A Healthy Environment
Northern New Mexico has an incredible natural environment. We vigorously advocate
for the protection of those resources, our mountains and rivers. They have been protected by
many generations that have come before us. Designation of wilderness areas, establishment of
the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, protection of the Valle Vidal are notable
victories in recent decades.
The anti-environmental agenda at the Federal level means we need to redouble our efforts at
the local level. The Town of Taos can and should do more to protect our local environment. As
Mayor I will lead the Council in establishing Taos as an environmental leader.
Taos has more than 300 days a year of sunshine. We must capitalize on this free source of
abundant energy. Every Town owned parking lot and roof top should be considered a potential
site for solar panels. The Town should partner with Kit Carson Electric, Guzman Energy or
others to determine which facilities are candidates for immediate installation of solar arrays.
Within five years solar panels should be installed on all suitable Town properties. Taos must
determine the most advantageous partnerships for such an aggressive effort.
It is well documented that the most cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption is
through conservation. The Town has many facilities that consume a lot of energy for heating,
cooling and lighting. The Town must undertake a thorough analysis of its facilities and their potential for improved energy efficiency in year one. The low hanging fruit, those items with a payback within two years, should be implemented immediately. A likely candidate would be switching to LED lighting. Items with longer paybacks would be phased in over coming years.
Taos must document the results of this effort and share it with others so they can benefit from
our leadership experiences.
The current administration in Washington is actively repealing rules that protect water quality.
Taos must upgrade our water quality protection requirements to fill that vacuum. Taos has no
meaningful rules to mandate setbacks for new development along our creeks and streams.
Providing setbacks from our streams protects water quality and wildlife habitat. As Mayor I will
propose such an ordinance.
The Rio Fernando is degraded before it reaches the Town boundaries. We must coordinate
with the U. S. Forest Service, Amigos Bravos and the holders of grazing rights in the headwaters
of the Rio Fernando to address these upstream issues. We all live downstream.
Wetlands are a critical part of a well functioning watershed. They act as a sponge to absorb
water in wet periods and slowly release it into seeps and springs during drier times. Wetlands
are also key to recharging our aquifers. Wetlands absorb nutrients that otherwise contribute to
poor water quality. Taos has no ordinance requirements that wetlands be protected from
development. As Mayor I will propose an ordinance that protects this key component of our
The occupants of Taos Valley have historically practiced sustainability, though they did not call
it that. They had to. They relied on the land and water for sustenance, for survival. They
We must rethink some of our priorities that have moved us away from a sustainable lifestyle.
We must reuse and recycle more of our waste that we now send to the landfill. We must be
more active in conserving energy and water. We must grow more of our own crops. We must
promote alternative modes of transportation. We must protect our prime agricultural lands. As a small, forward thinking community, we are ideally suited to demonstrate that it is possible to move in that direction. As Mayor I will propose and support actions that provide for the judicious use of our land, water and air.