Key Conservation Issues:

Energy & Climate Change

Relying on oil, coal and natural gas for the bulk of our energy needs is ultimately a losing proposition. Fossil fuels will peak and run out someday. In the meantime, they’re becoming increasingly less efficient and more environmentally harmful to extract. Burning them perpetuates so many problems (water, soil and air contamination, habitat destruction, oil spills, to name a few) that it’s clear that we need to diversify our sources of energy as soon as possible.

In addition, 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.

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 energy to be carbon-free by 2045, one of the strongest standards in the country. The creation of clean energy jobs — guiding the economy towards environmentally friendly, zero- and low-emission technologies while creating jobs in a down economy — is supported by New Mexicans across the political spectrum.

Clean energy jobs are appropriate and promising for individuals across New Mexico’s workforce — ranging from entry-level to advanced, highly technical positions. Despite the variation in education and skill requirements, clean energy jobs pay more than average ($22.05 in 2009, compared to $18.93 for all other occupations). And while specific numbers vary by study, clean energy jobs in New Mexico are projected to grow faster than others, which is great news in these troubling economic times.

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 28 Resource Sustainability and Security Act   more Melanie A. Stansbury Support 2019
HB 210 Community Solar Act   more Patricia Roybal Caballero,
Elizabeth Stefanics,
Andrea A. Romero
Support 2019
HB 289 Fund Investment in Renewable Energy   more Sheryl Williams Stapleton Support 2019
HB 291 Efficient Use of Energy Act Changes   more Andrea A. Romero Support 2019
HB 398 Oil, Gas and Vented Gas Royalties   more Derrick J. Lente Support 2019
HB 440 Solar Energy Improvement Assessments   more Debra M. Sariñana,
Abbas Akhil,
Joseph L. Sanchez
Support 2019
HB 521 PRC Application for Vehicle Electricity   more Georgene Louis,
Angelica Rubio,
Pat Woods,
Phelps Anderson,
Joy Garratt
Support 2019
HB 547 Workforce Clean Energy Economy Study   more Javier Martínez,
Angelica Rubio
Support 2019
SB 51 Renewable Energy Services - State Facilities   more Jeff Steinborn Support 2019
SB 456 Electric Utility Resource Procurement   more Joseph Cervantes,
Abbas Akhil,
Andrea A. Romero
Support 2019
SB 489 Energy Transition Act   more Brian F. Egolf,
Patricia Roybal Caballero,
Nathan P. Small,
Jacob R. Candelaria,
Mimi Stewart
Support 2019
SB 499 Climate Change Compliance Tax Credits   more William E. Sharer Oppose 2019
SB 500 Oil, Gas, and Vented Gas Royalties   more Bill B. O'Neill Support 2019
SB 518 New Solar Market Development Tax Credit   more Mimi Stewart Support 2019

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 driving the clean energy economy by adopting renewable energy standards — requiring utilities to generate a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, like solar and wind. The standards were increased this year to 50% by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2045. Since the adoption of a clean energy standard, our state’s clean energy industry has boomed, providing growing numbers of clean energy jobs that pay well.

Actions that hurt clean energy and exacerbate climate change:

No thank you!

In November 2011, Gov. Martinez’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) — a board whose members are significantly aligned with polluting industries — began hearings to dismantle rules that would reduce New Mexico’s carbon pollution. Adopted after dozens of hours of public comment, expert testimony, and cross-examination, these rules aimed to create new clean energy jobs and combat climate change. In December 2011, the board voted to overturn the state’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade program; and in March 2012, it proceeded to also overturn the state’s carbon cap rule.

Efficiency is by far the most effective energy policy there is to save money, generate jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and alleviate the environmental and health impacts of fossil fuel industries. The less energy we use, the fewer negative impacts we suffer, plain and simple. In 2009, New Mexico adopted a new energy-efficient building code that would have saved consumers money on utility bills, while spurring job creation in the energy efficiency sector and combating climate change. In June 2011, however, the Construction Industries Commission (CIC) reversed course and dismantled the energy conservation code, providing no explanation for their actions. This decision hurt New Mexico consumers and workers. More details on what happened can be found in the Albuquerque Journal.

Source:
New Mexico Green Jobs Report: 2011, NM Dept. of Workforce Solutions

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.

Find your Legislator

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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