New Mexico activists urge Michelle Lujan Grisham to phase out fossil fuels

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Indigenous and environmental activists protested outside the Roundhouse this week to urge Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration to promptly phase out the use of fossil fuels in New Mexico.

The activists also expressed opposition to what they alleged is the governor’s plan to spend $500 million on wastewater treatment from oil and gas extraction for green hydrogen production, plus brackish water. The governor’s office did not reply to a request for comment.

“Governor Lujan Grisham has no business being at international climate negotiations on behalf of New Mexicans,” Alejandria Lyons, coordinator of the New Mexico No False Solutions Coalition, said. “Our Governor has overseen a massive expansion of oil and gas extraction in New Mexico. Climate pollution from our state’s oil and gas production is a huge contributor to the climate crisis. Instead of touting climate scams like hydrogen in Dubai, Lujan Grisham needs to listen to what her constituents have been saying and start rapidly phasing out fossil fuels.”

Lujan Grisham was the only American governor to attend the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. However, organizations like the Pueblo Action Alliance, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the New Mexico No False Solutions Coalition were also in Dubai to oppose fossil fuels and hydrogen development.

Julia Bernal of Pueblo Action Alliance attended the governor’s panel and approached her to hand-deliver the New Mexico Grassroots Declaration for Climate Justice. She also asked the governor’s office to meet with the coalition but has not heard a response.

“Being here at COP28, the private-public sector is promoting false solutions like Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS), Direct Air Capture (DAC), nuclear energy, and green hydrogen as solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation,” Bernal said. “And now, with the Governor of New Mexico deciding with sheer effrontery and total distrain for Indigenous-led grassroots movements during international climate negotiations with global Indigenous people present is galling.”

Members of the NM 2 End Fossil Fuels and New Mexico No False Solutions Coalition planned to deliver the Declaration to the Office of the Governor at the Roundhouse. They also planned to reiterate their request that Lujan Grisham meet with the Coalition.

“The Coalition has held several actions at the Capitol demanding the Governor pivot towards a full investment in scientifically proven renewables, such as wind and solar, and away from technologies such as hydrogen,” a release said.

New Energy Economy executive director Mariel Nanansi slammed the governor and said she is endangering the lives of the state’s residents.

“Fracking waste disposal is a problem without a solution. While financial pressure is mounting to find opportunities for the conversion of toxic and radioactive fracking waste there is NO scientifically proven beneficial re-use,” she said in the press release. “The Lujan Grisham administration is playing Russian roulette with our lives.”

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.