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Key Conservation Issues:

Energy & Climate Change

The science is clear: climate change is already here and its impacts will be significant and long-lasting. Delaying action or taking half-hearted measures will allow global temperatures to rise even more, creating even worse disruption to natural and human systems. But there is still time to act to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Our reliance on fossil fuels is driving changes in our climate that are already having devastating effects on New Mexico — clearly visible in the severe drought and catastrophic wildfires we have been experiencing over the last several years.

Relying on oil, coal and natural gas for the bulk of our energy needs is a losing proposition. Recent fracking booms, including the one in the Permian basin, are not sustainable and their boom-and-bust cycles create havoc for state and local budget planning. Independent data has shown that methane emissions are likely much higher than industry and federal government monitoring suggest and oil and gas facilities also emit harmful ozone and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are known carcinogens.

Just as oil and gas are losing propositions, so too is fossil fuel-derived hydrogen (grey and blue). Hydrogen has been touted as a potential alternative energy source for years, but the reality is that it’s simply not a viable option at this point. For starters, hydrogen is not a naturally occurring fuel. It must be produced, usually with fossil fuels, which defeats the purpose of finding a cleaner energy source. Additionally, creating hydrogen of all kinds requires enormous amounts of water, which is not ideal for a place like New Mexico.

Fortunately, New Mexico boasts a wealth of clean, renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal sources and more. We have the ability and resources to make clean energy a driving force of our economy and cost-effective for energy consumers.

New Mexico is taking the first steps toward the “power shift” by calling for major investments in clean energy like wind and solar in the Energy Transition Act, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Lujan Grisham in March 2019. The law calls for our electricity to be carbon-free by 2045, one of the strongest standards in the country. Efforts are also underway to create clean cars standards to promote the deployment of electric vehicles in the state.  New Mexico is also staking out a leading role in limiting emission of methane from oil and gas production. Sharply reducing methane emissions is seen as one of the easiest and fastest ways to start stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and start capping global warming.

Reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, capping orphaned wells, and installing solar and wind energy facilities can immediately employ oil and gas workers who are ready for a career transition. The creation of clean energy jobs, which are projected to grow faster than employment in other sectors, is supported by New Mexicans across the political spectrum. Diversifying our energy economy will also encourage other economic drivers like our growing outdoor recreation industry, too.

Four Corners Power Plant

Kadin Royston plays while waiting for her family’s water barrels to fill as the Four Corners Power Plant operates about 15 miles west of Farmington, New Mexico.
Photo: Brian Leddy

Know the Score > Take Action

See the Related VotesStrategies for Action

Related Votes for Energy & Climate Change

Topics:

  • Air Quality Air Quality
  • Effective Government Effective
    Government
  • Energy & Climate Change Energy &
    Climate Change
  • Environmental Justice Environmental
    Justice
  • Land Land
  • Water Water
  • Wildlife & Habitat Conservation Wildlife & Habitat
    Conservation

Priority Bill # Title Sponsors Topics CVNM
Position
Year
HB 42 Public Health and Climate Resiliency   more Kristina Ortez
Reena Szczepanski
Elizabeth Thomson
Elizabeth Stefanics
Support 2023
HB 185 Enviro Standards for Appliances & Fixtures   more Kristina Ortez
Patricia Roybal Caballero
Support 2023
HB 218 Low-Income Public Utility Rates   more Cynthia Borrego
Derrick J. Lente
Kristina Ortez
Angelica Rubio
Mimi Stewart
Support 2023
HB 276 Oil & Gas Permit Applications   more Christine Chandler
Andrea A. Romero
Support 2023
SB 53 Storage of Certain Radioactive Waste   more Jeff Steinborn
Matthew McQueen
Patricia Roybal Caballero
Debra M. Sariñana
Support 2023
SB 56 Distributed Generation Facility Supply Cap   more William P. Soules
Support 2023
SB 164 Future Oil & Gas Lease Royalty Rates   more Harold Pope
Bill Tallman
Debra M. Sariñana
Support 2023
SB 418 Oil & Gas Act Changes   more Leo Jaramillo
Support 2023
SB 520 Clean Future Act   more Mimi Stewart
Support 2023

Know the Score > Take Action

Strategies for Energy & Climate Change

Actions that promote clean energy and tackle climate change:

Thank you!

New Mexico is one of the national leaders in building a clean energy economy by adopting renewable energy standards — requiring utilities to generate a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, like solar and wind. Under Governor Lujan Grisham’s Executive Order on Climate, the standards were increased to 50% emissions reductions by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2045. The new standards have empowered the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to deny permits for new natural gas plants that would exceed the standards long before they were paid off, leaving ratepayers with the cost of those stranded assets. The PRC also unanimously approved the early closure of the San Juan Generating Station and its replacement with solar plus battery storage energy located in the impacted communities, supplemented with funds to aid worker and community transition. Since the adoption of a clean energy standard, our state’s clean energy industry has boomed, providing growing numbers of good-paying clean energy jobs.

Actions that hurt clean energy and exacerbate climate change:

No thank you!

Enchant Energy is proposing to build the world’s largest coal carbon capture and storage facility in northwestern New Mexico. Under their project plans, they hope to take ownership of the soon-to-close San Juan Generating Station coal plant and keep it operational, even though PNM has said they have no interest in energy from the Enchant project and the PRC has indicated it will quickly violate mandated emissions reductions targets. Enchant also has plans to retrofit the plant with technology that would capture the carbon pollution emitted by coal-fired plants. However, carbon capture technology still allows for a percentage of climate pollutants to enter the atmosphere, and also requires significant water consumption to operate. Enchant is currently hoping to keep the plant operational until the retrofits are able to be installed, which won’t happen until 2025. This would put the plant’s operation out of compliance with the Energy Transition Act, and result in harmful emissions and pollutants that will exacerbate the climate crisis.

Communicate with the Governor and your Legislators

Whether you’re congratulating them on their score or expressing your disappointment, be direct, courteous and polite.

The most important part is letting them know that you are paying close attention to how they vote or, in the case of the Governor, what actions she takes on legislation that affects our air, land, and water.

Calling your legislator directly and sending letters through regular mail remain by far the most effective ways to communicate with your legislators.

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor can always be contacted at the State Capitol. Except during the legislative session, state legislators should be contacted in their home districts, as listed on the current Legislators page.

To find your House District number and Representative, visit our map here.

To find your Senate District number and Senator, visit our map here.

We take on tough fights to protect New Mexico, but these efforts in the State Capitol and around the state require financial resources. We can only win when we work together. Please join other New Mexicans in becoming a Conservation Voter today!

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