As we celebrate Earth Day, the nation's focus turns to global warming and saving our natural resources.
But I am concerned about these issues every day, and protecting the environment has been one of my top priorities as a Public Regulation Commissioner.
My support from the national and regional Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Conservation Voters New Mexico is a big responsibility, and in Congress I will continue to stand up for our environment.
New Mexico has tremendous potential to lead the nation out of its dependence on foreign energy and to create jobs in a new, clean-energy economy, but fighting global warming is a challenge we must fight together, so here are a few easy steps environmental groups recommend we all take to make every day Earth Day:
Buy green power. Contact your electricity provider and ask about buying wind-generated power for your home or business and show your support for renewable energy. We must move away from burning fossil fuels and toward clean energy, and that's why I fought for an increase in the percentage of renewable energy that utilities must supply, making New Mexico's standards some of the highest in the nation.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs. At the PRC, we worked with the Sierra Club to set up a program to exchange traditional bulbs with compact fluorescents, which use about a fourth of the electricity and save money. According to the Sierra Club, if New Mexicans replaced 100,000 incandescent bulbs with CFLs, consumers would save nearly $900,000 on their electric bills annually.
Buy local. The food that goes into a typical meal has traveled more than a thousand miles by the time it reaches your plate. By buying local food, you can save fuel and reduce emissions while supporting local producers.
Get active -- and vote. Support lawmakers who will stand up for our environment and legislation that makes real progress to lower consumption of fossil fuels and move toward a clean, green future.
Happy Earth Day!
Ben R. Luján