NEWS FROM THE UNITED STATES SENATE
& U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2019
Udall and Lowenthal Statement Ahead of Beverage Companies’ Plastics Announcement
Udall and Lowenthal will soon introduce major legislation to tackle the plastic waste crisis
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) released the following joint statement ahead of an announcement from The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo about a new sustainability initiative. Udall and Lowenthal are drafting major legislation, to be introduced this fall, to tackle the plastic waste crisis.
“The environmental and health crisis caused by plastic pollution has captured the attention of people across the globe – who see with their own eyes the buildup of plastic in our oceans, rivers, and landscapes. In the United States, the equivalent of 65 trash trucks per day of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean. Recent scientific studies show that plastic particles are now everywhere—in rain water, in the food chain, and even inside our own bodies. It is beyond clear that bold action is needed more than ever.
“Today, some of the largest companies in the United States, which share significant responsibility for the growing plastic waste crisis, are announcing their ‘every bottle back’ program and other plans. We are glad these beverage companies have acknowledged that they must play a role to prevent more damage from plastic pollution. But we’ve seen initiatives and goals like these from industry before that shirk their real responsibility by placing the burden of action on consumers and taxpayers. Building bottles out of 100 percent recyclable material is welcome news, and taking ‘every bottle back’ is indeed a worthy goal, but we cannot just say the words and wish it so—we need to back up those words with real, concrete action. And other industries that sell single-use plastic products need to step up as well.
“In the coming days, we will be circulating a discussion draft of our landmark legislation to transform our antiquated and inefficient recycling system to put more responsibility on the producers who package and sell these products in our communities. One of the core principles of environmental law is ‘the polluter pays,’ and cleaning up and preventing plastic waste from entering our environment should not be the sole responsibility of the taxpayer. It is time for multi-billion-dollar companies who are seeing massive profits to step up and cover the costs of cleaning up the waste from their products. We welcome these beverage producers and all other interested stakeholders to provide constructive feedback and engagement in our efforts to turn the tide on the plastic waste tsunami that is flooding our communities and threatening our future.”
In July, Sen. Udall and Rep. Lowenthal circulated a draft outline of legislation to tackle the plastic waste pollution crisis, including a policy for a national beverage container deposit system. They received approximately 150 responses in comments and meeting requests. Staff have been revising the outline and working with legal counsel to draft the proposal into legislative language. The “discussion draft” will be circulated in the coming days with a process to provide feedback.
Contacts: Ned Adriance (Udall), 202.228.6870 / Keith Higginbotham (Lowenthal), 202.225.7924
Changes in recycling efforts for Cibola County
Recycle Cíbola! recently announced that recycling in Cíbola County will continue as usual, with one minor change.
Recent events and headlines have prompted many people to ask whether Cíbola County still has a recycling program and whether Recycle Cíbola! – the community recycling group – will continue its recycling activities in the future. The answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.”
Recycling in Cíbola County will continue with business as usual and Recycle Cíbola! volunteers will continue to advocate and act in support of recycling and “green” initiatives.
Here are the particulars:
The same materials can be recycled at drop-off centers. Corrugated cardboard, paper, tin or steel, aluminum, and plastics, numbers 1 and 2, are accepted for recycling at all drop-off locations in Cíbola! County. Please sort materials and rinse cans and plastics. Electronic waste (computers, televisions, mobile phones, etc.), used motor oil, and rubber tires are accepted for recycling at the Milan Transfer Station and the landfill in Thoreau. Except for tires, there is no charge to recycle these materials.
Locations and Hours
Recycling Drop-Off locations and hours remain the same:
Smith’s Food and Drug parking lot in Grants: Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.; Friday: 8 a.m. to noon; Saturday: 10 a.m. to noon.
John Brooks parking lot in Milan: Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m.to noon; Friday: 8 a.m. to noon.
Convenience Centers: Bluewater Lake, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday (no metals accepted at this time); Cubero, Wednesday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Seboyeta: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday.
Milan Transfer Station: Monday through Saturday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What has changed?
Only one minor change has been made to the recycling program. It involves who will be staffing the bins at the drop-off center in the Smith’s parking lot in Grants.
In the past, bins in Grants have been staffed during the work week by an employee of the Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority. The Solid Waste Authority runs the landfill in Thoreau and oversees the recycling program in Cíbola and McKinley Counties.
On Saturdays, the bins were staffed by volunteers of the community group known as Recycle Cíbola!
As of July 26, volunteers were no longer staffing those bins.
Instead, a Solid Waste Authority employee staffs them. Staffing on Saturdays was one way that Recycle Cíbola! helped to establish our community’s program.
