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

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

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 Photo: Cody Hooks , Taos News File Photo 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

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.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

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

09/23/20
Explore top NM risks.

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

A ‘Perfect Recipe for Extreme Wildfire’: New Mexico’s Record-Breaking, Early Fire Season

By Tim Wallace and Nadja Popovich  Photo: Jim Weber via Associated Press   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…

The Colorado River is in crisis, and it’s getting worse every day

By Erin Patrick O'Connor  Photo: Matt McClain   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…

How the future trees of New Mexico were almost destroyed by wildfires

By Elizabeth Miller  Photo: Leslie Edgar/New Mexico State University   05/12/22  
Saving tree seedlings critical to restoring forests in the Southwest from the fires ripping through northern New Mexico took four trucks and three trailers — and two trips into a wildfire evacuation zone...

Southwest “megadrought” leads to wildfires and new homicide evidence

By Andrew Freedman  Data: NOAA; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals   05/12/22  
It is only May, and the worsening, long-term drought in the Southwest is taxing water managers, firefighters and even homicide detectives in new ways.

Wildfire threatens ‘cultural genocide’ in New Mexico villages

By Andrew Hay  Photo: Reuters/Kevin Mohatt   05/09/22  
Miguel Gandert does not know whether his family's 19th-century log home has been burned by a New Mexico wildfire, but he fears the blaze could destroy an Indo-Hispano mountain culture far older than the United…

‘Potentially historic’ wildfire event threatens New Mexico, Southwest

By Matthew Cappucci & Jason Samenow  Photo: Robert Browman , AP   05/07/22  
Critical-to-extreme wildfire conditions are about to take hold of the southwestern United States and parts of Colorado, leading into what could be a lengthy, multiday and memorable outbreak of wildfires and/or wildfire conditions. Warm to…

‘Burning Down a Way of Life’: Wildfire Rips Through a Hispanic Bastion

By Simon Romero  Photo: Adria Malcolm , The New York Times   05/05/22  
“I left behind 25 goats, 50 rabbits, 10 chickens and two dogs,” said Mr. Martinez, 71, who escaped his home in the village of El Oro this week for an evacuee shelter. “I have no…

How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage

By Leanna First-Arai  Composite: Getty Images   05/04/22  
The oil and gas industry wants to play a word-and-picture association game with you. Think of four images: a brightly colored backpack stuffed with pencils, a smiling teacher with a tablet tucked under her arm,…

Smoke and sandstorm, seen from space

By Maggie Astor  Photo: NOAA   05/04/22  
A time-lapse image of smoke from wildfires in New Mexico and dust from a storm in Colorado illustrates the scope of Western catastrophe. The video is mesmerizing: As three whitish-gray geysers gush eastward from the…

New Mexico governor urges Biden to declare wildfires a disaster to free funds

Photo: Kevin Mohatt , Reuters   05/03/22  
New Mexico’s governor on Tuesday asked President Joe Biden to declare a disaster as firefighters scrambled to clear brush, build fire lines and spray water to keep the largest blaze burning in the US from…

Climate change and the third world, in New Mexico

By Marjorie Childress   04/30/22  
In reporting two recent stories about abandoned uranium mines north of Church Rock, N.M., I heard residents say several times that they want federal officials to take action, not just more talk about cleaning up…
AP

Big US energy transmission projects inch closer to approval

By Susan Montoya Bryan  Photo: Susan Montoya Bryan , AP Photo   04/29/22  
The federal government has finished another environmental review of a proposed transmission line that will carry wind-generated electricity from rural New Mexico to big cities in the West and similar reviews are planned for two…

A US oil-drilling hotspot is kicking out far more methane than we thought

By Casey Crownhart  Photo: Joe Raedle , Getty Images   03/28/22  
One of the largest and fastest-growing oil production sites in the US is emitting far more methane than previously measured. It’s well known that oil and natural-gas production is a significant source of the powerful…

Methane Leaks in New Mexico Far Exceed Current Estimates, Study Suggests

By Maggie Astor  Photo: Joel Angel Juarez , The New York Times   03/24/22  
Startlingly large amounts of methane are leaking from wells and pipelines in New Mexico, according to a new analysis of aerial data, suggesting that the oil and gas industry may be contributing more to climate…

Oil and gas companies face $275K in fines for not reporting methane pollution in New Mexico

By Adrian Hedden   03/18/22  
Five New Mexico oil and gas operators were fined a total of $275,000 after failing to report methane emissions as required by state law.

