It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times

Dickens had a habit of turning phrases that would resonate for centuries and our Dickens quote applies quite well to this legislative session. The 2023 session is so full of welcome wins on women’s right, voting rights, and likely wins on other very good bills, nearing the finish line– HB 547–the best budget bill I’ve ever seen in the Roundhouse and inching toward the Governor’s desk. But these are also the worst of times, with duplicitous or tepid climate bills (HB12 and SB 520), so we need to remain engaged, even if operating on fumes. An update on three important bills. HB 12, SB 520 (Clean Future Act) and HB 547.

There are urgent and important actions to take on the two climate bills featured in this blog, Read on for context, communication suggestions & contact info.

SB 520 – Enacting the Clean Futures Act: A bill badly in Need of Amendments

Let’s start with the good news here. We agree and support state efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and appreciate how bill sponsors have been responsive to input from environmental organizations and we especially appreciate the sponsors responding to that input by eliminating the net zero, offset and carbon trading aspects of the bill, which we believe is harmful and undermines effective regulation.

While this was our largest concern with SB520 it is not our only concern and so we remain opposed to this legislation until we can see three critical changes in the bill.

1)     Include downstream accounting of emissions:

Given New Mexico’s continuing global carbon impact from increased extraction in the Chaco region and Permian Basin, it’s essential that we include downstream emissions tracking from NM oil and gas extraction in the reporting section of the bill. We are not persuaded that this will significantly increase the costs of implementation, as OCD already tracks O&G production and assigning carbon output values to this production is not an onerous task.

2)    Fully fund EMNRD & NMED for environmental enforcement actions, andto not use that funding for hydrogen planning & development.  

As reported, in 2022, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (OCD) — the state’s oil and gas monitoring body — has only 11 inspectors dedicated to field work and has vacancies for two more. The Air Quality Bureau (AQB) at the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has six inspectors, but they monitor a lot more than just oil and gas operations.[1] That means fewer than a dozen full-time, oil-and-gas-only field monitors to cover more than 52,000 active wells in the state. That’s not to mention thousands more injection wells, with more and more wells drilled every day. That is not adequate levels of inspection and reduces regulation to industry self- report. And guess what? Industry reports almost no leaks. We need inspectors to inspect and we need inspection to hold the industry accountable.

3)    Ensure that “beneficial reuse” won’t be used for hydrogen.

 We do not support efforts to squeeze hydrogen into bills. and want assurance that reuse has nothing to do with hydrogen.

With these changes we would see this bill as an excellent start toward holding our gas & oil operators accountable. But the devil is in the details and so we insist on these amendments.

We also need to observe that a bill of this importance should not be introduced in a dummy bill in the last two weeks of the session, especially when the bill was developed in a Conservation Voters of NM silo with input sought only after the bill had been designed. Our environmental community is better served by working proactively and collaboratively. But CVNM has graciously sought input now and, as noted above, conceded on our largest concerns (off sets and net zero language).

Please use the above speaking points to write to Sen. Conservation Committee members tonight ( hearing ids tomorrow at 9–see alert sent earlier this evening), using the summary above to organize your comments. Stress that with amendments you could support this bill. But that those amendments are needed to secure your support.) Contact info below.



HB 12: The Bill We Thought We Killed but is Rewarded with $50M in the Current Budget

The bill is now officially dead and buried thanks to vigorous opposition and the bill sponsor’s late realization that the anticipated strong support from the tribal community, was in fact, strong opposition. But the work never ends as we killed the bill now, we need to kill the funding.

Call or email Senate Finance committee and say:  “My name is xx. I live in xx.  I’m curious what the $50 million for the Economic Development Department for Advanced Energy Federal matches is in the budget bill. Why is this huge amount of money in the budget when it doesn’t seem to have a viable bill attached to it? I’d like to see Climate Solutions and Just Transition bills funded with this money until the public has a more clear view of what this money is for.” Contact info for SFC members is at the bottom of this post.

