New Mexico

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico, the Enchanted State, is home to 2 million people and its 121 thousand miles include deserts, mountains, forests, and rivers. First colonized by Spain and,  it became a US territory in 1853, and finally a state in 1912. The Pueblo peoples have lived in what is now New Mexico continuously for over 1000 years, and today Pueblo lands span over eight counties and more than 2 million acres

Extreme heat presents an urgent threat to New Mexico and, along with it, droughts and wildfires. By the end of this century, summers in Carlsbad Caverns National Park are projected to be 13 degrees hotter. The number of days per year with dangerous levels of heat is expected to double in New Mexico, which has the second highest child poverty rate in the country. With warmer temperatures, demand for water will increase while its availability will decrease. Like the direct health effects of extreme heat, water insecurity will affect the most vulnerable the most acutely. Native communities, in particular, face extremely dangerous conditions as 30% of the people on Navajo Nation must haul water to meet their daily needs. This is yet another example of the fact that those who have contributed the least to climate change are most acutely impacted, a phenomenon that like colonization, many have argued, constitutes genocide. 

The industrial sector and transportation sector account for the vast majority of New Mexico’s net energy consumption, ranking in the top 25% of states according to per capita use. The residential sector, by contrast, ranks in the bottom third of states by per capita consumption. New Mexico is one of the top natural gas producers in the US, and in 2018 accounted for 4% of the country’s natural gas production. New Mexico has three active coal mines that collectively account for 1% of the total mined coal in the US. Within the state, coal continues to be the main source of electricity accounting for, in 2018, 40% of New Mexico’s electricity, the first time that it had been below half. The potential of wind and solar energy in New Mexico is extremely promising, and wind energy accounted for almost a fifth of the state’s electricity use in 2019

In May of 2019, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Energy Transition Act, which set a path for the state to transition away from coal. The ETA set a state-wide renewable energy standard of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 80% by 2040. In 2019, New Mexico’s Interagency Climate Change Task Force presented initial recommendations for statewide climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. The report focuses on greenhouse gas reduction, public health, emergency preparedness and management, and water availability.

New Mexico is one of twenty four states, plus Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors, created in 2017, committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

Fortune 500 oil giant to pay $4 million for air pollution at New Mexico and Texas facilities

By Minnah Arshad 02/13/24
A Fortune 500 oil and natural gas company will pay $4 million in civil penalties for unlawful air pollution in New Mexico and Texas, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
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Oil and Gas Regulatory Bills Still Alive in New Mexico Legislature

By Jerry Redfern 02/05/24
As the 2024 New Mexico Legislature sprints into the second half of its one-month session, four bills that directly affect the oil and gas industry hang in the balance. Those bills deal with royalty rates,…
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New Mexico’s 50-year plan to squeeze out every last drop of water prompts Google deal to locate leaky pipes

By Susan Montoya Bryan and the Associated Press 01/31/24
New Mexico is teaming up with Google to hunt for leaky water pipes using satellite imagery as the drought-stricken state prepares for a future in which growing demand puts more pressure on already dwindling drinking…
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New Mexico lawmaker wants to explore ‘cloud seeding’ to combat climate change

By Curtis Segarra 01/18/24
Lawmakers are debating a range of issues up at the Roundhouse, and one lawmaker is looking to put money towards so-called “cloud seeding.” A bill filed by Rep. Jack Chatfield (R-Colfax, Curry, Harding, Quay, San…
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Lawmakers want to add new clean fuel standards to Environmental Improvement Act

By Emma B. Mincks 01/12/24
One clean energy initiative proposed for the upcoming legislative session adds new language to the Environment Improvement Act and could give state environment officials some administrative teeth to enforce changes through a new carbon emissions…
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New Mexico extends ban on oil and gas leasing around Chaco park, an area sacred to Native Americans

By Susan Montoya Bryan 12/15/23
New oil and natural gas leasing will be prohibited on state land surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park, an area sacred to Native Americans, for the next 20 years under an executive order by New…
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New Mexico’s drought persists as winter looms

By Danielle Prokop 12/08/23
Winter is coming, and New Mexico’s outlook for much-needed moisture this season remains uncertain.
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Nearly 97% of New Mexico is in some kind of drought

