2023 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
New Mexico was responsible for more than 500 billion kg CO2e in downstream emissions from our oil and gas exports in 2022, equivalent to 134 coal-fired power plants, and that number is forecast to keep rising. Our impact on this crisis extends well beyond our own energy consumption each year, it extends to the catastrophic impacts of every gallon of oil and every cubic foot of methane that we pump and export each day. The decisions our legislature makes matter more than most, and yet they have failed to live up to that responsibility, perhaps due to the almost $500,000 received in contributions from energy companies and lobbyists in just the past 18 months!
New Energy Economy joins in solidarity with the No False Solutions Coalition to prioritize legislation that will reduce emissions at the speed demanded by science, reject false climate solutions that delay effective solutions, enforce regulations and accountability for cleanup of the toxic byproducts of extractive industries, invest in a just transition that ensures impacted communities and workers dependent on industry have the education, financial support, and economic opportunities they need, and advance energy democracy in our state.
OUR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
SB165 - The Local Choice Energy Act makes a small but meaningful legal change that would allow local governments and tribes to generate or purchase renewable electricity and sell it to us at lower prices. Local Choice Energy allows local governments and Native American Tribes to pool (or aggregate) their electricity load in order to purchase and/or develop power on behalf of their residents and businesses. Established by law in ten states thus far, LCE is an energy supply model that works in partnership with the state’s existing investor-owned utilities (PNM, EPE, and SPS), which continue to deliver power and maintain the grid. Instead of sending profits to Wall Street, Local Choice Energy invests in the resiliency of our communities, providing reliable, cheaper electricity, while creating local jobs and improving local economies. Local Choice energy will:
1- create jobs and increase wealth in our communities
2- lower electricity bills for residents and small businesses
3- help our communities go 100% renewable quickly
4- give our communities choices and control over how our electricity is generated and priced
Local Choice Energy is proven, reliable, and successful, serving millions of Americans in more than 1300 communities in 10 states with affordable renewable electricity that creates jobs and invests in local economies.
Advocacy efforts for this campaign are led by the Public Power NM coalition of which we are a part. Join the campaign at www.publicpowernm.org.
GENERATING FACILITY AND MINE REMEDIATION ACT
HB142 - PNM has closed its flagship coal plant, San Juan Generating Station, and the adjacent San Juan Mine, after 50 years of operation. An independent comprehensive assessment must be performed in order to develop a comprehensive cleanup plan that protects groundwater and the San Juan River from dangerous coal ash contamination. The bill allocates money to NMED/EMNRD to employ professionals (or hire outside consultants) to conduct an independent study of the contamination of plant and mine, to devise a plan in consultation with the local community to actually clean up the plant and mine to ensure that toxic metal contaminants do not leach into the ground and leak into waterways or otherwise harm the public, animals or agriculture and cause negative public health consequences, and to monitor & enforce plan implementation and report back to the legislature on progress.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE RESILIENCY ACT - SB5 & HB42
SB5 & HB42- We need to protect all New Mexicans from threats to our health caused by extreme weather events related to climate change, which are causing harm today and will be more frequent and intense in the future. This Act will help address these threats to public health by:
Creating a Public Health and Climate Resiliency Program at the Department of Health to build capacity and expertise, support development and implementation of response systems, and improve interagency collaboration.
Establishing a Public Health and Climate Resiliency Fund to assist and enable local and tribal communities to adapt to climate change and respond to public health emergencies from extreme weather events.
These two approaches, combined with meaningful engagement with the communities most harmed by climate change, will help improve health outcomes, equity, climate adaptation, and climate resiliency in New Mexico.
EMISSIONS REDUCTION LEGISLATION
Not yet filed - A bill codifying professed emissions reduction goals into state law. New Energy Economy will support this bill if and when it relies on real climate solutions - not market based "net-zero" accounting gimmicks, and sets concrete emissions reduction standards that reverse our emissions and rapidly transition our economy by 2030 - the deadline set by science. Further analysis will be offered once the bill is filed.
ECONOMIC TRANSITION DIVISION ACT
HB188 - The Economic Transition Act of 2023 will create a new Division within the New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) and a fund managed by NMEDD. It would focus on creating new jobs, supporting workforce development and investing in infrastructure primarily in communities dependent on natural resource extraction. It builds on New Mexico's economic diversification and workforce development efforts by creating a comprehensive strategy, dedicated staff and a fund to make deep, early and long-term investments in these communities. It would also serve as a hub for distributing federal funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure law to local governments and community groups that service economically disadvantaged and disproportionately impacted communities.