Protect New Mexico’s Waters
New Mexico is rich in valuable waterways that support multi-generational acequias, wetlands, lakes, and reservoirs critical for agriculture, wildlife habitat, drinking water supplies, and our growing outdoor recreation economy. The 2023 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. EPA severely limits the waters protected under the federal Clean Water Act, and the state does not now have programs in place to fill the gaps to protect our surface waters and wetlands.
The 2023 Supreme Court ruling, combined with previous reductions of protections at the federal level in 2001 and 2006, negatively impacts New Mexico more than any state in the nation, resulting in only 4% of New Mexico’s streams that are clearly subject to protection under the Clean Water Act. In addition, the Sackett decision eliminates protection under the federal act for most of New Mexico’s wetlands, waters that serve vital ecological functions. New Mexico is one of only three states that does not have a state point source program to control the discharge of contaminants into state waters, previously managed federally under the Clean Water Act.
I urge you to work with Governor Lujan Grisham’s administration and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to create a comprehensive vision for New Mexico’s water quality and future that protects both our streams and wetlands. As part of this effort, I support NMED’s efforts to establish a state-led surface water quality permitting program and appreciate the legislature’s previous investments toward this effort.
In the 2024 legislative session, I urge you to fund the following short-term projects at NMED from the state’s record-high general fund surplus:
In addition, I urge you to:
Thank you for your continued leadership to ensure that New Mexico’s clean water is protected for our communities, our culture, our economy, and our environment for generations to come.