By Bryce Dix 12/08/23
Widespread short- and long-term drought conditions are currently plaguing New Mexico, and much of the Southwest.Curtis Riganti is with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. During a drought briefing of the…
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New Mexico governor proposes $500M to treat fracking wastewater

By Morgan Lee 12/06/23
New Mexico would underwrite development of a strategic new source of water by buying treated water that originates from the used, salty byproducts of oil and natural gas drilling, and help preserve its freshwater aquifers…
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Climate change allows diseases to spread into the Mountain West

By Kaleb Roedel 11/21/23
The fifth National Climate Assessment says mosquitoes and ticks are spreading because of milder winters. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus and dengue fever, and are moving into northern Wyoming and southern Nevada. Ticks can…
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Texas produces twice as much methane as better regulated neighbor, study finds

By Oliver Milman 11/08/23
Oil and gas production in Texas is spewing out double the rate of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, than in the more regulated state of New Mexico, new satellite data shared with the Guardian shows,…
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New Mexico’s Hydrogen Plans in Turmoil; Newsom Focuses on Oil Wells

By Marcus Baram 11/04/23
New Mexico’s ambitions for hydrogen production in the state experienced a roller-coaster ride, with a panel recommending money for such projects, the federal government rejecting a state-led regional hydrogen hub proposal, and a state agency…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Pair of rural solar, storage projects in New Mexico selected for $18M in federal funding

03/01/24
Two solar and battery storage projects in rural areas of New Mexico — one on Taos Pueblo land, and another throughout the Navajo Nation — could receive $18 million in federal dollars to cover a…

Biden Administration Taps $366M to Fund Clean Energy for Native American Tribes and Rural Areas

02/27/24
The federal government will fund 17 projects across the U.S. to expand access to renewable energy on Native American reservations and in other rural areas, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.

From renewable energy to green chile, New Mexico’s rural communities receive USDA funds

02/27/24
Monday, New Mexico’s congressional delegation announced $35 million in federal grants for healthcare, agriculture and renewable energy projects in rural communities in the state. The delegation is made up of U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and…

Meet the Champion Who Helped New Mexico’s Clean Energy Transition through Fellowship

02/21/24
When Arthur O’Donnell was in college studying communications, he wanted to work in media. What he didn’t know was that his journalism career would lead him to become a champion for New Mexico’s energy transition.

Bills look to incentivize New Mexico’s geothermal energy industry

02/05/24
A pair of bills advancing through the legislature hopes to incentivize and fund the development of geothermal energy projects in the state as a play to help diversify New Mexico's renewable energy industry.

Pattern Energy Closes $11 Billion Financing of Largest Clean Energy Infrastructure Project in U.S. History

12/27/23
Full construction underway on SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind, bringing clean power to 3 million Americans and over $20 billion in expected economic impacts

New Mexico lawmakers look to boost solar power funding in upcoming legislative session

12/18/23
Year after year, New Mexico has continued to take steps towards renewable energy sources. Now, some lawmakers are looking to increase funding for solar projects. “I think there’s a groundswell right now in New Mexico…

New Mexico to invest $500M in first-of-its-kind strategic water supply build-out

12/05/23
New Mexico will invest $500 million in securing a first-of-its-kind strategic water supply to bolster drought resilience and clean energy production, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced on Tuesday.

New Mexico leaders create nonprofit to steward funding for federal government climate initiatives

10/17/23
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the formation of a nonprofit to help New Mexico get millions in federal dollars to invest in renewable and sustainable programs that could boost a gap the state has shown…

State hopes to make renewable energy more accessible for New Mexicans

10/13/23
A new center is promising to make renewable energy resources more accessible to low-income families. Friday, the governor announced the establishment of a nonprofit, created to finance solar projects and more for New Mexicans. “New…

Largest renewable energy infrastructure project in U.S. breaks ground in New Mexico

09/01/23
Executives with one of the largest wind and solar energy development companies in the world are gathering in New Mexico with federal officials to mark the groundbreaking of what will be the largest renewable energy…

Mapping Clean Energy in the West

08/31/23
The Southwest has an enormous opportunity to accelerate the shift from fossil to clean power. Utilities in the region can use new tax credit adders that will make clean energy like wind and solar more…

New Mexico regulators look into alleged issues with community solar facility selection process

07/19/23
The process to make renewable energy more accessible to New Mexicans through community solar has been met with multiple delays and issues.

