For years, Tim Davis advocated for the people of New Mexico on a variety of public interest legal issues including workers’ rights, public benefits and utility law. Today, he advocates for the protection and restoration of wildlife and the health of the American West as a staff attorney on the legal team at WildEarth Guardians, a non-profit environment organization. Davis focuses on litigation for the Climate and Energy Program and champions clean energy sources.

Davis will lead a panel discussion titled “The Pollution Control Clause of the NM Constitution: State Accountability for Oil and Gas Pollution Crisis in New Mexico” as part of the “Cambios Climate Change Speaker Series” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 at the Rio Grande Theatre. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The “Cambios Climate Change Speaker Series,” formerly known as the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS), was launched in 2018 as an interdisciplinary series to bring a range of experts to NMSU and Las Cruces and promote informed discussion of the causes and consequences of climate change.

“The State of New Mexico is at an interesting juncture,” said Nancy McMillan, NMSU department head and professor of geological sciences. “Oil and gas extraction is a main contributor to our economy, and yet we know that fossil fuel use is a major contributor to climate change. On one hand, the state needs to move away from oil and gas for the sake of the environment, but it is difficult to watch those revenues decline. This panel discussion discusses a lawsuit that results from a similar dilemma: the state needs to protect both the environment and revenues from oil and gas extraction”

In response to the increase in oil production in New Mexico since 2010, a coalition of community members, Indigenous groups and youth filed a landmark lawsuit in May 2023 against New Mexico, alleging violations of the state constitution by failing to curb oil and gas pollution.

Jonathan Juarez, individual plaintiff and organizer with Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) and No False Solutions, and Jozee Zuniga, Permian Basin resident and fellow YUCCA organizer, will join Davis in a panel discussion of the lawsuit and the immediate actions needed to remedy the increasing pollution problem.

“As water reservoirs across New Mexico hit record lows, 2021 has already been a record-breaking year for New Mexico’s oil and gas industry, which averaged a mind-boggling 1.16 million barrels of crude oil and 6.19 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in March 2021,” Juarez wrote in a 2021 Source New Mexico article. “Both the oil and gas industries saw a more than 10% increase in production since February 2021, and in April of this year, our state netted $109 million from oil and gas production — the highest profit in the history of the fossil fuel industry in New Mexico.”

Juarez and Zuniga are joining climate activists like Davis to generate critical conversations about oil and gas pollution and spread awareness among residents of New Mexico.The next and final speaker in the series this semester is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9. Learn more at the “Cambios Climate Change Speaker Series” website.

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