For Immediate Release

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, the Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities bill (SB 312, Stewart/Small) failed in the Senate Corporations Committee when a do-pass motion failed on a 5-3 vote. The legislation would increase the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a state policy that requires utilities to purchase a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, bringing it up to 80 percent renewable electricity by 2040. The Senate Corporations heard public testimony on the bill from a packed room. The vast majority of the testimony was supportive of the legislation and came from New Mexicans from all across the state. Opposition testimony came mostly from utility companies. According to the 2017 Conservation in the West poll, 72% of New Mexicans say our dependence on fossil fuels is a serious problem and 68% of New Mexicans chose solar and wind energy as the top two energy sources they want implemented in New Mexico.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities bill failed to move forward today. I believe the public is far ahead of politicians in knowing that New Mexico must transition to renewable energy. This bill is a bold vision and would have helped create much needed jobs in our state,” said Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo).

“I appreciated the robust discussion, incredible show of public support and the clear understanding that clean, renewable energy is a job creator today in the Senate Corporation Committee,” said Rep. Nathan Small (D-Doña Ana). “I am disappointed that we missed the opportunity for the full Senate to debate SB 312.”

New Mexico has is the second sunniest state in the country and twelfth windiest.  New Mexico should be a national leader of clean renewable energy, yet states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Kansas harness more renewable energy than New Mexico. The current Renewable Portfolio Standard ends in 2020.

“This session is the first opportunity for newly elected progressive leaders to do what New Mexicans elected them to do: create more opportunity for families and businesses and create better jobs for everyone – goals New Mexicans expect us to work toward,” says Ben Shelton, CVNM Legislative Director. “The vote to kill SB312 in Senate Corporations today is another example of well-connected politicians and corporations putting their political ideologies ahead of our economy and our families’ everyday well-being.”

“New Mexicans want to see us invest in more clean, renewable energy and we saw that today when people came from all over the state to support SB 312 in the Senate Corporations Committee,” said Sanders Moore, director of Environment New Mexico. “New Mexico can, and should, be a national leader in renewable energy and take advantage of our world class wind, solar, and geothermal resources.”

“If New Mexico wants to be a leader in clean energy, which we should be, then our legislature needed to pass SB312 to keep up with other states like California, Oregon, New York, Hawaii, and others, who get it. New Mexicans, especially our young people, want to move rapidly away from burning fossil fuels for electricity. They want the good, healthy jobs in solar and wind that this bill would have brought, and they want a safe climate. Today the Senate Corporations Committee acted against the wishes of 83% of New Mexicans. When we ask why our state’s economy is stagnant and why our young people leave the state, we know where to look for answers”, said Tom Solomon, co-coordinator of 350 New Mexico.

The Environmental Alliance of New Mexico, a coalition of more than 30 conservation, environmental justice and social justice groups, endorsed this legislation as one of five issues on its Common Agenda for the 2017 Legislative Session.

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Contact: Sanders Moore, Environment New Mexico at 404-276-0946 or sanders@environmentnewmexico.org
Tom Solomon, 350.org at 505-328-0619 or tasolomon6@gmail.com
Liliana Castillo, CVNM at 575-219-9619 or liliana@cvnm.org