10 is New Mexico’s rank on a national “sustainable state” list.
0 is the number of states beside New Mexico that have rolled back energy-efficient building code changes after they were enacted.
I love these rankings, and I love to see to see us up there because it means we really were making some strides in the right direction. You don’t get up in the top 10 for sustainability without some really good steps in the right direction. I’m just concerned that, during this administration, all of those steps will be crumbling.—Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
It's an unfamiliar feeling for New Mexico: making the top 10 list for a national ranking alongside such progressive states as Oregon and Washington. Based on such criteria as clean energy leadership, incentives for green projects and energy-efficiency requirements, New Mexico squeaked in at number 10 on Site Selection magazine's list of top sustainable states.
Although New Mexico Environment Department spokesman Jim Winchester applauds the "innovation and willingness to move towards greater sustainability demonstrated by so many residents and businesses" in the state, not all sustainability advocates are so optimistic.
Although the state adopted one of the most progressive building codes in the nation last year, the new Construction Industries Commission appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez repealed it earlier this year. And that's just the first goal on a list put together by Martinez' Small Business Friendly Task Force, which also has air-quality standards and oil and gas conservation requirements in its crosshairs.
And with the recent decision by the Albuquerque City Council to do away with energy-efficiency requirements for city buildings, New Mexico might not stay at No. 10 for long.
"[The Albuquerque City Council seems] to be jumping on the Martinez bandwagon," Fiebelkorn says. "There's very little concern for long-term health, pollution, any of the things that we as a state should be looking at."
But Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association Executive Director Kim Shanahan says New Mexicans won't backtrack on all their progress toward sustainability without a fight.
“We still have our sustainable building tax credit…I have optimism that will be extended beyond its presumed 2014 deadline,” Shanahan says.