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More pro-conservation executive action, legislation, and agency rulemaking has occurred in the first 3+ years of the Lujan Grisham administration than at any time previously.


We're proud of these accomplishments but we are still in the early stage on the road to an equitable zero-emission economy. The following is a list of the strong steps forward New Mexico has recently taken as well the remaining work that must be done to ensure a stable economy and environment for future generations. 

    The Governor has issued two fundamentally The Climate Executive Order (EO) 2019-003 - On Addressing Climate Change and Energy Waste Prevention Set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 45% of 2005 levels by 2030 and established a task force and directive to all agencies to assess their climate change impact and role. The 30x30 Executive Order (EO) 2021-052 - Protecting New Mexico’s Lands, Watersheds, Wildlife, and Natural Heritage Set a goal of having at least 30% of lands and waters in New Mexico in conservation, with an additional 20% designated as climate stabilization areas In addition, the Governor’s presence has significantly changed the actions of administrative agencies, especially the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). Both agencies suffered debilitating budget cuts and serious staff morale problems under the Martinez administration. Now, these agencies’ budgets are being rebuilt, not just to carry out their traditional work, but to implement large new programs, and agency heads are fully engaged in the Climate and 30x30 EO’s mandates that agencies assess and mitigate climate impacts from their activities, and protect our lands and waters.
    It is important that the Governor and the Legislature work together on conservation and climate action. The Governor can issue executive orders, but the Legislature needs to put forward and pass bills that provide the framework – and the funding – for the orders to move forward. With a pro-conservation legislature, New Mexico has taken significant steps toward building a renewable energy economy. The Climate Executive Order led to passage of the Energy Transition Act (ETA), setting a goal of 100% clean energy electricity by 2045. Despite challenges to the ETA, it has been supported in decisions made by the Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) in denying permits for new natural gas power plants and was upheld by the state Supreme Court. The PRC firmly denied a petition by PNM to delay the bonding of its liabilities for the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) and ordered PNM to begin crediting customers for the lower cost of electricity generation as soon as the SJGS closed, rather than wait until the next rate hearing. The bonding is key to providing funds to workers and communities impacted by closure of the plant and to lowering customers' electricity bills Passed legislation establishing Community Solar, later implemented by the Public Regulatory Commission. With release of DOE funds for state programs that focus on low-income users, the PRC has issued a Request for Information to community solar providers, which could lead to rapid development of community solar projects Passed legislation re-establishing the administrative enforcement authority of the Oil Conservation Division, strengthening their ability to hold the oil and gas industry accountable through fines and other actions Created the Outdoor Recreation Division in the Economic Development Department and an Outdoor Equity Fund for organizations working on increasing accessibility to the outdoors The Legislature passed the Sustainable Economy Task Force, which explicitly acknowledges the need to engage frontline communities in decision-making regarding the rollout of a clean energy economy and workforce. Recommendations released by the task force should be used in future climate legislation This last session saw passage of the Community Energy Efficiency Development Act to help fund energy efficiency projects for low-income residents to help lower their energy costs Governor Lujan Grisham and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver also championed legislation to expand voting rights for New Mexicans, particularly communities of color and traditionally disenfranchised regions of the state. Although the legislation failed to pass in 2022, this commitment to democracy reform and voting expansion demonstrates the Governor’s vision to increase the ability for New Mexicans to exercise their right to vote.
    The executive orders, annual inter-agency climate report findings, and legislative action require development and implementation of new rules and standards. In the Governor’s first term, the following major actions have taken place: The administration put their weight behind community advocacy efforts to halt the Gila Diversion, including submitting formal letters and documentation to reject the extension of a draft environmental improvement statement to slow and stall the diversion process. The Gila Diversion was ultimately ended in 2020 when the Interstate Stream Commission voted against supplying funding to complete an environmental impact statement on the diversion project. Methane venting and flaring rules to prevent venting and flaring during routine oil and gas production; implemented by the Oil Conservation Division of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. Ozone precursor rules established to prevent leaks of volatile organic compounds from oil and gas facilities; implemented by the Air Quality Bureau at New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). Advanced Clean Cars Rules were approved by the state Air Quality Bureau and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board. They adopt stricter emission standards for new cars and trucks offered for sale in the state, encouraging automakers to introduce low-emission and electric vehicles as early as 2023 models with full implementation starting with the 2026 model year (late 2025).
