Environment Bill Summaries

coyote-2Bill Title: Wildlife Trafficking Act

Bill #: SB081 – Sponsored by Mimi Stewart

Bill Summary: This bill makes it unlawful for a person to purchase, sell, offer to sell, or possess w
ith intent to sell any covered animal species part or product. The bill also provides for exceptions to the law, penalties for breaking the law, and for the responsibility of both NM Wildlife Officers and peace officers to enforce the law.

Why is it Important: Wildlife trafficking is a growing industry across the world that is tied into and helps fund terrorism, arms trafficking, human trafficking and drug trafficking. The United States is the second largest market for illegally trafficked animals and animal parts, and despite federal legislation that bans these practices, legal and practical loopholes persist. Mexico is a known center for wildlife trafficking and high volumes of trafficking are suspected through border areas in New Mexico.

How to get alerts: Environmental Coalition (Sierra Club, 350.org, New Energy Economy, Environment NM) – Contact Daniel.Lorimier@sierraclub.org and 575 740 2927

solarHB 61: Solar Tax Credit.

Bill Summary:  House Bill 61 reinstates the Solar Market Development Tax Credit. Rather than the 10 percent credit of the original 2006 credit, this amendment, gradually reduces the credit percentage for projects completed by prior to January 1, 2025. The maximum tax credit remains $9,000 for each system.

chaco-sacredHJM 5: Chaco Canyon Moratorium on Land Sales.

Bill Summary:  House Joint Memorial 5 (HJM5) requests the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issue a temporary moratorium on all lease sales involving oil and gas drilling and related hydraulic fracturing operations within the greater Chaco area until the amended Resource Management Plan encompassing the greater Chaco area is complete.


SB 268 Water Energy Nexus

Bill Summary: This bill will modify the “Efficient Use of Energy Act” (H.B. 305 enacted 2008) and include a consideration of water usage in the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process. It will incorporate a public advisory process regarding the nexus between water and energy production, while also adding language to 62-17-10 (Integrated Resource Planning) to state the following: “The resource plans shall also incorporate a consideration of impacts to water quality (including thermal loading) and a quantification of consumptive use of water resources. The state shall prefer alternatives with fewer impacts to water quality and lesser consumptive use of water resources. “

Why is it Important: Water and energy are intertwined; we use water to produce energy and we use energy to pump, transport, and deliver water. This relationship is known as the water-energy nexus. Currently, it takes enormous amounts of water to produce energy in New Mexico because of our reliance on water-intensive options, which include coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. Our changing climate undermines this already precarious dependency on water for energy, continued reliance on coal and natural gas intensifies the problem by contributing to further climate change, which causes precipitation and temperature pattern changes that threaten the Southwest’s water supplies.

As an arid state still feeling the effects of prolonged drought, New Mexico needs to address fundamental questions about the relationship between our water and our energy sources:

  • Does it make sense for New Mexico to continue to use the equivalent of 25% of our state’s public water supply for energy production given we have less water intensive options available (wind, solar) and we are facing potential water shortages for domestic and municipal uses?
  • How much water should be allocated for energy in an arid state like New Mexico?
  • What are the long-term water impacts of our current energy sources (coal, nuclear, and oil and natural gas) that we have yet to discover?

This bill charges public officials with the responsibility to consider these questions in their planning process.

How to get alerts: To get alerts:  Contact Daniel.Lorimier@sierraclub.org and 575 740 2927

renewableBill Title: Expand Renewable Energy Standard

Bill #: SB 312

Bill Summary: This bill expands the Renewable Portfolio Standard to require utilities to get 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 80% by 2040. It ensures that New Mexico is on track to meet the goals for 100%-by-2050 set globally by Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015.

Why is it Important:  New Mexico 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 it ends in 2020. We need to extend the standard to keep moving New Mexico forward.

Good for the economy:

  • Has NO impact on oil jobs and <7% impact on natural gas jobs
  • There are 1,900 people employed in the solar industry in New Mexico, with a growth rate of 19% from 2014 to 2015.
  • There are approximately 1000 people employed in the wind industry in New Mexico.
  • According to the UMass, for every $1 million invested in solar energy 14 jobs are created and 13 are created in wind energy.
  • Electricity costs will ultimately drop because renewables require no spending on fuel
    • Replacing New Mexico’s current electricity sources with renewable energy will be an even transition from coal and gas jobs to solar and wind jobs.
    • Transitioning to renewables will likely lose ~2000 jobs in coal and ~500 in gas, in total but over many years, between 2021-2050.
    • Solar jobs will likely increase ~2000 and wind jobs ~500 before 2025, creating an equal transfer of jobs just for New Mexico’s electricity.
    • If we export renewable electricity to neighboring states, we can increase solar and wind jobs in New Mexico.
    • If we build solar panel and wind turbine plants in New Mexico, we will increase renewable energy jobs. For example, the Solar City gigafactory in NY employs ~5000 people during construction and will employ ~1500 workers when completed.

Good for New Mexico communities & health:

  • Emissions from traditional sources of energy are linked to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and can trigger asthma attacks in at-risk populations.
  • There are no known health impacts of solar or wind energy production.

Good for the environment:

  • Solar and wind energy are pollution-free energy sources.
  • Neither solar nor wind energy consume water while generating electricity.

How to get alerts: To get alerts:  Contact Daniel.Lorimier@sierraclub.org and 575 740 2927

coyoteBill Title: Ban on Coyote Killing Contests

Bill #: SB268 – Sponsored by Mark Moores and Jeff Steinborn

Bill Summary: Makes it unlawful to organize or participate in a coyote killing contest, defined as an organized or sponsored competition with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment. The bill establishes two categories of offenses: A misdemeanor to organize, cause, sponsor , arrange or hold a coyote-killing contest, and a petty misdemeanor to participate in a coyote killing contest.

Why is it Important: Coyote killing contests are not hunting. They are designed to reward people for killing the highest number of animals possible without regard for humane methods or common decency. Killing contests present a public safety risk with indiscriminate shooting on public lands, they are opposed by many gun owners and hunters, result in increased coyote populations due to disruption of family structures, and do not prevent injury to livestock in any significant amount. More than 95% of livestock loss is due to causes other than predation. Coyote killing reflects poorly on the state and has inspired national and international outrage.

To get alerts:  Contact Daniel.Lorimier@sierraclub.org and 575 740 2927

windBill Title: Procurement of New Power Generation Resources by Investor-owned Electric Public Utilities; Request for Competitive Proposals and Independent Evaluator Process.

Bill #: We have still not identified this bill #.

Bill Summary: New Energy Economy is proposing 2017 legislation that will require utilities to perform a request for competitive proposals and independent evaluator process as a prerequisite for the procurement of a supply-side electric energy or capacity resource. Specifically, this legislation will require that any application by an investor-owned electric public utility for commission approval of its proposed procurement of a supply-side electric energy or capacity resource for a duration greater than one (1) year, including but not limited to an application for commission issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity or for commission approval of a power purchase agreement for such a resource or for inclusion of such a resource in the utility’s rate base, be accompanied by testimony by an independent evaluator providing and describing the results of a request for competitive proposals and competitive bidding process for the resource.
Why is it Important: This legislation is being introduced as a measure to protect the public interest and ensure compliance with state law that requires Investor Owned Utilities to select the least cost solutions to energy resource demands with preference for the least environmentally damaging resource.

How to get alerts: To get alerts:  Contact Daniel.Lorimier@sierraclub.org and 575 740 2927