Transmission traffic jam threatens clean energy transition

06/18/23
Pattern Energy is preparing to break ground in New Mexico on what could become the largest wind generation and transmission-line project in the Western Hemisphere when it comes online in 2026.

Xcel Energy plans solar power sites in southeast New Mexico amid shift toward renewables

06/08/23
One of the region’s largest power providers said it planned to build three solar energy facilities in the Permian Basin area, in southeast New Mexico and Texas.

New Mexico Environmental Coalition Urges Biden to Reject Hydrogen Hub Project

06/02/23
New Mexico environmental coalition urges Biden to reject hydrogen hub project. A New Mexico coalition of Indigenous and environmental organizations sent a letter this week to energy leaders in President Joe Biden’s administration, asking them…

Community solar moves forward; developers chosen to set up renewable energy facilities

05/23/23
After weeks of delay, New Mexico’s push to get solar energy to communities like apartment renters and low-income households is progressing again.

Massive Texas-Sized Wind Energy Transmission Project To (Finally) Link NM, AZ

05/23/23
It’s been 16 long years, but the dream of harvesting 3,500 megawatts of zero emission wind energy in New Mexico and shipping it off to points west has finally begun to inch closer to reality,…

Community solar power coming to New Mexico, targeting low-income customers

05/05/23
More than 400 proposals for community solar projects in New Mexico were submitted to the State as it prepares to enact the program in the next week, intended to expand access to renewable energy across…

New Mexico hires ex-NYC policy adviser Rachel Finkelstein to head new climate bureau

04/21/23
The Rio Gallinas this week flows by thousands of acres of steep slopes and forest burned by the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Hermit Peak Fire last year. Climate change, forest officials say, is intensifying the threat…

Pattern Energy Ready to Tap New Mexico’s Wind Potential

04/12/23
After over 16 years of jumping regulatory hoops and an investment of more than $8 billion, Pattern Energy, owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, says full construction is expected to start in 2023…

Governor Lujan Grisham signs New Mexico climate bill

03/23/23
Thursday, New Mexico’s governor signed another bill into law. Environmental advocates say the new law marks the key to progress in the state’s push toward conservation. Senate Bill 9 was supported by both Democrats and…

Amid climate change and wildfire recovery, New Mexico enacts new law for conservation spending

03/23/23
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed bipartisan legislation Thursday intended to deliver a historic injection of funding into land and water conservation programs in New Mexico. The measure, Senate Bill 9, establishes new legacy and permanent…

New Mexico bans non-consensual nuclear waste storage

03/20/23
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs legislation banning high-level nuclear waste storage without state consent, potentially blocking a proposed interim reactor fuel repository.

New Mexico is Getting Ready for Geothermal

03/17/23
Geothermal energy is drawing bi-partisan support throughout the legislative session as two bills have received do pass votes in both committees and chamber floors.

New Mexico is Getting Ready for Geothermal

03/17/23
Geothermal energy is drawing bi-partisan support throughout the legislative session as two bills have received do pass votes in both committees and chamber floors.

New Mexico oil drilling permits thwarted by tribe, greens

02/03/23
A federal appeals court said the government inappropriately ignored the dangers of hazardous air pollutants when issuing permits to drill oil and gas wells in northwestern New Mexico, in what environmental groups say is a…

There’s almost unlimited clean, geothermal energy under our feet. New tech could help unleash that potential in New Mexico.

01/28/23
Canadian company Eavor Inc. drilled an 18,000-foot well bore this past fall in southwest New Mexico to prove it could hammer its way through deep-underground, hard-granite rock to reach previously untapped geothermal energy.

New Mexico lawmakers advance bill to fund response to climate change, extreme weather

01/25/23
A bill addressing climate change in New Mexico with the expenditure of millions of state funds passed out of its first committee Monday on a 7-2 vote by lawmakers.