    Our mission is to build a zero-emission economy by 2050 through policy action. We need the Governor and state legislator's full attention and commitment to pass this type of policy in the 2023 legislative session.
    The State Legislature and other parties will propose seven candidates and the Governor will select three to sit on the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). These PRC appointees need to be fully engaged with the complex requirements of the Energy Transition Act (ETA) and the Climate Executive Order goals, while carrying out their mandate to protect consumers.
    We need the Governor’s full attention and commitment behind legislation to enable land acquisition, voluntary private conservation easements, and land and water projects to support the success of the 30x30 Executive Order (2021-052 - Protecting New Mexico’s Lands, Watersheds, Wildlife, and Natural Heritage) that set a goal of having at least 30% of lands and waters in New Mexico in conservation, with an additional 20% designated as climate stabilization areas.
    This is related to the 30x30 Executive Order (2021-052 - Protecting New Mexico’s Lands, Watersheds, Wildlife, and Natural Heritage). New Mexico is facing a dire water future and needs real leadership to mobilize expertise (including tribal, pueblo and land grant experience over centuries) and funding to build climate adaptation and resilience into our water and lands.
    We must take aggressive steps toward electrifying transportation. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) needs to move on: Advanced Clean Cars 2: Requires all vehicles sold in the state are zero-emission by 2035. Advanced Clean Trucks: Sets standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks with rising minimum percentages of total annual in-state sales. Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) Rules for Heavy Duty Trucks: Lower nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy duty – diesel – vehicles.
    We will work with the legislature, the federal government, automakers, and the private sector to build out New Mexico's Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in a way that makes sense for both urban and rural EV users. The first step began in mid-2022 with charging stations every 50 miles along the interstate highway system.
    This is probably the largest obstacle to an effective and just transition to a clean energy future. The oil and gas industry and their enablers use the ~40% of state revenues from oil and gas as an argument to unfetter the industry in the state and block or slow down the energy transition. The war in Ukraine and other geopolitical factors are also being pressed into service for the same end. On the other hand, Senator Heinrich and Representative Leger Fernandez have been exploring revenue replacement ideas at the federal level for states heavily dependent on oil and gas for their budgets and there are others contributing to resolving this impediment. In that light, it is certainly worth quoting the Governor, speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow: “This week was a true call to action for every city, state, province and nation on Earth. I’m bringing back to New Mexico ambitious commitments and valuable partnerships that will inform our continued action on climate in our state… In a state that’s an energy state, we have to lead by example. We have to get it right… All of our critical infrastructure and social services get funded by oil and gas. So for every single prior administration, the argument becomes, we can’t do anything to an industry irrespective of this existential threat because it funds public schools. That is ridiculous, that pervasive, perverse situation has to be upended. So we’ve done what you should do.”

We are at a turning point in New Mexico. Our climate is warming and changing at a pace beyond many other states, bringing massive wildfires, post-fire flooding, aridification, drying reservoirs and rivers, and disruption of centuries of traditional land-use management. These changes impact not only our communities, but also our wildlife and the larger ecosystem we are all a part of.


What's the next step? To combat the climate crisis we're facing, the State Legislature must support New Mexico’s clean future by passing a bold framework bill in 2023 for transitioning to an emissions-free economy by 2050.


This transition to a zero-emissions economy in the next 30 years will require direct coordination with the communities most impacted by climate pollution, like low-income, rural, and/or communities of color, to help ensure a just economic transition is fully realized. 

That's why we need you. Urge your State Legislators to commit to supporting a bold framework bill in the 2023 legislative session that builds a zero-emission economy by 2050. 

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