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Bill Richardson on Environment

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


Green Jobs Cabinet: build aggressive clean energy strategy

This week I will issue an executive order directing key state agencies--from education to workforce development, and from economic development to energy--to form a "Green Jobs Cabinet." This cabinet will build an aggressive clean energy strategy, so our state educates, trains, and prepares a clean energy workforce.

On renewable energy, we lead by example, having nearly tripled our usage of wind- powered electricity over the last six years. But each year our current electrical grid loses over one hundred megawatts of power through inefficiency and out-of-date technology.

I propose we lead the nation in the construction of a Green Grid to harness the power of solar and wind, and use smart electronics to deliver energy to consumers cheaper and more efficiently. The Green Grid will also help us tackle the toughest environmental challenge we face--climate change.

Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 20, 2009

Invest in bike lanes & commuter bike facilities

European nations are continuing to invest in bike lanes and facilities. While Congress is funding “bridges to nowhere” in its huge, pork-laden annual highway bills, cities in Europe are working to get beyond car culture. It seems inconceivable that the US would implement a strategy to get people onto bikes, even though they are healthy, affordable, eco-friendly and a great alternative to vehicles. But isn’t this something we should consider along with public transportation and more efficient vehicles?

Places like London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris have wet winters, like many of our cities. Yet people bike and are happy about it. There are bike lanes so riders don’t have to worry about car conflicts. There are huge bike parking lots near train stations and commercial centers. This kind of investment makes tremendous long-term sense. I won’t accept the shibboleth that Americans won’t ride their bikes to work. If they could do so safely and conveniently, many would commute by bicycle regularly.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 99-100 , Oct 26, 2007

Lack of Katrina response by our government was inexcusable

Q: The Democrats talk a lot about the failure of the president with Hurricane Katrina. The governor of that state was a Democrat; the mayor of that city is a Democrat as well.

A: Well, there was politics. All of a sudden, other states that had the similar devastation got better treatment, like Mississippi. This is what I would do. The response of our government to Katrina, before, during and after, was inexcusable. We have got to eliminate in the future any red tape that helps the devastation. Secondly, we have to let those that live there to come back first, instead of big moneyed interests. We have to stop the predatory lending of insurance companies, housing and many others that are ripping off the people. And then, finally, we have to make sure that a president cares--and doesn’t just pose for photo ops, but makes a difference and a commitment to rebuild that city and that region.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Katrina response “disgraceful”; reform FEMA & insurance

Q: Would you support a federal law guaranteeing the right to return to New Orleans and other Gulf regions devastated by Hurricane Katrina?

GRAVEL: Yes.

DODD: I would as well. New Orleans and Katrina have become a symbol of everything that went wrong with this administration’s failure to respond to a people in need.

CLINTON: I have proposed a 10-point Gulf Coast Recovery Agenda, because even if we were to give people a right, there is nothing to return to.

RICHARDSON: Yes, I would support that. I would also support the Katrina Recovery Act. This has been the most disgraceful episode in an American response to help our own people. What we need to do in this country is not just atone for a miserable performance before, during and after Katrina, but for the future [by reforming FEMA & federal emergency loan rules]. We also need to say to the insurance companies: You have to insure these people and rebuild homes in Louisiana.

EDWARDS: This is an issue I care about personally & deeply.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

Require renewable technologies and ask for conservation

I was Energy secretary; in my state, we call it the Clean Energy State. We have incentives for solar, wind, biomass, biofuels. We require renewable technologies -- 20 percent of our electricity. What would help in the short term -- give the states the authority to engage in serious price-gouging investigation. We need an Apollo program led by a president asking every American to sacrifice, to conserve, that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which is 65 percent imported, to 10.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Expand and create new state parks

As we expand our economy, we must always remember that the great natural beauty of New Mexico, the pristine gift of our land and sky is who we are-loving and protecting our land, air, and water pervades every aspect of what it means to be a New Mexican. We are expanding and creating new state parks, because there is no greater responsibility given to government than the preservation of our environment-our way of life. I will never shirk from that responsibility.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

Develop a comprehensive water management plan

Water remains the key to our future - and committing the resources to use it more wisely, stretch it farther and conserve it better is a critical priority. We have $2.7 billion of community water and wastewater needs to be met between now and 2007. We must commit the resources & put a funding plan in place to address those needs. I want every water system to develop a comprehensive water management plan, and when possible, work with other communities to develop regional systems that combine resources.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

Regulating 15 more contaminants under Clean Water Act.

Richardson co-sponsored regulating 15 more contaminants under Clean Water Act

Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to publish a proposed list of at least 15 contaminants that may occur in public water systems and that are not currently subject to EPA regulation. Provides for proposed lists of at least 12 additional contaminants every four years. (Current law requires EPA to regulate 25 contaminants every three years.) Bases the determination to regulate a contaminant on findings that:

  1. the contaminant is known to occur in public water systems;
  2. the contaminant occurs in concentrations which may have adverse health effects; and
  3. regulation of the contaminant presents an opportunity to reduce health risks.
Source: Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments (H.R.3392) 93-H3392 on Oct 27, 1993

Declare a forest health emergency on federal lands.

Richardson co-sponsored declaring a forest health emergency on federal lands

National Forest Health Act: To declare that a forest health emergency exists on Federal lands under their jurisdiction; to carry out accelerated forest health improvement programs to prevent further forest damage and reduce the risk of disaster wildfires on these lands; and to implement management strategies designed to produce sustained, diverse, and healthy forest ecosystems on these lands. The Congress finds the following:

Source: National Forest Health Act (H.R.229) 93-HR229 on Jan 5, 1993

Other governors on Environment: Bill Richardson on other issues:
NM Gubernatorial:
Susana Martinez
NM Senatorial:
Tom Udall

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 21, 2011