In Midst Of An Oil Boom, New Mexico Sets Bold New Climate Goals


Support for NPR and the following message come from Amelia Island, Florida a barrier island on the northeast coast that captivates visitors with thirteen miles of uncrowded beach championship golf, natural beauty and a historic district Amelia Island dot com slash NPR. President Trump's administration may be doubling down on fossil fuels, but many states are not yesterday lawmakers in an especially sunny state, New Mexico approved a plan for rapid transition to renewable sources like solar and wind the plan is considered even more ambitious than the ambitious plan in California New Mexico may soon use a lot less fossil fuel. Although New Mexico is still producing it NPR's Nathan rot reports. New Mexico has the only round shape state capitol building in the country, which means it's always a bit hard to find a quiet corner. But that's especially true. These days the Blue Wave of last year's midterms swept over the enchantment state with Democrats taking control of the house Senate and governor's office, they've setting ambitious legislative agenda that's bringing supporters and protesters of every type to Santa Fe this day. It's environmental advocates and co workers the latter still in their work uniforms shuffling into a stuffy overcrowded room for a hearing on the energy transition act. A massive piece of legislation that would require the state us one hundred percent carbon free energy by twenty forty five. That means no more coal and number natural gas in just twenty five years. Get started here. Lucky for you. We can skip this hour's long hearing and just go straight to the source. My name is Nathan small in. I represent house district thirty six in New Mexico legislature small is from Las Cruces home to hatch. Green chili and he's one of the sponsors of the energy transition act. We're going to end up with a renewable portfolio standard that is among the leaders or perhaps is the leader for the entire country, which is striking because the state currently gets more than half of its electricity from coal, but that's changing we have the number two potential when it comes to solar resources nationwide. And we're told that it's number twelve when it comes to win. If there was ever a state that can transition to renewables, and then get it on the market. It's off New Mexico governor Michelle Luhan Grisham, and because California's following the same standard they're going to need to look to states like New Mexico to sell them this energy. That's one of the economic reasons at Christian is expected to sign the Bill later this week, but it's far from the only one she gives this is a state that is not in climate denial. We are clear that we have basically a decade to begin to turn things around into Mexico needs and will do its part the energy transition act will cut in-state greenhouse gas emissions dramatically, but New Mexico's role in the global climate picture is a complicated. One. Just look at the southeast corner of the state. We're quiet. Two lane roads have become major thoroughfares with truck after truck after Trump. The cool desert nights are now punctuated with venting flares and the steady Thrum of bobbing. Pump jets. Southeast New Mexico is oil country. It's part of the Permian basin home to the largest continuous oil and gas pool ever assessed in the United States. And folks here will tell you at oilfield supply stores like Robert Higgins, and Wally Leicester's that sure they've seen booms before and busts a disco can go go in there. Nope. Would you say it's crazy would say it is crazy. All of this production has been a windfall for New Mexico. The state is looking at a billion dollar budget surplus, thanks to oil and gas revenues money. It's putting towards the state struggling public schools and other needs. And there's a fear here that the legislation in Santa Fe, which some disparagingly. Call New Mexico's green new deal will hurt that production killing the goose that lays the gold mood. But the truth is it won't the energy transition act will require New Mexico to power itself with renewables, Denise four retired environmental law, professor from the university of New Mexico points out though that nearly all of the oil and gas being pumped in the Permian is exported. We really can't meet the greenhouse climate goals that we have to meet in develop all that oil and gas consuming all that oil and gas. She says would essentially be a climate change game over what a dilemma because it isn't consumption from New Mexico. That's gonna make a difference. It's it's the export market at this time. But the option of stopping oil and gas development, keeping it in the ground for says isn't much of an option at all. At least not now much of the drilling is happening on federal land. And the state is dependent on oil and gas revenues. It's a dilemma Ford says that the entire US could soon face more and more states are committing to renewable energy. Sources but the US is set to soon become the top oil exporter in the world. Thanks in large part to the Permian. The irony of the situation is not lost on New Mexico's governor back at the state capital in this complex moment. We have to demonstrate that renewable energy is available is redundant is reliable. And then that changes the debate about fossil fuel exports. But today, we're not in that position. For now. Grisham says she's going to work with oil and guests to limit greenhouse gas emissions. And hopefully, she says set an example for other states to follow Nathan rot NPR news.

Coming up next