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Rubric for Environmental Equity
High-priority issues for Address by the NMAG Environmental Equity Council

  1. WATER

What is the New Mexico traditional concern? Clean water, adequate water-but not too much

Race/Ethnicity/Cultural identity inequity-

  • Tribal-both reservation tribes and pueblos   
  • Hispanic- traditional acequia use

Framework for legal status

  • NM Const. Art. 16, §1 (Rights to Use Waters)
  • NM Waters, Chapter 72
  • Navajo Water Settlement
  • Aamodt Water Settlement (Nambe, Pojoaque, Tesuque (NPT)
  • Acequia Associations 

What changes can help?

  • Redefine “beneficial use” includes agriculture—but should it include agriculture produced only for export (i.e., pecan growers south of Elephant Butte that sell more pecans to China than to the U.S., that do not provide sustenance for local communities, and raise a high-intensity water-use crop?
  • Review case law that has undermined rights of acequia associations
  • Consider whether tribal and traditional Hispanic uses are at odds (early conflicts by Espanola, O’hkay Owingee continuing with tribal golf courses at odds with N. NM acequia associations)
  • Does “access” to waters include all forms of recreation? (lake opened to everyone, water being made available to game expeditions)
  • What about “produced water”?

Suggested non-litigation approach

  • Education/report on pecans vs. apples in terms of gallons per acre, evaporation (dams vs. small-scale water projects), mistake of land acquisition (wave of southern NM settled by Anglos who received land in exchange for farming it, under the mistaken impression that rain would follow the plow)
  • Ask State Engineer (OSE):
    •  for stats to reveal/compare corporate vs. acequia and individual users
    • report on acequia rights summary- does one exist?
    • how often have private well permits been allowed to contract with federal government to build a wall? When does OSE audit “beneficial use”?
    • how are corporations treated (compare with acequias get only “individual” use
    • Do pueblo uses get audited for being beneficial (i.e., golf courses)

II.  SUSTAINABLE LAND USE

What is the New Mexico traditional concern? Need for unpolluted land enough to support and provide power for a family

Race/Ethnicity/Cultural identity inequity-

  • Hispanic small farmers, hunters
  • Land Grant recognition (including new local government designations)     
  • Recognition of tribal sovereignty

Framework for legal status

  • Pueblo Lands Act, NM Const. Art. 2, § 53-9-1 (Pueblo lands as community corporations)
  • Land Grants, NMSA 1978, Chapter (Land Grants, Management, Support)
  • State Land NMSA 1978, Chapter 19 Occupation of Public Lands, § 19-3-4
  • Wildlife Conservation Act, § 17-2-40. 1 (Wildlife Recovery Plan)
  • Federal border laws (suspending state law- Secure Fence Act, the  Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRAor IIRAIRA)
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Natl Monument designation

What changes can help?

  • Re-define “sustenance”-reservation tribes have recognition of this use in AK-What about land grant oversight? Can newly created local government designation of land grants recognize local purposes (gleaning, gathering) as priorities on grant lands?
  • Family use (does it include several generations? Does it include land grant contracts with developers such as Santolina?) Does it include grazing? (Limits of family authority to damage land through grazing etc) Does it include the right to mine?
  • US Fence Act –federal law allows suspension of state law re: definitions of land use (destroying state protections for burial grounds, historical monuments, night sky, environments, hunting permits—other federal laws with an impact?
  • “Land use”- should term be expanded to include solar and wind as traditional use?

Suggested non-litigation approach

  • Ask which natural resources agencies grant firewood gathering permits
  • Request reports from those on number of firewood permits
  • Ask SLO for report on what corporations have sizeable leases on state lands & forwhat
  • purpose?  What about grazing permits that were affected by border wall construction
  • Ask Game & Fish for which permittees were affected by border wall
  • Ask Game & Fish what hunting outfitters are local
  • Ask SLO for ranking of uses on state land (i.e., cattle grazing vs. mining/ farming)
  1.  SUSTAINABLE WAGES/OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE/ECONOMY

What is the New Mexico traditional concern? -Opportunity-equity in support for success. Opportunity limits are the definition of discrimination; are “private rights” in opposition to community rights?

Race/Ethnicity/Cultural identity inequity-

  • Disabilities Community- lack of recognition as a stakeholder-GAO Distance Learning report as affecting persons with disabilities
  • Hispanic/immigrant census
  • Tribal-lack of street address triggers zero count for census purposes

Framework for legal status

  • Public Finances, NMSA 1978, Ch. 6 §24
  • Public Schools, NMSA 1978, Ch. 22; Higher Ed,Ch. 21

What changes can help?

  • Define access to the internet as a right

Suggested non-litigation approach-

  • Use Tribal Consultation Act requirements to convene tribal leaders with land grant associations, PED leaders and Main Street grantees to problem-solve for internet access for every child.
  • Consider involving private cell phone providers in the governmental and government-to-government meetings, as they may be able to solve the problems.
  • Change state-mandated civil rights training to include a whole day on ADA
  1. HEALTH

What is the New Mexico traditional concern?-Disparities among groups-economy as driver of health

Race/Ethnicity/Cultural identity inequity-

  • Poverty- medical system-see through the lens of COVID-19 rates
  • Disabilities Community-
  • Hispanic-recognition of traditional doctoring (curanderas, doulas)
  • Tribal-recognition of medicine men; encourage more tribal docs at UNM Med School

Framework for legal status

  • NM Human Rights Act
  • Add EQUITY to rights-right to be as healthy as anyone else
  • Expand disabilities rights beyond Human Rights Act—i.e., right to priority of need

Suggested non-litigation approach

  • Push for directing resources to least healthy first? (i.e.,Tennessee directing COVID vaccinations to geographical places with highest rates of infection first—not to job exposure)- model this to other arenas
  • Advocate for a state-contracted generic drugs to become available cheaply
  • Penalize opioid mfg  for overprescribingn and divert the money to least healthy communities