For Immediate Release, January 27, 2023
Gail Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (505) 463-5293, email@example.com
50 Groups Urge N.M. Governor to End Oil, Gas Extraction by 2034
Advocates Demand Science-Based Targets in Climate Legislation
SANTA FE, N.M.— More than 50 Indigenous, environmental and social justice organizations marked the start of New Mexico’s 2023 legislative session by calling on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to promote strong science-based climate legislation that phases out oil and gas production by 2034.
In their letter to the governor, the local and national groups cite New Mexico’s outsize role in producing carbon emissions as home to one of the largest oilfields in the world, the Permian Basin.
“To be true climate leaders, the governor and legislators have to confront the massive carbon pollution produced by drilling and fracking, especially in the Permian Basin,” said Gail Evans, a New Mexico-based attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Let this be the year New Mexico’s policymakers take action on oil industry emissions, because we’re running out of time. We have a little over a decade to end polluting fossil fuel extraction or face cascading and irreversible harms to people and wildlife in our state.”
New Mexicans are already facing the devastating effects of climate change, such as warmer temperatures, aridification and worsening wildfires, including 2022’s disastrous Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire, by far the largest in the state’s history.
“We’re challenging the state’s proposed climate crisis roadmap to lower emissions at a faster pace because net zero, market-based mechanisms, and energy investments like hydrogen and carbon capture will not be enough,” said Julia Bernal, executive director of Pueblo Action Alliance. “Now is the time to act, make the change, and be accountable to our emission count from extractive industries and make an equitable and just transition.”
In addition to urging a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels, groups also called on the New Mexico legislature to adequately fund state environmental agencies. Chronic underfunding at the New Mexico Environment Department and the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department has led to thousands of unenforced oil and gas industry violations annually. To meet emissions targets, these agencies need the necessary funding and staff to create and enforce rules to protect the public health and the environment.
While New Mexico’s economy remains dangerously entangled with oil and gas, youth in New Mexico have long been calling for an end to new fossil fuel production and a rapid transition to 100% renewables.
“New Mexico has a responsibility to our communities to provide a healthy, livable and sustainable future,” said Seneca Johnson, a campaign organizer with Youth United for Climate Crisis Action. “There’s no feasible way for that to happen with the state’s current reliance on oil and gas. Working to preserve a dying fossil fuel industry won’t save us. The only way forward for our communities is to take swift and bold climate action and invest in a just transition for all New Mexicans.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.