CVNM Conservation Scorecard – Conservation Voters New Mexico

Energy & Climate Change
Energy & Climate Change Votes ↓

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 renewables cost-effective and to minimize unintended consequences.

Making the “power shift” calls for major investments in green industry, including training a workforce for these jobs. The creation of green jobs — guiding the economy towards environmentally friendly, zero- and low-emission technologies while creating jobs in a down economy — is a relatively new, but extremely timely issue.

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

Example of action that promotes clean energy and tackles climate change:

New Mexico was 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 set at 10% by 2011, 15% by 2015, and 20% by 2020. As a result, our state’s clean energy industry has boomed, providing growing numbers of green jobs that pay well.

However, many other states have caught up with or exceeded our requirements, which is beginning to affect the health of our clean technology sector.

Example of action that hurts clean energy and exacerbates climate change:

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 here.


Related Votes

Priority # Name Sponsor(s) Issue(s) CVNM Postion Year Legislative Link Outcome CVNM Sort CVNM Sort #
PR HB 546 Amend Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards James Strickler Oppose 2011 HB 546 on nmlegis.gov HB 546 died in House Energy & Natural Resources Committee. 0 546
PR SB 442 Building Energy Disclosure Act Carlos Cisneros , Support 2011 SB 442 on nmlegis.gov SB 442 died in Senate Conservation Committee. 50 442
PR SB 30 Carbon Pollution Amendment , Oppose 2011 SB 30 on nmlegis.gov Amendment passed; as a result, Sen. Keller (the sponsor of the principal bill) withdrew his measure. 50 30
SB 237 Colleges in Energy Efficiency & Bonding Act , Support 2011 SB 237 on nmlegis.gov SB 237 passed the Senate (30-3) and the House (66-0), but was pocket-vetoed by Gov. Martinez. 50 237
PR HB 458 Consolidated Environmental Review Act , , , , , Support 2013 HB 458 on nmlegis.gov HB 458 died in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 0 458
PR HB 296/SB 283 Economic Development Utility Rates Oppose 2014 HB 296/SB 283 on nmlegis.gov HB 296 passed the House (47-17) but died in the Senate Conservation Committee. SB 283 died on the Senate floor calendar. 0 296
SJR 6 Eliminate Public Regulation Commission, CA , , , Oppose 2011 SJR 6 on nmlegis.gov SJR 6 died in Senate Rules Committee. 90 6
SB 391 Extend Solar Market Development Tax Credit Support 2015 SB 391 on nmlegis.gov SB 391 passed the Senate (37-5) and passed the House (39-24) but was pocket vetoed by the Governor. 50 391
SB 94 Industrial Hemp Farming Act Support 2015 SB 94 on nmlegis.gov SB 94 passed the Senate (33-8) and passed the House (54-12) but was vetoed by the Governor on April 10, 2015. 50 94
PR HJR 3 Legislative Nullification of Rules Andy Nuñez , , , , Oppose 2011 HJR 3 on nmlegis.gov HJR 3 died in House Judiciary Committee. 40 3
PR SB 421 Limit Local Gov’t & Zoning Commissions Oppose 2015 SB 421 on nmlegis.gov SB 421 died in the Senate Conservation Committee. 50 421
PR HB 286 Oil & Gas Financial Assurance , Support 2013 HB 286 on nmlegis.gov HB 286 died on the House floor (32-36). 0 286
PR HB 366 Oil & Gas State Preemption Oppose 2015 HB 366 on nmlegis.gov HB 366 passed the House (37-28) and died in the Senate Conservation Committee. 0 366
HB 302 Protection from Certain Scientific Topics Oppose 2011 HB 302 on nmlegis.gov HB 302 died in House Education Committee. 0 302
PR HB 445 Reduce Renewable Portfolio Standards Oppose 2015 HB 445 on nmlegis.gov HB 445 passed the House (33-32) and died in the Senate Conservation Committee. 0 445
PR HB 107 Reduced Tax Rate For Certain Oil & Gas Wells Oppose 2016 HB 107 on nmlegis.gov HB 107 died in the House Ways and Means Committee. 0 107
PR HB 579 Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emission Requirements Thomas Taylor , Oppose 2011 HB 579 on nmlegis.gov HB 579 died in House Energy & Natural Resources Committee. 0 579
HB 284/SB 431 Renewable Energy Facilities in Environmental Services Tax Support 2011 HB 284/SB 431 on nmlegis.gov HB 284 and SB 431died in Senate Finance Committee. 0 284
PR HB 266 Renewable Energy Procurement Limits Oppose 2013 HB 266 on nmlegis.gov HB 266 died in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 0 266
HB 175/SB 104 Renewable Energy Tax Credit Eligibility Support 2016 HB 175/SB 104 on nmlegis.gov HB 175 died in the House Ways and Means Committee. SB 104 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee. 0 175
PR SB 190/SB 459 Repeal Effectiveness of Some Rules , , Oppose 2011 SB 190/SB 459 on nmlegis.gov SB 190 and SB 459 died in Senate Judiciary Committee 0 190
PR HB 26/SB 13 Solar Market Development Tax Credit Changes Support 2016 HB 26/SB 13 on nmlegis.gov HB 26 died in the House Ways and Means Committee. SB 13 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee. 0 26
SJM 26 Study Exporting Coal , Oppose 2013 SJM 26 on nmlegis.gov SJM 26 died on the Senate floor calendar. 70 26
HB 285 Tax Rate Differential For Certain Oil Oppose 2016 HB 285 on nmlegis.gov HB 285 passed the House (59-7) but died in the Senate Finance Committee. 0 285
SB 34 Tax Rate Differential For Certain Oil Oppose 2016 SB 34 on nmlegis.gov SB 34 died in the Senate Finance Committee. 50 34
PR SB 415 Utility Cost Limits , Oppose 2011 SB 415 on nmlegis.gov SB 415 died on the Senate Floor calendar (no vote taken). 50 415