Martinez Administration State Energy Plan Takes New Mexico Backwards

The “New Mexico Energy Policy & Implementation Plan,” or State Energy Plan, released by the Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department represents a clear intention to promote bad energy policy in New Mexico. The plan would continue the practice of tying the state’s economy and energy production to outdated, dirty sources of energy, while ignoring cheaper and more abundant clean renewable energy options. The document serves as a guideline for legislative action, so you can bet we’ll start seeing bills to set this plan in motion as early as the upcoming legislative session.

Here are a few of the worst proposals in the plan:

  • “Identify and attract petrochemical and manufacturing companies that utilize natural gas to New Mexico, particularly to San Juan County.”
  • San Juan County is ground zero for some of the most extremely concentrated methane pollution on the planet. In addition to being a potent greenhouse gas, methane (one of the primary components in natural gas) creates more ground level ozone, which “can decrease lung function, trigger exacerbations of asthma and increase rates of hospitalization for asthma.” Any uptick in the production capacity of the Four Corners area would almost certainly come with an increase in hydraulic fracturing activity, known as fracking, and uncertain impacts on the drinking water supply.
  • “Support feasibility studies of exporting coal to the European Union or Mexico, and include consideration in a rail feasibility study for northwest New Mexico.”
  • Governor Martinez wants to waste New Mexico taxpayer dollars to confirm what the rest of the world already knows: coal is dying due to health impacts, lack of economic viability and its significant contribution to climate change. Exporting coal to the EU? The UK just announced plans to shut down all of its coal plants by 2025, and the rest of the EU is unified in its intention to halt coal usage. Mexico is also seeing a significant decline in its coal consumption. These countries aren’t willing to accept the pollution that comes with burning coal. What the State Energy Plan proposes means New Mexicans would be suffering the consequences of dirty energy to power homes and economies elsewhere.
  • “Coal should be kept as a portion of the electric generation mix to maintain a diversity of baseload supply.”
  • This is the definition of “picking winners,” and Gov. Martinez has picked the worst winner of all. Renewable energy generation is cleaner, more price competitive and has the added bonus of stabilizing rate fluctuations. There are plenty of ways to add diversity to the baseload without pre-selecting dirty and non-cost-competitive generation sources.
  • “Reinforce state primacy in regards to oil and gas regulation”.
  • This is code for removing the rights of counties and municipalities to pass ordinances, zoning or rules that would limit oil and gas activity within their jurisdictions – known as pre-emption. Local communities have a right to ensure that their environmental values are reflected in their laws.

Read more about pre-emption and how it impacts your community in our Conservation Scorecard Issue Spotlight at CVNM.org/Scorecard.

 

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