Advocates aiming to incorporate the “Green Amendment” into the New Mexico Constitution are gearing up for another attempt in the upcoming legislative session, with the goal of placing it on the November 2024 ballot. This marks the fourth endeavor, as the previous three attempts failed to progress beyond the legislative floor.
Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Bernalillo) is spearheading the effort once again, emphasizing the significance of the “right” to a clean environment for New Mexicans. Addressing the Water and Natural Resources Committee last week, she drew parallels between environmental rights and fundamental freedoms like speech and religion.
Sedillo Lopez claimed, “By placing the environmental rights in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, we are ensuring that they are given the same legal and constitutional standing as other inalienable rights of fundamental importance to all New Mexicans. We recognize the importance of protecting our speech rights, our religious freedoms, and our civil rights, and it is just as important to protect the rights of our people to clean water and air, a healthy climate, and the environment.”
The proposed amendment outlines that the people of New Mexico should have entitlement to clean and healthy air, water, soil, and environments, including a stable climate and self-sustaining ecosystems, all for the benefit of public health, safety, and general welfare. Furthermore, it emphasizes the state’s responsibility to protect these rights equitably, irrespective of factors such as race, ethnicity, tribal membership status, gender, socio-economic status, or geography.
The vague language in the proposed amendment would mean agencies such as the State Land Office, run by rabidly anti-energy Secretary Stephanie Garcia Richard, would have 100% dominion over state land and water rights. Also, the conflicting science put forth by many left-wing conspiracy theorists regarding “climate change” could dictate what the constitutional amendment’s definition of “a stable climate” is.
Now that the thrice failed legislation is once again being resurrected, it is unlikely the fringe legislation will get far in a 30-day 2024 session, with opposition from all Republicans and likely some Democrats. Still, New Mexicans must remain alert about the horrific impacts the legislation could have if rammed through.