SB 413 would have limited the use of the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund for agency employee salaries. The bill provided that beginning in fiscal year 2023, 85% of the expenditures from the fund would be used to pay for contract services for plugging, remediation and restoration work.
HB 275 would have allowed state and local governments to enter into partnerships with private sector partners to facilitate public projects. This was a sweeping measure that would have privatized projects that are most appropriately developed and maintained by public entities such as water and sewage systems. Experiences by other governments in privatizing public services (e.g. transportation, water treatment, education, public safety) have rarely been successful, usually resulting in higher costs, lower quality and expensive legal battles in the long-term.
HB 406 would have amended the Renewable Energy Act to include nuclear energy as a renewable energy source. Fissile material such as uranium is not a renewable resource, and its mining and use in nuclear-fueled power plants generates extremely toxic waste.
HB 507 would have removed the requirement that a permit must be obtained prior to commencement of construction of a new source of possible air contaminants.
SB 394 would have provided for county industrial revenue bonds within the Industrial Revenue Bond Act, and made changes to the list of projects that may be funded by these bonds. Significantly, it added mining projects and refineries, treatment plants or processing plants of energy products, subsidizing private for-profit and extractive industries with revenue bonds paid for by taxpayers.
SB 307 would have re-established administrative and civil penalty authority for the Oil Conservation Division (OCD) to pursue violations of the Oil and Gas Act that result in discharge of contaminants. This authority was lost in the Marbob Energy Corp. v. N.M. Oil Conservation Comm. case. The court determined that legislature needed to give the authority to OCD to collect these penalties, and that OCD could not grant the authority to itself. This bill would have addressed a clear need in OCD’s regulatory enforcement scheme.
HB 245 would have shortened the period of time (from six months to sixty days) that biodiesel requirements could be suspended due to unavailability or cost of biodiesel. A shorter period of suspension would have reduced emissions from pure diesel operations.
HB 186 would have required notice of pesticide application in public buildings or on public grounds, except those used for commercial agriculture. This “right to know” measure would have helped protect public health and ensure that people can take the proper precautions to prevent pesticide exposure. Vote scored is on the Tabling motion in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
From toxic levels of mercury in our waterways to global warming, the consequences of using coal as an energy source are obvious. By pushing a coal export study, SJM 26 sought to offset the environmental gains of reduced reliance on coal here in the U.S. with the potential of exporting coal—with all of its associated public health and environmental damages—to Asia. Instead, SJM 26 should have explored ways to stimulate the Navajo economy outside of continued coal mining, including solar and other renewable energy development.
Taking defense of unlawful polluters to the extreme, HB 652 and SB 194 proposed to exempt illegal, improper, and negligent agricultural operations from nuisance laws.