This legislative session, we can bring over $470 million in clean energy investments and close to 4,000 jobs to New Mexico all within the next eight years. And, these investments and jobs will improve the air we breathe while protecting our water and land. Strengthening our economy and improving our environment are possible if lawmakers pass Senate Bill 14, the Clean Fuel Standard Act.

The legislation, a top priority for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, would require cleaner transportation fuels, setting standards of 20 percent cleaner by 2030 and 30 percent by 2040. When we reach the 2030 goal, that means we’ll have eliminated a lot of harmful emissions — the equivalent of the tailpipe emissions from driving 570,000 gas-powered vehicles for a year.

And data — not politics — have shown that clean fuel standards don’t just reduce emissions and pollution, they minimally impact fuel costs. States with more than a decade of experience with a clean fuel standard found that global markets have the greatest impact on fuel prices, not a clean fuel standard.

Adopting this legislation will tap into New Mexico’s significant assets in bioscience, agriculture and energy. The bill provides opportunities for existing industries to grow and add jobs while incentivizing new low-carbon fuel companies to invest here. With our strong history of innovation and partnerships with Sandia and Los Alamos national labs, New Mexico already has competitive advantages over other states, and that gives us a significant head start.

In addition, this bill creates opportunities for the state’s farming communities to capitalize on converting biomass — plant and animal waste — to renewable natural gas and additional opportunities for other biomass, including the production waste from some of our proudest crops, chiles and pecans. The Clean Fuel Standard Act provides opportunities for New Mexico farmers and ranchers to supply the biomass to produce clean energy fuels. This is the hallmark of a circular economy and the Clean Fuel Standard Act is just the spark we need to ignite it.

By passing this bill, New Mexico will become a national leader in the manufacture and usage of cleaner fuels, such as ethanol, biodiesel, low-carbon hydrogen, renewable natural gas, and, of course, renewable electricity for electric vehicles. And our bill ensures that rural or disadvantaged communities are prioritized for EV investments.

We’ve made great progress in decarbonizing our state’s electricity production in 2019 when we passed the Energy Transition Act, which set goals to power our businesses and homes with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. The Clean Fuel Standard Act will build on that progress by tackling transportation emissions, which is the state’s second-largest source of emissions.

We can have it all in New Mexico — a strong economy, great employment opportunities and a clean environment. We need to act decisively and take bold action this legislative session to pass the Clean Fuel Standard Act and lock in these competitive advantages.

Learn more about this important legislation at nmcleanfuel.com and tell your legislators to vote in support of Senate Bill 14, the Clean Fuel Standard Act.

The three authors are New Mexico Cabinet secretaries — James Kenney for the Environment Department, Alicia J. Keyes for Economic Development and Jeff Witte for Agriculture.

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