Candidate, US House of Representatives, NM CD1
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
Do you agree with climate scientists that we are facing a climate emergency?
Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 10 years in order to achieve carbon neutrality in time to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and to avoid catastrophic runaway climate disruption?
In your opinion, why do political leaders set benchmarks and timeframes for emissions reductions that do not comport with climate science mandates? If elected, what will you do differently than current leadership?
I believe many politicians do not understand the gravity of the threat of irreversible climate change. This is the most catastrophic threat facing humanity. We must take action immediately. This is why I have proposed transformational legislation like The Green Amendment, so that New Mexicans have a right to clean air, water, soil, land and cultural rights. I introduced The Produced Water Act and a pause on fracking. I’m glad President Biden implemented a pause on fracking on federal lands.
What measures will you propose and advance to ensure that economic recovery and the transition to a green economy fosters equity and economic & racial justice?
We need to make sure our communities have a seat at the table when addressing the climate emergency. I champion the Green New Amendment and I advocate that we center the communities most impacted to ensure that new jobs go to those who lose jobs and that we ensure that people have the training necessary to transition into these jobs. I have also advocated that we do a racial and economic impact statement as part of this transition so that we can continuously monitor racial and economic impact.
Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?
The people I talk to about climate issues are scientists, advocates, youth advocates and interested people throughout the state. I am particularly impressed by the work of Dr. Sandra Steingraber. It is important to me that we have science-based knowledge and solutions. I plan to continue to regularly engage with groups like YUCCA, as I have in my legislative work in Santa Fe. And, I so appreciate YUCCA’s activism and support of environmental initiatives in Santa Fe, including mine.
Do you pledge to co-sponsor the Green New Deal? Why or Why Not?
Yes, because the pieces of legislation that constitute the Green New Deal hold the fossil fuel industry accountable and provide for a just transition to a clean energy economy. It builds much needed infrastructure. As a co-sponsor, I will have a seat at the table to ensure that these provisions remain intact and that the voices of our youth, and groups like YUCCA, will have a say in pushing these transformational and much needed pieces of legislation.
Do you support the Biden administration's Pause on Fracking and do you think New Mexico should adhere to the pause just like all other states? Why or Why Not?
Yes, this is a position that I’ve supported for many years, and I helped put the issue into public discourse. I urge President Biden to keep extending this to give federal regulators time to study and reveal the real and harmful impacts on our water, land, and air, including the impacts on the health of our front-line communities. I believe if sufficient and unbiased studies are conducted, we will not go back to allowing the fossil fuel industry to exploit our land and people for profit.
Do you support the THRIVE Agenda? Why or Why Not?
Yes. I support the 8 pillars of the THRIVE Agenda because it’s a comprehensive approach towards building back our economy in a just and sustainable way. I fully believe it should be the duty of the government to implement an agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy. Unionized, high-paying jobs are integral to building our country. We should not have working poor. Employment should provide dignity and lift people from poverty.
Do you support the FRAC pack? Why or Why Not?
Yes, I support the FRAC Act because we need to close loopholes and expose the toxic dangerous chemicals that are being pumped underground. I think it is outrageous that the toxic liquid known as produced water that is produced by hydraulic fracturing is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The risk that the toxins and radiation in the toxic liquid poses to our surface water and our aquifers is tremendous. We must close this loophole and preserve our water quality.
Do you support a moratorium on utility shut-offs and utility debt forgiveness? Why or Why Not?
Yes, Utilities make a great deal of money by having a monopoly on distribution of energy. They owe something to the community when the community suffers. So, now during these critical times, they should be required to ensure that people do not lose electricity or heat, and they should set aside some of their profits to forgive debt for families that are unable to pay for these basic necessities.
What are your ideas to Build Back Better?
Simply re-opening the economy would be unjust, unhealthy, and unsustainable. We must invest in modern, climate-resilient infrastructure, including carbon-free power, rural broadband, sustainable agriculture and conservation, and more. We need to upgrade our roads, rails, and bridges but with studying and incorporating environmental impacts into design. We also need to invest in people, including universal pre-k, child care, paid sick and maternity leave, and free college.
If elected, what other specific policies will you initiate and support in your first year of service to transition our economy to net zero carbon emissions in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?
We need to invest in those same scientists and their colleagues by ensuring adequate funding for climate science research and technological innovation so that we can keep assessing ongoing changes and adapt to new realities as fast as possible. It is imperative that we appropriately fund the National Science Foundation, the EPA, the US Geological Survey, and other avenues for understanding and utilizing environmental science.