Preparing for the fight in the 2015 legislative session

In just a few weeks, the doors at the State Capitol will open and the next legislative session will begin. This year, we’re facing a 60-day session, which means that there are no restrictions on the types of policies that can be introduced by the legislature. This also means that the environmental community has to be prepared for anything and everything.

The Environmental Alliance of New Mexico (EANM) serves to do just that. EANM is a working collaborative of 27 conservation organizations that work to protect the air we breathe and water we drink during each session. Every year, EANM convenes regularly to plan for the session by attending interim committee hearings to learn the latest on policies as they evolve, and build relationships with decision-makers. We also use the interim to organize skills building trainings to grow as advocates. But the keystone of the work we do is in our common agenda: each year, the community identifies critical issues to address through legislative policy. EANM then votes on which policies the community will stand behind in a unified way, creating our common agenda.

The 2015 common agenda includes:

  • A measure to extend tax credits for solar energy;
  • A measure to extend and expand a tax credit for renewable energy production; and
  • Funding a non-diversion alternative for the Gila River.

In addition to these policies, the coalition is also committed to halting any attempts to weaken existing laws that protect the health of our communities and natural resources. In past sessions, we have defeated attempts by polluters to weaken our renewable energy laws, clean water policies, and even undermine the Endangered Species Act. We expect that all of these, and more, will likely be on the table this year.

We know it’s not always easy to follow what happens at the Legislative session. That’s why Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund has Protect New Mexico, an issue clearing-house website that will track all conservation-related policies this session each day. So, if you haven’t used it yet, be sure to log-in this January and get the scoop on what’s happening at the Roundhouse. Visit the website at: www.ProtectNewMexico.org.