Rachel's Precaution Reporter #14, December 7, 2005


[Rachel's introduction: New Mexico state government has created a Precautionary Principle Task Force, which will issue a report with recommendations in May, 2006. Precaution marches on...]

By Earl James

New Mexico now has an InterAgency Precautionary Principle Task Force, which is holding its first meeting today, Dec 6, 2005.

Here's a description of the Task Force:

The N.M. Precautionary Principle Task Force was established by a memorandum of agreement (MOU) between N.M.'s Department of Health and Department of Environment as a result of support built by the N.M. Environment and Health Coalition during past legislative sessions.

The Precautionary Principle Task Force will identify and recommend steps state agencies can take to reduce significant exposures to toxins in the workplace. Task Force Working Groups will be established and will meet frequently to achieve the Task Force goal of issuing a report with recommendations by May of 2006. Recommendations will then be taken before relevant Interim Legislative Committees over the summer and fall of 2006, to prepare for the January 2007 N.M. State Legislative Session.

The N.M. Environment and Health Coalition will educate various target groups about the value of implementing the recommendations.

Members of the N.M. Precautionary Principle Task Force include:

Lynn Pedraza, Director, Albuquerque Public Schools Health/Mental Health Program;

Nathan Bush, American Cancer Society;

Sayuri Yamada, Association of Commerce and Industry;

Len Flowers, Chief, Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau, N.M. Department of Health;

Geri Rivers, Allergy and Asthma Network;

Mallery Downs, University of N.M. Health Sciences Center Community Outreach and Education Program, and N.M. Public Health Association;

Fabian Chavez, Integrated Pest Management Manager, City of Santa Fe;

Bonnie Rabe, Chief, Pesticide Management Bureau, N.M. Dept. of Agriculture.;

Dr. Anne McCampbell, MD, N.M. Environment and Health Coalition

Richard Fagerlund, Entomologist & Author;

Mary Day, N.M. Environment Department Environmental Justice and Outreach Liaison;

Bill Fulginiti, N.M. Municipal League (invited);

N.M. General Services Department(invited);

Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (invited);

The N.M. Economic Development Department (invited).

The Task Force is being coordinated by Matthew Baca, Research Programs Manager, UN.M. Office of the VP for Research. Mr. Baca was already under contract with several N.M. agencies as coordinator of the EPA's "Tools For Schools" air quality program in N.M. He also serves as chief staff person for the N.M. Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senator Linda Lopez, where the Precautionary Principle Memorial was last heard in the 2005 Legislative Session. Mr. Baca worked to get the Memorial on the Committee agenda so he was steeped in the issue and became committed to it.

Earl James is Convener, N.M. Environment and Health Coalition, and Director of Programs and Development, New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Santa Fe, N.M. He can be reached at ejames@nmelc.org .