U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke about air pollution and climate change on Wednesday evening.The Democratic member of Congress took part in a panel in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
Lujan Grisham was one of four women who spoke and answered questions for a panel presented by Moms Clean Air Force, an environmental advocacy group.
The congresswoman told the crowd of about 100 people that the panel was a good opportunity to ask important questions and start a conversation about clean air. One subject the panel discussed was the reported methane cloud over the Northwest New Mexico.
Lujan Grisham said the issue is an opportunity to ask broader questions that relate to the environment.
She asked, “Why aren’t we recapturing that?”
The congresswoman was referring to the theory that methane that is escaping from natural gas wells in the San Juan area of the state is causing the methane cloud.
Earlier this year, a group of researchers including NASA announced that they would be investigating the anomaly.
Lujan Grisham added that the country as a whole can do better at conserving natural resources and cutting down on energy use.
“The reality is we as a country are terrible, Americans are terrible at conserving,” she said. “Straight up terrible.”
When asked what role states and the federal government should play in environmental policies, Lujan Grisham said New Mexico needs to maintain high standards in regulations.
Other panelists included Colleen Cooley, an advocate working to bring awareness to coal mining in the northern New Mexico, Dr. Dona Upson, a pulmonary doctor at the Veteran Affairs hospital in Albuquerque and Anna Malinalli X Gutierrez Sisneros, a nursing instructor in Espanola.
For the future of environmental issues, Lujan Grisham said, “I’m going to stay optimistic.”