SANTA FE, N.M. — With President Trump’s announcement today of Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center - a nonprofit law firm whose attorneys have worked for 30 years to protect vulnerable communities from environmental harm - urges the U.S. Senate to vote against the nomination.
NMELC staff believe that the appointment of Judge Gorsuch will create a Court that does little to stand in the way of a concerted rollback of more than 60 years of federal environmental protections.
“A Supreme Court that hands down decisions based on a far-right ideology poses a significant threat to the vulnerable communities of the United States and our natural resources,” says Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney for the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “Before they vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch, we urge our nation’s senators to remember that many of our nation’s environmental laws were adopted in response to significant—sometimes horrifying—problems; take for instance the adoption of the Clean Water Act after the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire because it was so polluted.
“These laws and their implementing regulations have helped immeasurably to make our air healthier, our water cleaner, and people safer. We urge our senators to remember that the ‘environment’ is not simply ‘out there’. It is what we breathe, what we drink, what we eat, and where we exist every day. In a world in which we can - and do - unleash toxic pollutants into our environment, strong laws are paramount to keeping our complex natural and industrial systems in balance,” says Jantz.
For nearly two decades, Mr. Jantz has represented members of New Mexico communities most at risk from contamination and environmental injustice, including Diné (Navajo) communities polluted by Cold War-era uranium mining; Hispanic communities threatened by oil and gas drilling; and Latino/a neighborhoods forced to breathe polluted air because of unjust air permitting processes. Other federal cases on NMELC’s docket include its advocacy for the cleanup of federal facilities such as Los Alamos National Laboratory and Kirtland Air Force Base, and hardrock mining on federal lands.
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