This is so beyond unacceptable. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) busted Volkswagen for cheating on diesel emissions standards, my community and I were relieved to see that our state would receive funds to fight diesel pollution. But Governor Susana Martinez’s Environment Department (NMED) just released its plan for New Mexico’s portion of the money, and it fails to protect our air and our children. NM’s Volkswagen draft settlement plan is shaped to give preference to companies that make what is misleadingly called “clean diesel” vehicles. When it comes to diesel, it produces emissions, regardless of the updates to the bus models and advanced technology. There’s no such thing as “clean diesel.”

Stand up to Gov. Martinez’s green washing and ensure that NM’s nearly $18 million in Volkswagen settlement funds are used to meaningfully address diesel pollution in the communities most affected by dirty air. Submit your public comment now.»

Already, one in 11 New Mexican children suffer from asthma. Community leaders here in Albuquerque want their children’s health protected, and that’s why we support zero-emissions electric school buses across the state. The Volkswagen settlement is earmarked for reducing diesel emission, with a specific focus on the communities most negatively affected, and Gov. Martinez’ proposal doesn’t meaningfully improve the air our children breath. It’s classic green washing.

And we know who’s behind it. Oil and gas corporations don’t want more vehicles to move to electric because that cuts into their profits. We use less gas, they make less money. Never mind that diesel fumes hurt our children as they spend hours on the school bus each week. Gov. Martinez has sided with industry over what’s best for me and you her entire time in office. This is a blatant example of this administration’s corrupt industry ties having dangerous consequences for our children.

It’s not surprising that a process like this led by Gov. Martinez would end up favoring industry, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. We must raise our voices together and ensure NMED’s Volkswagen settlement proposal protects our air and our children. Submit your public comment here.»

Looking for more information? Read our report breaking down the issue.

Estefany González
Juntos Program Coordinator