RC volunteers have staffed the bins on Saturdays for nine years. RC also helped the program by staffing the bins during the week – when the Solid Waste Employee was sick, on vacation, or at training. We did that kind of substitute staffing for about five years.
Hollis Fleischer, group co-coordinator, offered her views about the changes.
“I have greatly enjoyed staffing the bins on Saturdays. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know lots of other community recyclers. I will really miss seeing those ‘regular’ Saturday customers. Thank you for your friendly visits and support of the recycling program,” she said.
Recycle Cíbola! will continue other activities.
With this change, the group feels that it will be able to pay more attention to other projects and outreach efforts. We will continue to reach out to the community about recycling and advocate adopting a “greener” approach to our everyday living and operations. To that end, Recycle Cíbola! members will continue to participate in community events; provide educational information about recycling; and advocate improvements in our recycling program.
RC encourages you to stop by our table at community events. We will be at the Farmers’ Market in Fire and Ice Park on Saturdays. We will be providing our signature, lime-green cloth shopping bag with the Recycle Cíbola! logo, as well as information about recycling. Also, look for our continued involvement with the community in the future.
Visit recyclecibola.org, or leave a voice message, 505-552-2166, or call the Solid Waste Authority, 505-905-8400, for more information.
I write in response to Mayor Hicks’ account of an incident that occurred at the recycling bins in the Smiths’ parking lot, as published on July 24 in the Cíbola Citizen.
We disagree with the mayor’s version of events and offer these facts and perspectives.
A Recycle Cíbola! volunteer was substituting for the paid Solid Waste Authority bin attendant, who was on vacation during the last week in June. When the mayor arrived at the bins, the volunteer tried to help him with his recycling.
The mayor was rude and disrespectful, and this greatly upset our volunteer. She expressed her unhappiness with the mayor’s attitude, and, in turn, the mayor became very angry at her protests. At that point, our volunteer feared for her safety. She ran to her car; locked the doors; and honked the horn.
Sometime later, another RC member found our volunteer upset and still shaking from her encounter with the mayor.
Our volunteer simply was not prepared for the mayor’s rudeness and antagonism. She was just trying to help and support the recycling program by substituting for the regular bin attendant.
As volunteers, that is what we do – we offer our time and resources to help our community. We don’t need recognition or praise, but we don’t expect to be treated harshly or to fear the people we are serving. When that happens, it is difficult to know what to do.
Perhaps our volunteer did not handle the situation well. We think she did the best she could during a tense confrontation.
Perhaps the mayor didn’t mean to be rude or unpleasant, but somehow felt disrespected or challenged by our volunteer. Perhaps he was still angry about past conflicts with RC.
What we do know is that we are trying to follow the advice that many people have offered since these conflicts began: stay the course and keep working for what we believe in, despite our recent difficulties. We are trying to do that and expect to continue our outreach and education efforts about recycling and other green initiatives.
What we also know is that our community has not benefited from our conflicts. So, we invite the mayor to join us in a different approach.
Let’s agree to respectfully disagree about our differing views about recycling. Let’s try to find some common ground where we can work together and better our community. We will accomplish more in cooperation than in conflict. Please.
Co-coordinator, Recycle Cíbola!
Building on the Past: Ramada Verde Dedication
The Cíbola Arts Council, Double Six Gallery, and Recycle Cíbola! celebrated the completion of the Ramada Verde on May 11.
More than 20 community members toured the gallery’s garden during the two-hour event. Officials from Village of Milan and Grants joined arts council members, community residents, and Recycle Cíbola! members for the dedication ceremony.
Robert Gallegos, gallery director, commented that both the Eco-Brick Wall and “Ramada Verde,” as he calls it, were built on the past. He explained that there is a long history of people building on top of older sites. As an example, he pointed to the village of San Mateo, which was constructed on the ruins of an ancient Chacoan outlier community.
“This Ramada Verde and the Eco-Brick Wall were bothbuilt on the Anne Baxter dance floor,” he said, standing next to the latest addition. “I like to think that the spirit of Anne still dances here.”
Anne Baxter was the granddaughter of renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. One of her most-memorable films, “All About Eve,” debuted in 1950, according to tcm.com. Several audience members commented that Ms. Baxter’s home in the Zuni Mountains continues to attract sightseers.
Gallegos thanked the City of Grants and said that city employees had collected the stones and contributed to the construction of the large maze, which is located on the south side of the eco-brick wall enclosure.