Powerful clean-energy line to crisscross NM

01/13/23
A $2 billion, 400-mile clean-energy transmission line planned for northern New Mexico became an official “public-private” project this week, significantly boosting its development prospects.

New Mexico Is Riding A Breeze

01/10/23
Having only recently christened its biggest wind power project to date, New Mexico is poised for new investments that are primed to vault the state into a leadership position in wind energy generation. Regulatory approvals…

Regulatory approval for SunZia Transmission paves the way for a Southwest renewable energy corridor

11/15/22
Pattern Energy Group, a renewable energy developer, announced its SunZia Transmission project received the approval of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to build a 550-mile high voltage direct current transmission line from New Mexico to…

EPA’s revised methane rule would impose tougher fossil fuel measures

11/12/22
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a revised version of its proposed methane rule Friday that would impose tougher measures on the fossil fuel industry than an earlier draft of the regulations aimed at curbing the…

New Mexico projects set to get $230 million in funding from Congress

03/16/22
New Mexico residents stand to benefit from a $1.5 trillion federal spending bill signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden — with more than $230 million designated for about 85 projects throughout the state. The omnibus…

Will Pattern Continue Investments in New Mexico after Western Spirit Wind?

03/13/22
Gwynne Ann Unruh is an award-winning reporter formerly of the Alamosa Valley Courier, an independent paper in southern Colorado. She covers the environment for The Paper.

New Mexico AG Joins Coalition In Defense Of Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards For Light-Duty Vehicles

03/13/22
Attorney General Hector Balderas, as part of a coalition of attorneys general and cities and counties, filed a motion Tuesday to intervene in defense of federal greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards for light-duty vehicles.

NM wind project creating the ‘Route 66 of renewable energy’

03/12/22
Guadalupe, Lincoln and Torrance counties are now collectively supporting the electricity needs of nearly 1 million people through a massive new wind farm and transmission line in central New Mexico.

Hydrogen power demanded by New Mexico governor via executive order, despite objections

03/12/22
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is trying again to establish her state as a national leader in “clean” hydrogen energy, directing her cabinet agencies to seek funding and projects to grow the sector as…

New Mexico, coalition of mountain west states sign MOU to develop a regional clean hydrogen hub

02/24/22
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday joined the governors of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming in announcing that they will compete jointly for a portion of the $8 billion allocated in the federal Infrastructure Investment and…

Pattern Energy begins operations at New Mexico wind projects

01/07/22
US-based renewable energy firm Pattern Energy Group has completed and begun commercial operations at its Western Spirit Wind suite of power projects in New Mexico.

Pattern Energy completes New Mexico wind project

01/06/22
Pattern Energy officials announced Thursday that the Western Spirit Wind project has started commercial operations. The company had billed it as the largest single-phase construction of renewable power in the U.S.

BLM lease sale seeks to expand geothermal energy in New Mexico

09/29/21
As part of an effort to increase renewable energy, the Bureau of Land Management will hold a virtual geothermal lease sale this fall for three parcels totaling nearly 4,000 acres. These parcels are located in…

10,000 solar panels: New Mexico State-El Paso Electric collaboration to power campus

09/23/21
Aggie Power celebrated its final stages of construction with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

Renewable energy transition faces roadblocks in New Mexico

08/16/21
As alarms increase about the horrors of climate change, New Mexico and the nation are hustling to accelerate renewable energy efforts.

Dick Spotswood: No debate, moving to electric vehicles will eliminate harmful carbon emissions

By Dick Spotswood 06/26/21
When I was a kid growing up in San Francisco, my father and I rode the Municipal Railway’s No. 47 Van Ness electric trolley bus to the Civic Auditorium to see Autorama. That was General…

New law designed to increase New Mexicans’ access to solar power

By Robert Nott 04/10/21
“I love what a solar array looks like,” said Bellof, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition of Sustainable Communities NM. “I love what it represents: capturing free solar energy — renewable, free solar energy.”

