State lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday designed to put a number of actions in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
House Bill 9, called the Climate Solutions Act, would establish emission reduction requirements and mandate state agencies adopt rules to meet those standards.
“Today is the beginning of a journey on embarking on a net-zero carbon future for New Mexico,” said Rep. Melanie Stansbury, an Albuquerque Democrat who is one of several sponsors of the bill.
She and other advocates for the bill held a news conference Thursday to tout the legislation’s potential to create jobs and diversify the state’s economy with clean energy industries.
The 27-page bill focuses on the creation of an advisory climate council made of state agency Cabinet secretaries and local community and tribal leaders, among others.
That group would explore ways to develop a workforce on climate change solutions, oversee funding for new clean energy grants and develop standards for climate change preparation.
The council would be required to submit an annual progress report each September.
The legislation also calls for a 60 percent reduction in methane, carbon dioxide and organic compound emissions from the oil and gas industry — as compared to 2005 standards — by 2030.
The bill’s introduction comes just a day after President Joe Biden issued an executive order to address climate change, including a freeze on oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters. The Biden administration, which recently announced plans to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, also has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Two years ago, shortly after taking office, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Energy Transition Act into law, calling for New Mexico’s major electric utilities to get 100 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2045.
House Speaker Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat who is one of the sponsors of HB 9, said during a virtual news conference Thursday that the bill follows up on that initiative. He said putting these new goals “into statute in an enforceable way … is important.”
While HB 9 does not contain an appropriation — Stansbury said lawmakers in both the House and the Senate will seek funding for the agencies responsible for fulfilling the bill’s mandates — it alludes to $100,000 grants for counties, pueblos, colleges and municipalities, among other entities, to create energy projects.