In NM Special Session, Time to Invest in Clean Energy

The New Mexico legislature will convene a special session in April to address budget items. It’s an opportunity to lead the clean energy transition.

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The New Mexico legislature will convene a special session in April to address budget items. It’s an opportunity to lead the clean energy transition.

In the regular session, the legislature passed the state’s largest budget, with the single largest year over year increase on record. The budget included some modest and important investments in weatherization, housing and improved environmental protection, but failed to achieve the ambitious levels of investment needed for New Mexico to lead the clean energy transition.  With record revenues, the state still underfunds key environmental agencies, preventing them from implementing and enforcing key environmental and public health safeguards (As painfully demonstrated by the shocking gas leaks in southwest NM—more inspectors would more than pay for themselves in increased revenue to the state). 

Among the items being considered for the special session is a tax rebate to address impacts on household income from inflation. Among the concerns are the high gasoline prices caused by oil companies profiteering from the crisis in the Ukraine. Lower income families are hurting, so targeted benefits are welcome.

Still, one-time tax rebates will do nothing to help New Mexicans lower and stabilize their energy bills in the long term. Nor will it help New Mexico improve energy security by replacing the fossil economy that supports petro-dictators with a diverse, stable and low-cost clean energy economy.


What would help? 

  • Providing a $5000 EV tax credit for lower income families and $2500 tax credit for everyone else.
  • Double tax credits for sustainable buildings, including for electric air sourced heat pumps.
  • Weatherizing every low-income home by adding $50 million a year to the Community Energy Efficiency Development block grants. At that level of funding, we could weatherize every low-income home in New Mexico in about ten years. 
  • Using billions of new, flexible highway program dollars in the bipartisan infrastructure law to build electric vehicle charging stations, deliver free, expanded and zero-carbon electric transit options, and pedestrian and bike safety infrastructure.
  • Fully funding the Environment Department and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to address climate change and adequately inspect oil and gas operations and ensure we lose no more gas, or revenue, to sloppy oil and gas producers that fail to fix leaks

If New Mexico legislators want to meet this moment of crisis, help New Mexicans lower and stabilize energy bills, and do our part to rid the world of dependence on petro-dictators, they should do more than write election-year checks, they should use the special session to invest in the clean energy transition and ensure New Mexicans can participate in, and benefit from, that transition.  

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