A Very Moral, Very Compassionate House Budget Bill Deserves Our Strong Support

MLK & Rev Barber called budgets moral documents well before Retake did, but we assert it often and each year find us arguing to amend the budget to include child tax credits or changes to the personal income tax. But this year, the bill developed in the House is damn near perfect. It needs our support. Kudos to Voices for Children for leading the charge. Read on.

HB 547 House Omnibus Budget Bill

Retake Our Democracy has long viewed budgets as moral documents as they reflect where you are willing to use your Revenues and where you are not willing to use your revenues.  Who you will help and who will go without help. It also reflects who the state thinks should pay the necessary tax revenues, who will sacrifice and how much will they sacrifice for the common good. In seven years of advocacy at the Roundhouse HB 547 is the single best budget bill I have seen. It masterfully balances the need for state revenues to support programs for education, public safety, infrastructure and more while also investing those tax dollars directly in people and small business owners.

We want to offer a deep shout out to New Mexico Voices for Children for their stellar leadership on all things Tax and Rev. They use the entire year to educate legislators and stakeholders about the different aspects of tax bills and how they work together to create a caring, compassionate and sustainable budget. If passed as currently drafted HB 547  will create a tax system with an equity lens. Each of the three components we feel are most important are each transparently contained in separate bills and passed through at least two rigorous committee hearings..

Tomorrow, we will write more about this bill, its future travels and what you can do to help ensure this tax & revenue fantasy becomes a reality. We shared this preview just so we could end on a positive note.

in Solidarity & Hope,

Paul & Roxanne

For SB 520 Contact Senate Conservation Committee Members TONIGHT

Bulk mail: “Joseph Cervantes” <>, “David M. Gallegos” <>, “Carrie Hamblen” <>, “Steven P. Neville” <>, “Harold Pope” <>, “Gregg Schmedes” <>, “Antoinette Sedillo Lopez” <>, “William P. Soules” <>, “Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics” <>

For HB 12 Contact Sen Finance Committee Members This Week

  • Chair: George K. Munoz (D). District 4 (Cibola, McKinley & San Juan). Room 325B, 986-4371. Email:
  • Vice Chair: Nancy Rodriguez (D). District 24 (Santa Fe). Room 325A, 986-4264. Email:
  • Ranking Member: William E. Sharer (R). District 1 (San Juan). Room 415H, 986-4381. Email:
  • Member: William F. Burt (R). District 33 (Chaves, Lincoln & Otero). Room 415C, 986-4366. Email:
  • Member: Pete Campos (D). District 8 (Colfax, Guadalupe, Harding, Mora, Quay, San Miguel & Taos). Room 302B, 986-4311. Email:
  • Member: Crystal R. Diamond (R). District 35 (Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna & Sierra). Room 414C, 986-4703. Email:
  • Member: Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales (D). District 6 (Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe & Taos). Room 218A, 986-4362. Email:
  • Member: Siah Correa Hemphill (D). District 28 (Catron, Grant & Socorro). Room 416F, 986-4863. Email:
  • Member: Michael Padilla (D). District 14 (Bernalillo). Room , . Email:
  • Member: Jeff Steinborn (D). District 36 (Doña Ana). Room 302A, 986-4862. Email:
  • Member: Pat Woods (R). District 7 (Curry, Quay & Union). Room 415D, 986-4393. Email:

Bulk mail: use BCC: “William F. Burt” <>, “Pete Campos” <>, “Crystal R. Diamond” <>, “Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales” <>, “Siah Correa Hemphill” <>, “George K. Munoz” <>, “Michael Padilla” <>, “Nancy Rodriguez” <>, “William E. Sharer” <>, “Jeff Steinborn” <>, “Pat Woods” <>

Categories: State Budget

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1 reply

  1. HB 547 now proposes to reduce rebates to $300/$600. As you say Paul, “Retake Our Democracy has long viewed budgets as moral documents as they reflect where you are willing to use your Revenues and where you are not willing to use your revenues”

    I guess we now have another indication of the moral compass of our elected leaders.

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