New Mexico Enacts 98 Percent Gas Capture Rule

By Blake C. Jones 04/02/21
After two years of rulemaking, and more than a year of public comments, on Thursday, March 25, 2021, New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) unanimously approved new regulations on natural gas emissions that require New…

Renewable energy projected to grow

By Alisa Boswell-Gore 03/27/21
The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a report last month highlighting its projections that the U.S. electricity generation mix made up of renewables will have doubled by 2050. That's also when 42% of the nation's…

New Mexico Senate passes Clean Fuel Standard Act

By Erin Voegele 03/15/21
The New Mexico Senate on March 11 voted 25 to 14 in favor of a bill that aims to establish a Clean Fuel Standard that would require a 28 percent decrease in the carbon intensity…

Preparing for Climate Change in New Mexico

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps New Mexico is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

New Mexico Energy Policy and Implementation Plan

03/15/19
Governor Martinez and outgoing Cabinet Secretary David Martin have developed a State Energy Policy and Implementation Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to harness New Mexico's abundant resources in a way that grows the state's economy. New…

New Mexico Energy Roadmap Project

03/15/19
Following the release of the 2015 New Mexico State Energy Policy and Implementation Plan, staff at the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department's (EMNRD) Energy Conservation and Management Division (ECMD) began to look for ways…

KEY RESOURCES

Building America’s Next Generation Infrastructure to Power Our Future

11/01/23
Grid United and Black Forest Partners are co-developing the Southline Transmission Project (Southline or the Project), a 280-mile, double-circuit, high voltage transmission line and associated substation facilities. The design provides the capability to transport power…

climate health and equity implications of large facility pollution sources in New Mexico

02/01/23
In 2019, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order establishing a goal of cutting New Mexico greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 45 percent by 2030.1 In parallel, the state legislature enacted the 2019…

New Mexico Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

02/11/22
Over the past decade, utilities, companies, and residents around New Mexico have invested in solar power to save money and increase reliance on green energy. The state has invested $2.3 billion in solar energy, and…

New Mexico State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/05/21
New Mexico is home to the forested peaks and valleys of the southern Rocky Mountains, high plateaus of the Great Plains, and spectacular desert canyons and mesas. In addition to its dramatic vistas, the state…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

New Mexico’s Climate Threats

09/23/20
Explore graphics, interactives and news about New Mexico's climate threats.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in New Mexico

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, New Mexico experienced one drought and two severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

What Climate Change Means for New Mexico

09/16/20
New Mexico’s climate is changing. Most of the state has warmed at least one degree (F) in the la st ce ntury. T hroughout the s outhwestern Unit ed States, heat w aves are b…

State-by-State: Climate Change in New Mexico

08/06/20
New Mexico’s climate is already changing. Most of the state has warmed at least one degree Fahrenheit in the last century. New Mexico can expect increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves, reduced snowpack and reduced…

New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority

06/11/19
The New Mexico legislature created RETA in 2007 making it  one of the first independent state authorities in the nation to  facilitate the licensing, construction and financing of high voltage transmission lines and energy storage projects, allowing delivery…

Environment New Mexico

06/07/19
Environment New Mexico is a citizen-based environmental advocacy project of Environment America. Our professional staff combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results…

MORE NEWS

New Mexico’s wild hydrogen days

By Jerry Redfern   11/01/23  
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham flew to Australia earlier this month with an oil and gas lobbyist and the head of a natural gas industry group to speak at a hydrogen conference. The trip…
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Wildfire risk is causing an insurance bubble in New Mexico

By Bryce Dix, KUNM News   10/05/23  
Extreme weather events fueled by climate change are causing insurance premiums to skyrocket in some places across the U.S.
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A green future for New Mexico’s last coal plant?

By Arianna Skibell   08/18/23  
A tech startup has hatched a plan to save New Mexico’s last coal plant. The Four Corners power plant, located in the Navajo Nation roughly 200 miles northwest of Santa Fe, is slated to retire…
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Biden goes west to talk about his administration’s efforts to combat climate change

07/31/23  
President Joe Biden will travel to Arizona, New Mexico and Utah next week and is expected to talk about his administration’s efforts to combat climate change as the region endures a brutally hot summer with…
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FEMA Has So Far Paid Out Less Than 1% of What Congress Allocated for Victims of New Mexico Wildfire

