Farewell to a great crew of activists

Column by David Coss, Rio Grande Chapter Chair

Thank you, David Coss!
David Coss ran the nation’s oldest capital city for eight years, bringing out the best of its river and its people. He’s lent the same energy and vision to his leadership of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club since 2015. David has a keen eye for what’s really important and how to best protect our planet. But especially he never loses sight of the people of our enchanted land. He stands up for immigrants, for workers, for young people and for all of us. He is also simply a kind, decent person we will miss dearly. Enjoy real retirement David! Carol, thanks for loaning him to us!

In 2019, our Sierra Club has been part of historic, bold progress in New Mexico and West Texas. As I complete my final term on the Rio Grande Chapter Executive Committee, I want to say how thankful I am for the work of the Sierra Club in my part of the world.

With a new governor and a stronger legislature in New Mexico, we helped to pass the Energy Transition Act. Under the ETA, low-interest bonds will provide for the closing of the San Juan coal plant and for investment in northwestern New Mexico to help communities transition to a stronger economy based on renewable energy. The act also creates the pathway to a carbon-free utility system by 2045.

Our Chapter stands up against the Trump administration for strong rules to prevent methane pollution. We will continue the work to transition our economy away from oil and gas.  We will also work to protect families and workers from air pollution and other dangers in the oil and gas fields. Younger generations will accept no less.

Rio Grande Chapter activists lobbied passionately in 2019 and, after years of laying the groundwork, finally passed a ban on coyote-killing contests in New Mexico.

Club members work and organize around the year to protect wildlife and tirelessly advocate for scientific and humane wildlife management. They review forest plans, write, call and show up for our public lands, our watersheds and our wildlife.

Our staff work with our volunteers to produce this positive progress on our issues.  I want to thank especially Camilla Feibelman, Mona Blaber, Miya King-Flaherty, Brittany Fallon, Cecilia Chavez-Beltrán, Genie Stevens and Antoinette Reyes for all their excellent work. We could not be effective without you, and I admire your work so much.

Finally, I have always admired the Sierra Club’s commitment to environmental justice and diversity. The diversity and quality of individuals putting themselves forward for positions on the Executive Committee this year is also bold. This issue of the Rio Grande Sierran has information and biographies for the individuals stepping up to serve. I urge all our members to vote for their local and chapter leaders.

Change is coming in our region and in our Club. The Rio Grande Chapter, 57 years old, continues to create a proud record. It has been an honor to serve and I wish the best of success to the Executive Committee and the Rio Grande Chapter.

Farewell to a great crew of activists