Rio Arriba County community-led organizing updates

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to elevate the voices of families impacted by oil and gas issues in Rio Arriba County – especially in support of the federal methane rules. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Delivering Over 700 Thank You’s
In March, CVNMEF delivered over 700 thank you’s to Attorney General Hector Balderas for intervening in industry law suits aimed at gutting the Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Land Management’s methane rules. Balderas is one of a handful of attorneys general across the country that have stepped up to defend the rules and keep them in place. Community member Joshajandy
Hernandez joined us in delivering the thank you’s, which was her first time participating in a petition delivery. Here’s what Josha had to say about why she’s working to protect the methane rules:

CVNMEF contracted organizer Valerie Romero, left, and community leader Joshajandy Hernandez delivered hundreds of petitions thanking Attorney General Balderas for defending the BLM methane rule in court. Photo by Molly Sanders/CVNMEF

“Reducing methane pollution is important because I worry about my family and community as a whole, and the planet where I live. This is my home, and it will be for as long as I live. As a community, we often need the help of a higher authority to make sure that our voice is heard. It’s important for our decision-makers to care about what the community wants.”

Developing Community Leaders & Advocates
This spring, our Rio Arriba organizing program hosted its first leadership workshop series in Española. The series, titled, “Stop Fracking Around” was held at Los Luceros (a historic ranch and cultural site) and taught community members about environmental justice, local oil and gas impacts, and advocacy. It also featured presentations from local artists and community activists to talk about how their work helps to shape and build community in the county. Five community members participated in the series, and are now working together to design a community forum focused on the impacts of oil and gas. The forum is expected to be held over the summer.

Bringing Community Together in Support of Renewable Energy
Beginning in January, CVNMEF facilitated a community-led planning committee to organize Rio Arriba County’s first-ever Renewable Energy Festival. The festival is part of a larger community-led effort to work with the county to diversify its energy sources by investing in renewable energy. The Festival was held over Earth Day weekend, and attracted 600 visitors over two days. Members of the planning committee included Jemez Electric Co-op, Northern New Mexico College, Española Moving Arts Center, Rio Arriba County, the City of Española, and a number of community volunteers. In addition to educational workshops about renewable energy and weatherization, the event featured performances from local bands, artists, and dancers.