By Megan Gleason and Patrick Lohmann   07/17/23  
A couple months after two planned fires escaped to become the largest wildfire in New Mexico history, President Joe Biden promised to “fully compensate survivors.” Late last year, Congress allocated $3.95 billion to do so.
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Supreme Court rules against Navajo Nation in Colorado River case

By Adam Liptak   06/22/23  
The Supreme Court ruled against the Navajo Nation on Thursday in a water rights case, rejecting the tribe’s suit against the federal government in a dispute over access to the drought-depleted Colorado River system.
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Transcript Zero Episode 41: How Three US Governors Approach Climate Action

By Oscar Boyd and Akshat Rathi   06/08/23  
National climate policy gets regular attention, but local and regional governments can make a bigger difference, especially in large countries like the US, India and China. This week, Akshat Rathi speaks with three U.S. governors…
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Land commissioner bans new oil, gas leases near NM schools

By Dan Mckay   06/01/23  
New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard signed an executive order Thursday that bans new oil and gas leases on state trust land within one mile of a school, a step she said would help…
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Oil and gas land sale nets $79M. New Mexico environmental groups fear climate impacts

By Adrian Hedden   05/28/23  
A contentious auction of public land to the oil and gas industry brought in about $78.8 million to the federal government this week, amid outcry from New Mexico environmental groups calling for a halt on…
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Plant These Trees to Help Battle Climate Change Across New Mexico

05/16/23  
Trees often stay with us physically and emotionally throughout our lives. In our youth, we look up at towering trees that cool temperatures in the summer and beautifully blossom in the spring. As we age,…
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New Mexico Sued Over Failure to Control Skyrocketing Oil, Gas Pollution Landmark Lawsuit Targets State’s Constitutional Duty

05/10/23  
A coalition of Indigenous peoples, youth, frontline community members and environmental groups sued New Mexico, the state legislature, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state agencies today for violating their state constitutional duty to control the…
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More New Mexico land must be saved from oil and gas to prevent climate crisis, study says

By Adrian Hedden   04/21/23  
New Mexico lagged behind the rest of the U.S. in protected public land, according to a recent study, meaning oil and gas operations on federal land were a key contributor to worsening pollution and climate…
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Lawmakers, activists call Governor’s climate vetoes a setback

By Danielle Prokop   04/19/23  
Environmental advocates and lawmakers alike expressed frustration for climate initiatives at the end of the 2023 session. In the spotlight are Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s vetoes of broadly supported geothermal research and credits for electric…
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As another legislative session ends, how does New Mexico regain climate leadership?

By Alex DeGolia   04/19/23  
With each passing year, communities across New Mexico feel the mounting and undeniable pressures from climate change. At times last year, nearly three-fourths of the state was experiencing severe drought. The largest wildfire in the…
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Amid a withering drought, New Mexico leaders struggle to plan for life with less water

By Elizabeth Miller   04/11/23  
Though the Rio Grande runs through the heart of New Mexico’s biggest city, you can easily miss it. Even from places where you’d expect to see water — designated parking areas near the river or…
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A wet winter won’t stave off the Colorado River’s water cuts

By Joshua Partlow   04/03/23  
The abundant snow in the Rocky Mountains this year has been a welcome relief, but is not enough to overcome two decades of drought that has pushed major reservoirs along the Colorado River down to…
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New Mexico court weighs fight over coal-fired power plant

By Susan Montoya Bryan   03/29/23  
New Mexico’s largest electric provider wants the state’s highest court to overturn a 2021 decision by regulators who rejected a proposal to transfer its shares in a coal-fired power plant to a Navajo energy company.
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Oilfield lawmakers claim success in killing bills aimed at energy pollution in New Mexico

By Adrian Hedden   03/22/23  
Southeast New Mexico’s Republican lawmakers said the 2023 Legislative Session could have been worse as the GOP was able to block several bills aimed at reducing pollution and tightening regulations on oil and gas producers.
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How a state analysis derailed a green amendment in New Mexico

By Vanessa Montalbano   03/22/23  
An effort to get states to pass “green amendments” guaranteeing a right to clean air, water and soil is ramping up. Lawmakers in at least 13 states are pushing for such amendments to their state…
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USDA to spend $197 million to prepare for wildfires brought on by climate change

