SANTA FE, N.M. – President Donald Trump announced yesterday that the U.S. will be leaving the international treaty known as the Paris Climate Agreement, and New Mexico conservation groups say they’re now more concerned than ever about the environment.
The effects of pulling out of the Paris Agreement add insult to injury says Liliana Castillo, communications director at Conservation Voters of New Mexico. She says people here reside on the front lines of climate change, affecting their health and livelihood – and she points out that state leadership has more in common with the President than with New Mexicans on this issue.
“Some of our decision-makers have chosen to stifle the clean-energy economy here in New Mexico, so there is definitely some anti-renewable sentiment,” she says. “That impacts low-income, rural, indigenous and Latino communities.”
One example is Gov. Susana Martinez’s veto of a solar energy tax credit in 2014 that Castillo says would be showing positive returns to families by now.
The state is known for having some of the worst water- and air-pollution issues, including a methane cloud the size of Delaware that hangs over the Four Corners region.
Han Chen with the Natural Resources Defense Council, predicts leaving the Paris Agreement will hamper business in addition to other global relationships.
“Leaving Paris is going to put our companies at a disadvantage, but it’s also going to generate a lot backlash from other countries,” she says. “And the U.S., along with Syria and Nicaragua, not to support the Paris Agreement alienates us from the rest of the world.”
In his announcement, President Trump called the Paris Agreement “unfair to American business” and suggested he can negotiate a better deal for the nation. His new EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, praised the decision from the podium as well, calling the move “courageous.”