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Candidate, Santa Fe County Commission D 3

Camilla Bustamante
Santa Fe County Commission District 3
camilla b.webp
  • If elected, what specific policies will you pursue in 2023 to begin rapidly transitioning our economy to achieve carbon neutrality in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?

Santa Fe County has made strides to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and I would pursue policies that evaluate the current carbon emissions from county operations and implement aggressive measures to further reduce emissions. I would also pursue evaluation of measures that would require the local utility to assure that solar is available in all areas of Santa Fe County, given that there are current restrictions in availability due to capacity loads.

  • Do you agree with climate scientists that the brunt of the impacts we face due to climate change will be put on those who contributed the least emissions? (The global South, Indigenous, and low-income communities)


  • Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 8 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?

One possible reason political leaders set benchmarks and timeframes for emission reductions that do not comport with the science is because there is an overall lack of understanding regarding the critical nature of the climate crisis. There is also a lack of respect or understanding for the role of science as a tool for measuring climate impact on our natural environment that is often communicated as though it is an issue of "belief" or unsubstantiated opinion.

  • If elected, what will you do differently than current leadership?

I can not speak to the actions of current leadership, but in my capacity, if elected, I will abide by peer reviewed research and evaluate best practices to assure that our county is a leader in taking steps toward carbon neutrality.

  • 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?

Economic recovery that fosters equity and economic and racial justice in the interest of developing a green economy will require a community participatory process, if it is intended to be resilient and adoptable. I would propose that a diverse group of community members, industry, and political leaders participate in identifying immediate measures toward economic recovery.

  • If elected, will you support the creation of a Just Transition Study & Fund to identify alternative revenue sources for our state budget and allocate funds from oil and gas directly into community-driven climate mitigation and adaptation strategies? Explain.

The state budget should support efforts to meet goals toward carbon neutrality and a Just Transition Study & Fund paid for by oil and gas is an opportunity to support the identification of robust and alternative sources of revenue for our state. I would support such efforts in this interest.

  • If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?

I am trained in community based participatory processes and I value the knowledge of our Indigenous and traditional communities. To this end, I would take measures to ensure that the voices and wisdom from these communities are included in economic development endeavors. It will be important to hold discussions and identify what a "sustainable economy for all" means and what it would look like for our area as this is subjective and must be community informed.

  • Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?

Much of my understanding of the climate crisis is informed by the research that comes from NASA and other science based organizations. For our area, I would want to hear from a the youth and from community members as to what the local priorities and opportunities are for immediate action. My plan is to be inclusive of community in all phases of decision making and implementation to address climate issues in Santa Fe County.

  • Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM

Environmental racism is when a particular population, typically people of color, are adversely impacted by decisions and activities that negatively affect the environment in which they live. Examples of environmental racism is the mining and uranium tailings that remain in the Navajo Nation, the placement of a wastewater treatment facility with discharge to a traditional community with downstream farming, and inequitable allocation of water and infrastructure resources to communities based on race and/or socio-economic status.

  • What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations while in office? Explain.

I believe my generation has the responsibility to take active measures to assure an improved quality of life for future generations. To this end, I believe that the youth of today must be included in the discussions and decision making for those actions that will affect the environment they will inherit.

  • A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

The overall impact of a moratorium is somewhat complicated and I do not feel that I have enough understanding of what the overall impacts would be if a moratorium was placed on new gas development at this time. I would need to understand the short term and long term impacts and the measures that would be taken to address such issues before I could take a stand on this issue.

  • B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Again, much like the previous question, the implications are complicated and I would need more time and a better understanding of what the investment would be used for i.e. is this is a short term investment used to make systems more efficient while we wean ourselves from petrochemical?

  • Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?

Nuclear energy is considered a clean energy source and valued carbon neutral option that can help communities transition from petrochemical energy. However, people of color are disproportionately negatively affected by the sourcing of uranium and at the disposal of spent materials. Nuclear energy will only be a clean source of energy when impacts from the mining, manufacturing, and disposal of residual by-products do not adversely affect population health, therefore I do not support nuclear energy.

  • Do you support the development of Hydrogen Production Hubs here in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

I support investigating the benefits and viability of Hydrogen Production Hubs in New Mexico. I do not have enough information to take a stance on this subject at this time.

  • Do you support community ownership of energy where Cities/Counties/Indigenous Nations are able to own, produce, and sell electricity to residents and keep energy dollars local?

I support and believe in a community owned utility, particularly if it is fueled by alternative energy. I also believe firmly in the resiliency of microgrid technology and the localization of the sources of our energy.

  • What do you believe is the fossil fuel industry/utility’s responsibility for cleanup and how as an elected official in the public office for which you are running do you plan to hold industry accountable for pollution and cleanup?

I am unaware of specific fossil fuel contamination in District 3 at this time, however I understand the regulatory basis for industry responsibility to ensure that pollution is averted and that contamination is remediated.

  • Do you support utility bill forgiveness for low-income New Mexicans who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis?


  • Some are saying that COVID-19 is the dress rehearsal for the climate crisis. In fact, in many places throughout the world, the two are compounding crises. What do you think we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis when addressing the climate crisis?

The common issue between the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis is public's response. There is clearly a range of understanding of the severity of such issues and there are people who denied the impact of COVID on their health up until their death. Sadly I learned that more people have been concerned about their personal rights rather than having a sense of responsibility to care about the impact of their actions on others.

  • Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions? How will you use this experience to tackle the climate crisis?

I have an extensive resume as an environmental scientist, educator and community activist in the areas of environmental response, sustainable agriculture and strategic planning and doing. I would use my experience in convening community to collectively address the problems we are facing.

  • What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?

It should be clear to voters as to which industries support their elected officials.

  • Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected

I would like more time to consider the options and learn more about what sources of revenue would be viable.

  • Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No



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