Protect New Mexico's Water Future!

Westerners know that the waters our lives depend on are increasingly imperiled. And in New Mexico, the situation is acutely severe. The Land of Enchantment is one of just three states without the ability to regulate the flow of pollution into our rivers, streams, and lakes. Last May, the Supreme Court's devastating Sackett ruling rolled back protections for ephemeral and intermittent waterways, leaving more than 90% of New Mexico's streams without any sort of protection from polluters. As a result, American Rivers declared all of New Mexico's rivers as the most endangered waterways in the United States.

Please sign our petition urging New Mexico lawmakers to prioritize water protection in the 2025 session and beyond. This year, water advocates secured $7.6 million in funding in the state budget to establish a state-level water permitting program.  With continued leadership in the Roundhouse, we can get many other priorities across the finish line to help New Mexico communities better protect and manage our most precious – and endangered – resource.

Water connects New Mexicans – to our environment, to our communities, and to each other. Sign the petition and let our state leaders know that you want them to prioritize water in the 2025 session. The deadline to sign is midnight on Friday, May 31, 2024!

Dear New Mexico state leaders:

Our rivers, streams and wetlands are threatened by polluters and the climate crisis. During the interim committee meetings and in the 2025 legislative session, we urge you to take meaningful action to help enact stronger protections for our waterways and to help the state prepare for a drier future.

In May 2023, the Supreme Court issued a devastating ruling in the Sackett v EPA case, which further reduced the types of waterways that are covered under existing federal protections. As an arid state, much of New Mexico's waters flow intermittently, which the Sackett ruling interpreted as not qualifying for protection under the federal Clean Water Act. While other Western states with ephemeral flows have state-level laws to fall back on, New Mexico doesn't. An estimated 96% of our waters now have no protections from mining, wastewater treatment, and other sources of discharge pollution.

Last month, the water advocacy organization American Rivers declared New Mexico's rivers, streams and wetlands as the US's most endangered waterways. This ranking should serve as a wake-up call to the urgency of New Mexico's water crisis and to further underscore the pressing need for water protections and enforcement at the state level.

As the threat to water quality grows, the reality of the climate crisis continues to unfold for countless communities across New Mexico. The continued burning of fossil fuels is exacerbating the ongoing drought plaguing much of the state, causing major shifts in precipitation patterns, and degrading the ecosystems on which all healthy watersheds depend. It is clear that climate solutions must be water solutions, too. 

We applaud the New Mexico Legislature for setting aside $7.6 million in funding to establish a state-level water permitting program in the most recent state budget. But given the severity of our situation, we cannot stop there.

It is imperative that water be a priority going into all future legislative sessions. We can use this momentum to continue building support for maintaining and bolstering the monitoring program. We can also use it to tackle other urgent needs, like investing in comprehensive mapping of the state's water resources to better inform future management decisions and ensuring our state agencies and programs are equipped with the resources required to fully execute their missions.

Water and climate are among the defining issues of our times. Now more than ever, we need state leaders to tackle them head-on.

Thank you for standing with us in support of a more secure, resilient and just water future for all New Mexicans.

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