New Mexico “Road to 30” virtual event with Senator Udall, Representative Haaland, and State Representative Louis

September 21, 2020
Press Release
Center for Western Priorities and Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter host virtual event on the bold goal of protecting 30% of America by 2030

DENVER—The Center for Western Priorities and the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club hosted a virtual event to emphasize the importance of a bold proposal to protect 30 percent of America’s lands and water by 2030, known as the 30x30 initiative, and the important role of local conservation efforts in New Mexico for reaching this ambitious goal. The event featured New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland, New Mexico State Representative Georgene Louis, and Camilla Feibelman, Director of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter. The conversation focused on protecting New Mexico’s natural heritage, biodiversity, public health, and economic recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus. This was the fifth event for CWP’s “Road to 30” virtual tour of states across the West to emphasize the importance of the 30x30 goal. 

Tom Udall, United States Senator for New Mexico: “When we commit to protecting 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030, we are laying the foundation for New Mexico’s children to enjoy our state’s natural treasures while boosting our outdoor economy. The 30x30 goal is not only one of the most urgent protections for our current health and well-being—it’s absolutely essential to ensuring we can pass on a livable planet to the next generation and preserve our human life support system. Conservation leaders in New Mexico are moving us toward 30x30, and I am proud to carry this movement forward with Congresswoman Haaland, Representative Louis and the grassroots environmental supporters leading this fight in New Mexico and across the country.”

Deb Haaland, United States Representative for New Mexico’s 1st district: “In some cases, we have lost the respect that we should have for our wild spaces—realizing that we are in their domain. Sportsmen, anglers, people who have spent many hours in those spaces understand that exceptionally well. It’s us creating opportunities for our kids to learn about that; to promote and support children at young ages to know how to respect wildlife and wilderness and open space.”

Georgene Louis, State Representative for New Mexico District 26: “As a member of the Pueblo of Acoma, I was raised to be a good steward of Mother Earth, which means respecting people, animals, land, and water. We must act now to strengthen our communities and ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy nature.  Let’s honor our ancestors by purposely taking steps to protect our environment and our health to live happy and productive lives.”

Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Director: “Our Land of Enchantment is at risk from incinerating fires and intractable drought—all results of climate change, driven by the fossil fuels extracted from ancestral Tribal and public lands. Over 93% of BLM-managed land around Chaco Canyon has been leased for drilling. The agency is pushing through a plan to allow over 3,000 new wells—while the impacted tribal communities struggle with Covid-19, a toxic legacy of environmental contamination from uranium, coal, methane leaking, and produced water spills.  The communities and lands around Carlsbad Caverns are also at risk. This is a time to protect our lands, water, air and communities. We join in the fight for 30% protection of our land and water by 2030.”

Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director of the Center for Western Priorities: “Scientists have urged us to protect at least 30 percent of our planet’s land and water resources as a necessary step to prevent the unraveling of the ecosystems that support all life on this planet. The Center for Western Priorities asked voters in five Western swing states about the 30 by 30 goal in our Winning the West poll this spring, and there was a bipartisan consensus in favor of it. In New Mexico specifically, 79 percent of voters said they supported setting a national goal to conserve 30 percent of lands and ocean by the end of the decade. Despite the administration's best attempts to roll back conservation protections, there is strong bipartisan support from voters in the West to conserve our public lands for future generations, a critical step towards reaching this bold 30 by 30 goal.”

A video recording of this event is available on Roadto30.org. To learn more, check out our video explaining the 30x30 initiative, featuring National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala and U.S. Senator Tom Udall.

The “Road to 30” Virtual Tour will visit states across the West throughout the summer. To stay informed on the virtual tour and for more information about 30x30, visit our website, sign up for our Road to 30 mailing list, and follow @Protect30x30 on Twitter.

BACKGROUND ON 30X30 INITIATIVE:

Nature across the world is collapsing, according to biologists. Global human activity has altered three-quarters of the Earth’s lands, and within the United States, about a football field worth of natural area is converted to human development every 30 seconds. Hundreds of scientists are warning the rapid loss of natural space will result in a mass extinction, exacerbated by climate change. In the face of this crisis, ecologists are urging the conservation of at least 30 percent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030 (the 30×30 goal), a critical step that can protect nature, strengthen communities, and improve public health.

In a new Winning the West poll from the Center for Western Priorities, 75 percent of voters in five Mountain West swing states favored the 30×30 initiative, with majority support across party lines for the ambitious conservation goal.

For more information, visit westernpriorities.org. To speak with an expert on public lands, contact Aaron Weiss at 720-279-0019 or aaron@westernpriorities.org. Sign up for Look West to get daily public lands and energy news sent to your inbox.