State favors big donors over public input in Clean Power Plan process
Commentary: Earlier this fall, Martinez’ appointed Environment Secretary, Ryan Flynn, announced he was leaving the State to take a position as the lead lobbyist for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association -- an industry he was charged with regulating and holding accountable. Flynn’s Department was also charged with leading the State’s Implementation Plan process to comply with the Clean Power Plan, and even in the aftermath of the supreme court stay Flynn vocalized the Department’s commitment, stating: “the New Mexico Environment Department remains committed to taking meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gases by a projected 5.7 million tons by the end of 2017.”
However, the Martinez Administration’s actions tell a different story. New Mexico Environment Department held a series of public meetings in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Gallup, and Roswell and Las Vegas. When asked to review documentation or notes of what was discussed at the meetings, a spokesperson from the New Mexico Environment Department stated that “no notes were taken from any of the public meetings.”
At the same time, NMED held a private meeting with stakeholders that included PNM, Excel Energy and Tri-State. Notes captured from this meeting, and published by E&E Publishing, stated that NMED preferred to have “informal meetings and conversations” over a more public working group to develop policies like the State Implementation Plan.
The State’s Campaign Finance Information System showed that the same representatives that were provided a private meeting with NMED also gave over $385,000 to Martinez’ legislative majority, and over $35,000 directly to Governor Susana’s Campaign and PAC.
Demis Foster, Executive Director of Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) and CVNM Education Fund released the following statement:
“It is imperative that policies like the State Implementation Plan include all voices, emphasizing those from the families and communities likely to be most impacted by those decisions. Unfortunately, Gov. Martinez’ actions have repeatedly shown that her administration provides access and space for the special interest groups that support her campaigns financially, while cutting the public out of the process.”
In November, Juntos: Our Air, Our Water, a program of CVNM Education Fund, submitted more than 2,400 petition signatures, calling on the Governor to provide space for communities most impacted by carbon pollution to have a critical role in shaping the State’s Implementation Plan to help our state transition to clean, renewable energy. Investments in renewable energy are investments in healthy families, and yet the Martinez administration continues to invest in dirty energy, despite its impact on New Mexicans’ air, land, water and health.
Martha Favela, Leader of Juntos’ “Mother Promotoras” program said, “Our families are passionate about clean air and water for our children today and tomorrow. It is time for the governor to stop looking after the interests of big corporations that continue to pollute our environment at the expense of our families’ health. Susana Martinez has to listen to our needs and make sure to create a cleaner, healthier NM.”
Despite early pledges oftransparency from Gov. Susana Martinez, officials within her administration—including former New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn—won’t directly address climate change and didn’t bother to take notes at public meetings on this critical issue.
Research done in partnership with ProgressNow NM Education Fund.
CVNM and CVNM Education Fund’s vision is for a New Mexico where decision-makers and public policies represent the conservation values of our people.
 E&E Publishing: http://www.eenews.net/assets/2015/12/21/document_cw_02.pdf