NM needs Congress to pass climate fixes - Albuquerque Journal

NM needs Congress to pass climate fixes

Right now, Congress has a critical chance to fix the broken and outdated oil and gas leasing system that allows this country’s resources to be relentlessly depleted at a catastrophic cost to the climate, public health, and the rights of Indigenous and local communities.

We must face the truth head on. The federal oil and gas leasing program is rife with wasteful speculative leasing practices and loopholes that allow companies responsible for toxic water spills to evade any penalties and shift the cleanup costs to taxpayers. The current system allows these companies to nominate lands they want to drill, purchase leases at obscenely low rates, and deprive local governments of much-needed revenue by paying outdated, low royalty rates to taxpayers. In New Mexico alone, almost 4.3 million acres are currently leased for potential development. Beyond the exploitation of resources themselves, the Indigenous communities that have witnessed their sacred land being destroyed deserve recompense.

Since I was elected to the Las Cruces City Council in 2009, we have passed our own Climate Action Plan, which calls for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and 100% by the 2040s, which includes converting to an all-electric transportation system and phasing out natural gas use in the city. But local resources can only do so much or go so far. We need a federal commitment to provide the necessary support to make sweeping changes throughout the state, community by community, in a way that doesn’t abandon oil and gas workers, and economies.

In April, President Biden pledged to help mitigate the climate consequences of the previous administration by cutting greenhouse gases in half by 2030, nine short years from now. That means effective climate policy would have to go into effect this decade – at last – but the federal oil and gas leasing program still must be overhauled to address the climate crisis, fairly compensate taxpayers and local landowners, and support communities in the transition away from fossil fuels.

Local elected leaders have a responsibility to take and support critical and logical actions to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change by reducing our communities’ carbon footprint, and I’m proud of the efforts already underway in New Mexico. But these measures, and cities across the state, would hugely benefit from climate infrastructure in the reconciliation bill. Bipartisan solutions to reform this system are ready and available. As Congress debates the reconciliation package, members must do everything in their power to ensure loopholes are closed, waste is eliminated and protections for the people – not Big Oil – are codified in the final text.

The record droughts and dangerous wildfires we’ve seen in recent years make it impossible to misunderstand: The time for us to act on climate is now.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
To fix NM child welfare: listen to the gut, ...
From the newspaper
It's easy to fix a failing ... It's easy to fix a failing child welfare system like the one in New Mexico: just listen to you ...
2
Editorial: Warming station a way station to a better ...
Editorials
Something divine is going on in ... Something divine is going on in Albuquerque's International District.
3
NM must open pathways to graduation
From the newspaper
I was an unmarried teenage mother. ... I was an unmarried teenage mother. Today - hard as it is for me to believe - I'm New ...
4
Public charter schools need equal facilities funding
From the newspaper
With less than a third of ... With less than a third of what traditional campuses get, it's no wonder successful charters have long wait lists
5
Educators in NM rally amid growing teacher shortage
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed pay increases in an effort to attract educators to the state
6
NYC mourns, honors officer killed Friday night
From the newspaper
Rookie was the fourth NYPD officer ... Rookie was the fourth NYPD officer shot in as many days
7
Taxpayers face overloaded IRS as filing season opens
From the newspaper
Expected delays due to stalled legislation ... Expected delays due to stalled legislation and worker shortage
8
Taliban talks spark debate about group's recognition
AP Feeds
Talks reignite the debate over whether ... Talks reignite the debate over whether they legitimize the Taliban government
9
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...