New Mexico’s next 2022 legislative session comes at a time of transition for the state’s energy industries, which are a major economic engine for the state’s economy.
Oil and gas production, one of the state’s largest industries, continued to provide strong financial returns in New Mexico as fossil fuel markets recover from a slowdown amid the pandemic of COVID-19.
Such production has accounted for about a third of the state budget in recent years, and New Mexico has ranked second in the country for oil production and active drilling rigs for crude and oil. natural gas.
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But renewable sources like wind and solar power have recently started to emerge in New Mexico as lawmakers and the administration of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham sought to diversify the state’s economy and reduce pollution.
The two main state agencies responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry and the state’s shift to renewable energy sources have submitted budget requests for fiscal year 2023, running from July 1, 2022 to June 30 2023.
The Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources (EMNRD) and the New Mexico Department of the Environment (NMED) have both called for funding increases that agency officials say would help departments to function better in environmental protection and the continued management of energy development.
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Here are the key takeaways from the EMRND and NMED budget requests that will be considered by the legislature in its 2022 session starting in January.
EMHRN calls for greater investment in conservation and efforts to combat climate change
The Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources has proposed a budget of approximately $ 82 million for FY2023 intended to increase the staff of several sub-agencies within the REMDD while improving infrastructure and working towards the achievement of the state’s climate change objectives.
The request would repair needed budget cuts during the health crisis and COVID-19 economic downturn, fully funding the state parks division and adding staff to the petroleum conservation division – the main branch of REMD compliance for fossil fuel producers.
In its proposal, the EMHRN also affirmed that the funding would go to enable the agency to invest in new programs to supervise the oil, gas and mining industries while combating pollution and preserving natural resources.
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If approved, the EMHRN’s budget request would increase inspections of oil and gas installations, allow more abandoned wells to be plugged and clean up land affected by extraction.
It would also be used to develop renewable energy while updating New Mexico’s power grid and funding outreach to more “clean energy” businesses, the proposal says, while working towards the goal. recent state, via a decree, to retain 30% of public land. development by 2030.
“Investing in the EMHRN today will benefit New Mexicans for years to come. By adding resources now, we will be in a better position to ensure industry compliance, develop renewable energy and bring new economic opportunities to New Mexico, ”said Sarah Cottrell Propst, secretary to the cabinet of the REMDD.
“The budget proposal for FY 23 is a smart expansion that will provide support to our dedicated staff, enable efficient implementation of our programs and make the EMHRN more resilient as an agency for years to come. ”
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Ministry of the Environment calls for increased funding to expand pollution controls
NMED’s budget request included a $ 7.1 million increase for FY2023 to incent investment in renewable energy and continue work to mitigate climate change by reducing pollution.
With this increase, the NMED budget would increase from $ 16 million to $ 23.1 million.
The department would use the additional dollars to implement its “clean fuel standard” to decarbonize and reduce emissions from transportation.
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The program could generate up to $ 47 million in economic investment each year, the NMED estimated, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles by 6.8 million metric tonnes per year.
Other demand-funded initiatives included the development of a “clean hydrogen hub” in New Mexico that would work on the production and export of clean hydrogen as an energy source, seeking a part $ 8 billion in federal funding for such efforts, including federal infrastructure. bill and capitalize on the $ 300 billion planned investments in hydrogen by 2030.
The NMED would also use the funds to launch a program to keep cannabis-infused products safe after New Mexico recently legalized recreational use, while funding drinking water and sanitation infrastructure and providing services. free water tests for the local public system.
The request also included funds to improve monitoring of solid waste facilities statewide and continue to address pollution concerns through litigation and monitoring.
“Investing in climate solutions is investing in clean energy jobs,” NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said. “We are asking for additional resources to promote environmental protection and our economy. “
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-618-7631, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.