Thursday, January 27, 2011

Opposing Harrison Schmitt

Sen. John Arthur Smith
Box 998
Deming, NM 88031

RE: Opposing the nomination of Harrison Schmitt to Dept. of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources

Dear Senator,

Governor Susana Martinez has nominated Harrison Schmitt to head New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resource department. Today I am writing to request that you vote against this nomination.

It is not simply because Harrison Schmitt has expressed skepticism about climate change and the involvement of human economic activity. The Governor herself has expressed such skepticism and she won the election. Harrison Schmitt goes much farther than this. As recently as 2009, Mr. Schmitt has made remarks for broadcast and publication alleging that (1) the notion that human activity contributes to climate change is an intentional hoax, (2) that the federal government is a conspirator in this hoax, pressuring scientists to affirm that human activity affects climate, and (3) that the hoax is an operation of a broad-based “Communist movement” (to use his own phrase) whose purpose is to oppose American “liberty.”

Mr. Harrison Schmitt is not merely a conservative skeptic who prefers to err on the side of industry with respect to economic policy. He exhibits signs of believing irrational conspiracy rumors that have no basis in reality, while ignoring valid scientific information that is highly relevant to the responsibilities of this post. This, in my opinion, makes him inappropriate for such an important post. I shudder to think of such a person being in charge of the Mining and Minerals Division, our state parks, the Oil Conservation Division, and the Energy Conservation Management Division. One simply cannot trust his judgment.

It is the Governor’s prerogative to nominate a cabinet that shares her vision of good policy and planning, and in her case that presumably includes an ideology that favors the interest of business and industry. This does not, however, mean a Governor should receive carte blanche to nominate absolutely anyone, regardless how extreme or irrational their ideological bias might be. And so I believe it would be a good decision to oppose this nomination. I hope you agree, or will take this under consideration.


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