducing our carbon footprint, and supporting our communities in building a more resilient and sustainable future.
As New Mexicans, we are no strangers to drought. Our communities have lived and thrived in this landscape for countless generations. Our Indigenous communities and land grant and acequia communities have survived through many challenging times. Our farmers and ranchers are resilient. Our communities carry deep knowledge about these lands and waters. And yet, we are seeing changes in our systems at speeds and scales we have never seen and our communities are struggling to bring water to their fields and homes.
Recent studies indicate that New Mexico could face growing climate challenges with the loss of over 70% of our snowpack in the coming decades. This snowpack is the foundation on which our water systems are built, from the acequias that bring water to our fields to the infrastructure we depend on for urban water supplies. That is why I am fighting for transformative investments in climate and drought resilience in both of these legislative packages, including long-overdue investments in tribal and pueblo water infrastructure.
To support our communities in building a more resilient future, I am also fighting to maintain a budget which mandates that 40% of our investments in climate be directed to front-line communities impacted by climate change. And, I am also a proud co-sponsor of legislation that would establish a Civilian Climate Corps to create good-paying jobs while building resilient infrastructure. This is a program that would draw on our roots from the New Deal to help get New Mexicans back to work while serving our communities.
New Mexicans are ready to meet this moment, and communities across the country are demanding climate action. It’s time for the federal government to step up and deliver on these investments, because the future of our planet and of our communities depends on it.
I am working every day and holding the line with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure we pass the Build Back Better Act alongside an infrastructure package that centers our communities and delivers on climate action. I am calling on those who are still hesitating to do the same. This is not an either-or situation. We must pass both bills and deliver for our communities and our future.