An environmental group called the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is encouraging Latinos living in the Southwest to push for clean energy and less pollution through a new grassroots campaign launched on Wednesday.
According to LCV, Latinos know the impact of pollution more than any other group given that seven out of 10 Latinos live in areas with high levels of air pollution. The environment group, which is spending millions of dollars this year going after candidates who question climate change, also noted that new polling shows there’s strong support among Latinos for solar and wind power.
“Our communities see clean energy as an essential step towards reducing pollution, improving our health and strengthening our economy,” Jennifer Allen, director of LCV’s Latino Outreach Program, said in a statement. “These new campaigns will ensure that the communities who are most harmed by pollution are part of the solution.”
The campaigns target New Mexico and Arizona, two states where Allen said climate change contributed to harsher drought and fiercer wildfires.
LCV wants New Mexico to defeat a proposal from the Public Service Company of New Mexico to replace two units at its San Juan Generating Station with more coal and nuclear energy. In Arizona, the group wants the Salt River Project to clean up its air pollution and increase its solar and wind energy generation.
LCV recently released a new poll that shows Latinos in both states are concerned about pollution and want utility companies to clean up. The poll, conducted by the Benenson Group, found that 84 percent of Latinos in New Mexico support requiring the Public Service Company of New Mexico to use more renewable energy. The poll also found that in Arizona, 90 percent of Latinos support requiring their electric companies to use more renewable energy.
The campaign by LCV has the support of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).
“The Latino community believes in the stewardship of our environment — it’s part and parcel to our culture,” Grijalva said in a statement. “We support investments in solar and wind energy, and hold a sense of moral responsibility for not only cleaning up pollution, but tackling the threats of climate change and the severe weather and disasters that come with it.”
LCV first launched its national Latino Outreach Program in 2013. In addition to the campaigns launched in Arizona and New Mexico, the group launched similar efforts earlier this year in Aurora and Denver, Colorado to encourage city leaders to support efforts to curb air pollution from power plants and improve the health of Latino families.