By Dinah Voyles Pulver   03/20/23  
Federal officials announced $197 million in grants on Monday to help more than 100 communities and tribes across the nation become more resilient to wildfire.
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Have New Mexico lawmakers acted on climate change? Groups cite ‘failure’ during session

By Adrian Hedden   03/17/23  
This year’s legislative session in Santa Fe will end at noon on Saturday, and environmentalists voiced frustration that several efforts targeting pollution and a transition away from fossil fuel energy so far failed to materialize.
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Despite Rules, New Mexico Oil and Gas Producers Keep Polluting

By Jerry Redfern   03/17/23  
Driving around the Permian Basin in early February, it was impossible to miss. New Mexico has increased its oil production tenfold since 2010 and was the first major oil-producing state to surpass its pre-pandemic output…
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Who gets harmed as the Colorado River changes?

By Jennifer Pitt   03/09/23  
National and regional media love a good fight, and lately a day doesn’t pass without a major news story or op-ed focused on Colorado River disagreements, particularly amongst the seven states of the Colorado River…
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Task force releases plan to manage water amid climate change

By Scott Wyland   02/10/23  
A state task force released a report Friday outlining actions that government leaders, communities and individual users can take to better manage New Mexico’s water supply, which is expected to decrease sharply as the climate…
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199 drilling permits blocked

By Joseph Winters   02/08/23  
Tribal nations and environmental groups in the U.S. Southwest scored a victory last week when a federal appeals court rejected nearly 200 new oil and gas drilling permits in the Greater Chaco region of New…
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Study says New Mexico turning blind eye to several large polluters in climate change policy

By Megan Myscofski   02/05/23  
New Mexico lawmakers are leaving many large polluters out of climate change policy, according to a new report from the University of New Mexico and PSE Healthy Energy, a nonprofit research institute. And many of…
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The “Law of the River” at the heart of the Colorado River crisis

By Hayley Smith and Ian James   02/03/23  
It’s a crisis nearly 100 years in the making: Seven states — all reliant on a single mighty river as a vital source of water — failed to reach an agreement this week on how…
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As the Colorado River shrinks, Washington prepares to spread the pain

By Christopher Flavelle   01/27/23  
The seven states that rely on the river for water are not expected to reach a deal on cuts. It appears the Biden administration will have to impose reductions.
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Oil leases in New Mexico could worsen climate change, should be canceled, lawsuit argues

By Adrian Hedden   01/27/23  
A lawsuit challenged thousands of acres of public land leased to the oil and gas industry in southeast New Mexico, amid pressure from environmental groups in the state to see the federal government tighten restrictions…
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In California’s Imperial Valley, farmers brace for a future with less Colorado River water

By Ian James   01/27/23  
Just north of the California-Mexico border, the All-American Canal cuts across 80 miles of barren, dune-swept desert. Up to 200 feet wide and 20 feet deep, the canal delivers the single largest share of Colorado…
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The Colorado River is overused and shrinking. Inside the crisis transforming the Southwest

By Ian James and Molly Hennessy-Fiske   01/26/23  
The Colorado River begins as melting snow, trickling from forested peaks and coursing in streams that gather in the meadows and valleys of the Rocky Mountains. Like arteries, its major tributaries take shape across Colorado,…
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A river guide’s view of Lake Powell’s decline and the depths of the Colorado River crisis

By Ian James   01/26/23  
Muddy water whizzed past as John Weisheit steered a motorboat upstream in the Colorado River. He revved the engine as the boat sped around a bend and up a riffle.
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Energy and environment bills to watch during New Mexico’s 2023 Legislative Session

Adrian Hedden   01/19/23  
Protecting New Mexico from pollution while shifting the state away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy were among key priority of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her supporters in the legislature.
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New Mexico HVDC transmission line to carry 4 GW of renewable energy

By Anne Fischer   01/18/23  
New Mexico North Path will help unlock a share of what its local energy authority has estimated is $11 billion of untapped renewable energy investment potential in the state.
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Wish You Were Here. Ignore the Floods and Fires.