Federal funding for Pueblo irrigation projects could be stirred into the water act

By Shaun Griswold  Photo: Mona Makela , Getty Images   03/17/22  
U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) is asking the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to include several proposals benefiting the state’s water infrastructure in the 2022 Water Resources Development Act..

Are New Mexicans willing to go broke in order to go green?

By Jim Townsend   03/17/22  
Is it possible to transition to renewable energy, keep gasoline and natural gas affordable and remain energy independent all at the same time? The short answer is – NO! The inconvenient truth is that “going…

Texas landowner group spurs New Mexico anti-30×30 movement

By Theresa Davis  Photo: Roberto E. Rosales , Albuquerque Journal   03/15/22  
A federal and state goal to conserve land and water has set off a firestorm of county-level opposition in New Mexico, with backing from a Texas advocacy group.

Gaslit: How NM Straddles the Divide Between Environmental Action and Energy Revenue

By Zach Van Arsdale , Isabel Komaya and Others  Photo: Isabel Koyama , Howard Center for Investigative Journalism   03/11/22  
Bright pink flags mark a swath of newly cleared land, rubber water hoses snake along the roadside and pump jacks dot the horizon, all signs of the state’s growth as an oil and gas hub.

Gaslit: How NM straddles the divide between environmental action and energy revenue

By Isabel Koyama , Sarah Suwalsky and Others  Photo: Jimmy Cloutier , Howard Center for Investigative Journalism   03/09/22  
Bright pink flags mark a swath of newly cleared land, rubber water hoses snake along the roadside and pump jacks dot the horizon, all signs of the state’s growth as an oil and gas hub.

Report: New Mexicans struggling to keep up with rising energy costs

By Bethany Blankley  Photo: Susan Montoya Bryan , AP File Photo   03/08/22  
Roughly one-quarter of Americans were already struggling to pay rising energy costs before prices at the pump hit record levels this week, according to an analysis published by HelpAdvisor. Those suffering the most are in…

Global climate change report has implications for New Mexico drought, oil and gas

By Adrian Hedden   03/03/22  
In the next decade, human-driven changes to the world’s climate could lead to more extreme weather events and perilous conditions, such as New Mexico’s worsening drought, read a recent international study.

New Mexico Wants it ‘Both Ways,’ Insisting on Environmental Regulations While Benefiting from Oil and Gas

By Isabel Koyama and others  Photo: Jimmy Cloutier   02/27/22  
Bright pink flags mark a swath of newly cleared land, rubber water hoses snake along the roadside and pump jacks dot the horizon, all signs of the state’s growth as an oil and gas hub.…

PNM warns of potential blackouts in New Mexico this summer

By Griffin Rushton   02/18/22  
"We've offered different plans to replace the coal-fired electricity that has been coming from San Juan Generating Station, we've offered different mixes of solar and battery, and gas, and every other renewable source,” said PNM…

Hydrogen is a false climate solution

By Mario Atencio   01/16/22  
Indigenous communities in New Mexico have long dealt with the negative impacts of experimental energy projects promoted by state and federal governments. This legislative session, as the state faces a climate crisis that is already…

Building equity into the renewable energy transition

By Carl Segerstrom  Photo: Joseph F. Hernandez   01/12/22  
This year, the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station just outside of Shiprock, New Mexico, is scheduled to shut down. When it does, it will leave behind a legacy of air and water pollution and land…

New Mexico High Court Upholds Deal on Coal-Fired Power Plant

By Associated Press   01/11/22  
The state Supreme Court has upheld provisions of an environmental law that provides financial arrangements for an electric utility to abandon investments in a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.