Hollis Fleischer, Recycle Cíbola! co-coordinator, described the construction of the outdoor seating facility and thanked the many community members who contributed to the project. She pointed to the plastic-bottle-flower garland above the arched entryway as a fitting decoration created by Future Foundations Family Center program members.
The Bottle Tree, located at the northeast corner of the seating area, a recent addition, was made by Tom Bombaci, RC co-coordinator. Cíbola Arts Council memberRenee Post has plans to install her own metal and bottle creation in the garden, as well.
“Special thanks go to Steve and Barbara Lopez,” said Fleischer. “Steve is a masterful artisan. He perfectly completed the Ramada, all the while keeping our bottle theme. And Barbara added the perfect finishing touch of lovely spring flowers.”
The Route 66 sculpture, which replicates the signage on the historic road, is visible to eastbound Santa Fe Avenue traffic. It now utilizes solar-powered lighting for the “66” which is made from vintage cobalt blue jars. Bobby Baca, Milan resident, created the sign for a Recycle Cíbola! float entry in a past Parade of Lights. Recycle Cíbola! donated it to the garden several years ago.
Gallegos and Roy Archibald, Cíbola County master gardener, briefly discussed possible native plantings that could be added to the garden.
The afternoon included a slide show documenting the Bottle Wall and Ramada construction, refreshments, and a tour of the of the outdoor garden. Free cloth shopping bags and recycling information were also provided.
Call 505-287-7311 or visit cibolaartscouncil.com and recyclecibola.org for more information.
Hours at Bluewater Lake and Seboyeta Convenience Centers: 9am – 5pm Wed. and Sat.
Hours at Cubero Convenience Center: 9am – 5pm Wed. and Sun.
Mayor Fails Citizens of Grants
I write to express my outrage over how badly Recycle Cíbola! was treated at the April 1, 2019 City Council Meeting.
Before, during, and after the meeting, Mayor Hicks utterly failed to act as a fair, democratic, and representative leader.
He failed to listen. He failed to allow the councilors to offer their opinions and to vote on a requested funding matter. He failed to consider the views held by many Grants’ residents.
He failed to honor and protect our rights, as American citizens, to speak freely and participate in our political process. He failed to treat Recycle Cíbola! and me, the group’s representative, with respect and consideration – something that every person who comes before the Council deserves, whether or not the mayor agrees with that person’s views.
What Mayor Hicks displayed was tyrannical and bullying behavior. He owes me, Recycle Cíbola!, and the entire Grants community an apology for this unacceptable, undemocratic, and downright-rude behavior.
Here are some specifics.
Mayor Hicks abused his discretion and authority by refusing to include Recycle Cíbola!’s funding request as an “action” item on the agenda; he thus prevented the Council from voting on it.
He improperly hijacked the entire discussion — failing to give the councilors an opportunity to speak. He offered no thoughtful discussion and ranted incoherently.
He tried to “trash” the recycling program by offering unclear exaggerations about Grants’ allegedly unsupportable recycling costs. In fact, recycling costs for the entire county were reasonable and low — only $54,294 in 2018. That translates into 50¢per month or $6 per year for each county household ($54,000 divided by 9,000 county households).
But most of all, I am very troubled by how disrespectfully MayorHicks treated me and recycling supporters. He ranted and bullied. He interrupted, yelled at, and spoke over people. He did everything he could to try to intimidate me. When he couldn’t convince me to agree with him, he blew his top and had me escorted out of the meeting by the police. He then continued to insult recycling supporters and dominate all by offering onlyhis views. There is absolutely no excuse for the mayor’s terrible behavior. It was unacceptable and uncivil conduct from an elected representative.
Personally, as a volunteer who has spent many years and resources to help my community, I am appalled that the “thanks” I get is to be blatantly and unrestrainedly disrespected, bruised, and battered by the so-called leader of our City. I also am disappointed that the council members have not spoken out publicly against the mayor’s shoddy treatment of Recycle Cíbola! members and so many other persons who have dared to offer views that differ from the mayor’s opinions. Too many of us have been on the receiving end of his abusive behavior. It is time for it to stop.
I appreciate how difficult it is to speak out against a bully, especially when you work together, or when he has power to make your life unpleasant or roadblock your efforts. Still, it seems to me that the way the mayor exercises his power and treats others is not acceptable or appropriate behavior by an elected official. It stifles and thwarts our democratic process. It alienates people who would otherwise get involved in our community. It does not offer a positive picture of a well-led community to potential businesses or future residents. It does not serve our citizens well.
Respectfully and unhappily submitted,
Hollis Fleischer, co-coordinator, Recycle Cíbola!