By Lydia DePellis   12/10/22  
Climate change is reshaping the American economy. New Mexico is leaning on ecotourism and sustainable industries to see it through, but extreme weather keeps getting in the way....
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PNM files for rate increases

By Hannah Grover   12/06/22  
People who live in Public Service Company of New Mexico’s service territory will see a 9.7 percent increase in the base rate for electricity starting in January 2024, but because the utility will not be…
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Interior: Oil ban around Chaco Canyon would block 47 wells

By Heather Richards   11/17/22  
The Interior Department is considering a 20-year moratorium on new oil development around Chaco Canyon National Historical Park in New Mexico, an area important to many Indigenous communities.
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New environmental crimes task force will help leverage resources

By Hannah Grover   11/14/22  
The head of the New Mexico Environment Department says a new environmental crimes task force will help the state better leverage resources to go after people who are polluting the environment and placing communities at…
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Grief and Gratitude in a New Mexico Fire

By John McLeod   10/13/22  
We left the Gathering of Nations Powwow early when news of the fire’s erratic behavior reached us. As we drove up to our home, Story Ranch, we saw the increased smoke and glow in the…
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‘Strongest Climate Bill Ever’ May Increase Oil and Gas Production in New Mexico

By Jerry Redfern   10/10/22  
While President Joe Biden’s $737 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) aims to address a cornucopia of American ills, arguably its most important aspect is how it jump-starts the country’s fight against climate change. It attacks…
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A Petroleum PR Blitz in New Mexico

By Jerry Redfern and Others   09/29/22  
In the past seven months, oil and gas companies have dramatically stepped up their outreach and public relations spending at some of New Mexico’s best-known, best-loved events. The industry also picked up an additional public…
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The Fight Over The Colorado River’s Water Is A Symbol Of The Larger Climate Crisis

By Alejandro De La Garza   08/29/22  
There’s something familiar about the high stakes water use drama playing out in the U.S. Southwest. The mighty Colorado River serves as an economic artery of the region, powering massive hydroelectric dams and supplying water…
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A Painful Deadline Nears as Colorado River Reservoirs Run Critically Low

By Henry Fountain   07/21/22  
States in the Colorado River basin are scrambling to propose steep cuts in the water they’ll use from the river next year, in response to a call by the federal government for immediate, drastic efforts…
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Will carbon capture help clean New Mexico’s power, or delay its transition?

By Jonathan P. Thompson   06/29/22  
As New Mexico lawmakers were putting the finishing touches on landmark legislation to help workers and communities transition from the closure of the state’s largest coal plant, the city of Farmington had other plans.
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Recent rain allows forests in US Southwest to reopen

06/24/22  
The monsoon has delivered much-needed moisture to the parched region and relief from scorching temperatures. Forecasters say Arizona has a good chance of getting above-average rain through the season that runs through September. New Mexico…
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Biden boosts solar energy through executive action as industry grows in New Mexico

By Adrian Hedden   06/09/22  
Solar power in New Mexico continued to grow this year, supported by public and state policy seeking to diversify energy production throughout the state while addressing concerns for pollution.
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A Day Without Rain Is Like 22 Years In America’s Southwest

By Arthur Keith   06/04/22  
The Southwest is melting down. Between the heat and lack of moisture, it’s become an inferno. This year is already worse than last year, which was a catastrophe. So should we call this catastrophe-plus?
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The Vanishing Rio Grande: Warming Takes a Toll on a Legendary River

By Jim Robbins   06/02/22  
Hiking through the emerald green canopy of the bosque, or riverside cottonwood forest, near downtown Albuquerque, Tricia Snyder, an advocate for WildEarth Guardians, believes zero hour has arrived for the Rio Grande. Though the river…
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A ‘Perfect Recipe for Extreme Wildfire’: New Mexico’s Record-Breaking, Early Fire Season

By Tim Wallace and Nadja Popovich   06/01/22  
Fueled by abnormally dry, warm conditions and spread by strong winds, wildfires have burned more than 600,000 acres across New Mexico this spring — making it one of the worst fire years in the state’s…
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The Colorado River is in crisis, and it’s getting worse every day

By Erin Patrick O'Connor   05/14/22  
It is a powerhouse: a 1,450-mile waterway that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez, serving 40 million people in seven U.S. states, 30 federally recognized tribes and Mexico. It hydrates 5…
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