Happy Earth Day!
House Democrat Environmental Bills Signed into Law
As we celebrate Earth Day this year, we can be proud of the ongoing work that our Democratic Representatives do to protect one of New Mexico's most important resources, our natural capital. Protecting the environment is an important goal in itself, but smart policy to do this can also create jobs and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.
This year we saw some harmful legislation that would have taken a step backwards for New Mexico, like the House Republican backed HB 445, which would have cut job-creating renewable energy in our state. House Democrats stood firmly against this bill, but with the support of the newly elected Republican majority, this bill passed through the House by one vote. Thankfully, this regressive legislation did not make it through the Senate.
While several good pieces of environmental legislation did not make it past both legislative chambers or the Governor's desk, House Democrats had some great accomplishments in the 2015 Legislative Session:
HB 563 The Rio Grande Trail Commission, sponsored by Representative Jeff Steinborn- This bill establishes a commission that would seek to develop a statewide trail along the Rio Grande River. This trail would bring tourism, generate economic activity, increase access to outdoor activities, and highlight the natural beauty of New Mexico.
HB 263 Geothermal Renewable Energy Credits, sponsored by Representative George Dodge- This bill amends current law to include geothermal energy from and geothermal heat pump systems as eligible for renewable energy certificates, further bolstering a strong renewable energy industry in New Mexico.
HM 45 Watershed Restoration for Cutthroat Trout, sponsored by Representative Matthew McQueen- This memorial helps protect our watershed and the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout by requesting that the State Forestry Division prioritize restoration of watersheds in which Rio Grande cutthroat trout are found or could be established.
HM 102 Abandoned Uranium Mine Reclamation Program, sponsored by Representative Eliseo Alcon- This memorial requests that the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department develops a program to reclaim abandoned uranium mines in New Mexico.