Target: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
Goal: Prevent the elimination of water protections within New Mexico
As with many states in the US Southwest, water is a precious commodity that is growing ever more scarce in New Mexico. Because of this drought-induced scarcity the water that remains must be protected with the utmost care. Sadly, this has not been the case since New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was inaugurated two years ago.
Upon taking office the governor has embarked upon an aggressive plan to eliminate protection for the water supply as well as New Mexico’s environment as a whole. The benefactors of the governor’s plan have primarily been mining companies. Those that seek to extract oil and natural gas from the state are finding that environmental roadblocks, put in place to limit the damage they can cause to New Mexico’s ecology, are being progressively whisked away. This can lead to critical environmental harm that will not only wreck the state’s natural beauty, but also threaten the health of its residents.
Residents of New Mexico are extremely reliant upon groundwater, an estimated ninety percent of the population uses this source for drinking water. Unfortunately, groundwater is also highly vulnerable to industrial pollution. Chemicals and other by-products of mining and extraction processes are able to seep into the water table where they cannot be accessed to be cleaned or treated. The terrible result of this could be a massive portion of the population finding themselves without access to safe drinking water. The health and safety of New Mexico’s population is reliant upon the state’s groundwater supply remaining uncontaminated. The only way for this to be assured is to reinstate the array of environmental protections that have been stripped away over the past two years and ensure those remaining continue to be in place.
Dear Governor Martinez,
Natural resources are a critical aspect of nearly every state both in terms of their economic impact and their direct usage by a state’s residents. It is unfortunate that the economic impact can far too often be emphasized at the expense of those residents. As a preciously limited and vital commodity required by every living being, water must be looked at as not only an important natural resource, but as the most important natural resource we have.
It is noble to seek to improve the economic viability of a state but doing so at the expense of its most critical resource will cause far more harm than good. Removing environmental protections to allow drilling and mining operations to expand does just that. The residents of New Mexico are almost unanimously reliant upon groundwater (an estimated ninety-percent get their drinking water from this source), a resource that many of those environmental restrictions had been put in place to protect. Groundwater is easily contaminated by the chemicals and particulates left behind in resource extraction practices. This problem is exacerbated by the inability to properly access the water table when it does become contaminated; when an underground water source is befouled it can take massive periods of time before it is deemed clean again.
Should the underground water supply become unusable New Mexico would suddenly find itself faced with the economic burden of importing virtually all of its potable water. This financial burden would far exceed any of the modest economic gains generated by expanded mining operations. For the ecology and the economy of New Mexico there can be only one recourse– the environmental protections that have been lifted over the past two years must be reinstated.
[Your Name Will Go Here]
Photo Credit: uswateralliance.org