New Mexico’s Third Congressional District is known for its beautiful landscapes and natural resources. It is important that we work together to protect the natural, cultural and historical resources that are integral to the identity ofthe Land of Enchantment. Land and water are a critical part of the district, and Rep. Luján is working to protect the culture and traditions associated with our resources while ensuring that New Mexico’s beauty is also protected. From our national forests and wilderness areas to our acequias and land grants, these are common values we all share.
Permanently Re-Authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Rep. Luján strongly supports permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides necessary resources for outdoor recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. This program sets aside a small portion of royalties from oil sales to fund conservation projects which protect federal lands and create state and local parks. Such projects include the Santa Fe National Forest, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and the Bandelier National Monument. Rep. Lujan proudly supports such investments, which has been a successful program here at home as New Mexico has received $312 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades which enables an outdoor industry that attracts $9.9 billion in consumer spending supporting 99,000 jobs in our state.
“For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect New Mexico’s precious land and water resources that are a part of our heritage and culture. As one of our most successful conservation and recreation programs, LWCF has also strengthened our economy and helped create jobs in our communities by supporting public access to outdoor recreation that attracts visitors from near and far to the Land of Enchantment.”
Gold King Mine Spill
In response to the Gold King Mine spill, Rep. Luján traveled to Farmington to participate in the first of a series of community meetings on the spill. When the plume of contaminates reached Farmington and turned the Animas River yellow, he was there to hear from the community members about how this spill would devastate the farming and livestock along the river. Additionally, he met with then EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in Farmington and Durango to make it clear that he will hold EPA accountable to ensure that it fulfills its responsibility to make state, tribal, and local governments as well as businesses, farmers, and individuals whole. Rep. Luján has pushed for compensation for losses incurred as a result the Gold King Mine spill and robust long-term monitoring of the Animas River and championed efforts to address the nation’s backlog of abandoned mines.
“As a native New Mexican who is proud to call the Land of Enchantment home, it is so painful to see what has happened to the Animas River – to see the toll that it has taken on our communities when more than a week after the spill people still cannot use their wells and farmers still cannot irrigate their crops. People’s lives and their livelihoods are being harmed. While there is a short-term responsibility to restore the health of the river, we must not forget that it is also important to look at nearby mines to make sure that steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again in the future. At the federal level we need to work with our communities to address the mines that need to be cleaned up, including designating sites as superfund to make resources available for proper cleanup”
Supporting New Mexico’s Acequias
Rep. Luján worked to secure passage of provision in the 2014 Farm Bill that will help farmers and ranchers care for the acequias that are essential to their livelihood. By enabling Acequia and Community Ditch Associations to finally compete for federal grants, they will have an opportunity to receive funds that will help maintain the health of their acequias.
House Cleanup Caucus Co-Chair
As a Co-Chairman of the House Cleanup Caucus, Rep. Lujan works to promote awareness of our nuclear legacy and build a stronger coalition to fight for the needs of our nuclear cleanup missions.
“The Nuclear Security Complex has a number of legacies that are deeply rooted in its regional communities. First amongst these is the legacy of service by members of the local community in support of the national defense. However, there is also the legacy of nuclear waste, which continues to threaten the current and future health and environment of these communities that have given so much to our nation. Moving forward we need to honor the legacy of service by fulfilling our obligation to clean up this legacy of waste in a safe, effective, and efficient manner.”
Promoting Renewable Energy
New Mexico has a deep connection to the land and water that sustain our livelihoods, our culture, and our traditions. We know that being good stewards of the land is necessary to strengthen our economy, improve our health, and protect our precious resources. Rep. Lujan recognizes that the growing impact of climate change has already been felt in New Mexico communities, which have experienced extreme wildfires, unpredictable weather patterns, and severe drought conditions. That is why he has co-lead legislation requiring electric utilities, by 2030, to obtain at least 30 percent of their electricity supply from renewable sources, achieve a 20 percent reduction in electricity use, and reduce natural gas use by 13 percent.
“It’s clear that we have to take bold action. Waiting to act means destroyed habitats, drought, storms and land unsuitable to support a vibrant region of the country. But we don’t have to wait because now is the time. In my home state, like others across our nation, we are hard at work to fight climate change. Our students are learning skills for green jobs. Our schools are already teaching a robust curriculum that includes renewable energy. In schools in my district, college students are learning how to make solar panels and generate power from wind turbines.”
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