The health of our communities depends not just on the health of its residents, but on the health and stewardship of its air, water, and land. As organizations dedicated to protecting the health of New Mexico’s children and families, we appreciate Governor Lujan Grisham’s focus on public health as a guiding principle in her administration’s approach to a range of issues. However, the work is far from done.
Incremental improvements show us both that progress is possible and also that creating the nurturing environments our kids deserve and need to thrive will require bold and sustained actions and investments.
Part of the social contract for companies operating in New Mexico is the straightforward notion that they should clean up after themselves. That’s especially true for industries like oil and natural gas whose messes contain deadly pollutants.
How combining a just economic transition and strong climate action equals a safer, healthier and more equitable New Mexico
New Mexicans are already experiencing severe impacts of climate change – harming our health, air, land, water, and economy. The Climate Solutions Act (HB 9) would establish nation-leading carbon pollution reduction targets to benefit current and future generations while ensuring that all New Mexicans will benefit from the jobs and economic growth provided in a clean energy future.
While the extraction of oil and natural gas in New Mexico is mostly done on public lands, the state has less authority over the process than you might think. And while the industry puts a lot of money into our public schools, it could put a lot more money in if the state made the rules. Unfortunately, because much of the public land where drilling takes place here is actually federal land, we must rely on the federal government to set the rules.
Tuesday’s meeting of the Revenue Stabilization & Tax Policy Committee included a sobering reminder of the urgent need to find more stable revenue, but it also provided cause for hope – by reforming an unstable, inequitable tax structure, New Mexico can better serve the state’s children and future.
Since it was implemented in 2010, the ACA has faced strong opposition from Republicans. Although attempts to repeal the ACA have been unsuccessful, the Trump Administration has been highly effective at weakening the ACA by undermining its provisions. This includes making it more difficult to enroll in coverage by adding more administrative hurdles for eligibility and cutting the budget for outreach and enrollment.
Pre-pandemic New Mexico saw a boom in oil and gas extraction, which was mirrored by an increase in state revenue. And while many state leaders opined that this boom was going to last indefinitely, the reality for the industry was far more grim. “In short,” the report states, “while New Mexico posted record oil and gas revenues, the oil and gas industry itself was reporting steep losses.”
The Affordable Care Act not only allowed millions of Americans to receive health insurance, it also improved public health and helped close the health disparity gap for people of color. Part 1 in this 2-part blog series looks at how the ACA benefitted New Mexicans.
The fact is the entire federal leasing system is dramatically outdated and in need of wholesale reform. Look no further than BLM’s New Mexico sale in August to see why someone with no experience in oil and gas development – was able to snatch up a third of the leases offered for next to nothing.