NM groups granted $325K in support of environmental justice

By Theresa Davis   01/02/22  
In New Mexico, low-income and minority residents are more likely to live in polluted areas with diminished water and air quality and limited access to outdoor areas.

After rejecting Avangrid, some in New Mexico push for publicly owned power company

By Susan Montoya Bryan  Photo: Susan Montoya Bryan , Associated Press   12/22/21  
More than a dozen New Mexico lawmakers are petitioning state utility regulators to study the potential costs and benefits of publicly owned electrical power for the state.

Biden administration approves expansion of solar power on U.S. land

By Matthew Brown  Photo: Regis Duvignau , Reuters   12/21/21  
U.S. officials announced approval Tuesday of two solar projects in California and moved to open up public lands in three other Western states to potential solar development, as part of the Biden administration’s effort to…

How the rise of copper reveals clean energy’s dark side

By Gitanjali Poonia  Photo: Julie Dermansky/Earthworks   11/09/21  
Corky Stewart, a retired geologist, and his wife live in a rural subdivision in New Mexico’s Grant County, about a mile north of the sprawling Tyrone copper mine.

New Mexico’s Chile Pepper Farmers Feel the Heat of Climate Change

By Wufei Yu   10/26/21  
In the village of Hatch, New Mexico, at a chile shop cloaked in red ristras — the ornamental strings of chiles that often adorn doorways and windows in the state — Jessie Moreno, the young…

U.S., Mexico officials urge collaboration on water issues

By Theresa Davis  Photo: Roberto E. Rosales , Albuquerque Journal   09/29/21  
International officials must work together to research and conserve shared groundwater supplies, experts from New Mexico, Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua said during a virtual conference this week.

New Mexico Attorney General Balderas joins effort to curb air pollution from vehicles

By Adrian Hedden   09/29/21  
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas joined a call with 21 other attorneys general across the country to demand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopt stricter federal standards to reduce air pollution from automobiles.

Heinrich in favor of ending tax benefits to oil and gas, cites pollution in New Mexico

By Adrian Hedden  Photo: Adrian Hedden , Carlsbad Current Argus   09/28/21  
New Mexico’s senior U.S. senator voiced support last week for removing federal “subsidies” to the oil and gas industry in response to calls from environmental groups and state lawmakers.

NM considers revenue options for trust land besides oil, gas

By Dan Boyd   09/28/21  
New Mexico’s eventual shift away from the oil and natural gas industries – whenever it happens – will likely require a mix of revenue-generating activities on state trust land to help absorb a big dip…

Proposed Utility Merger Generates Wariness in New Mexico

By Roz Brown   09/27/21  
PNM is New Mexico's largest electric generation, transmission and distribution utility, serving more than 530,000 customers around the state.

Fueled by climate change, costly Southwest drought isn’t going away

By Rong Fu and others  Photo: Roger Kisby , Bloomberg News   09/21/21  
With absent rainy seasons, depleted snowpack, widespread heat waves, unprecedented wildfires and low reservoirs, the American West has experienced an extraordinary drought since early 2020. To inform and prepare Americans for droughts like this one,…

New Mexico presents rule to reduce fossil fuel pollutants

By Scott Wyland   09/20/21  
State regulators on Monday presented a proposed rule to curb fossil fuel emissions that cause ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can be harmful to public health and the environment.

Drought tests centuries-old water traditions in New Mexico

By Susan Montoya Brian  Photo: Susan Montoya Brian , AP   09/18/21  
At the edge of a sandstone outcropping, Teresa Leger Fernández looks out on the Rio Chama. The river tracks a diverse landscape from the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains through rugged basalt hillsides, layers…

New Mexico lawmakers call on Congress to end oil and gas ‘subsidies’

By Adrian Hedden   09/18/21  
An estimated $121 billion in federal “subsidies” go to the oil and gas industry in Congress’ budget reconciliation bill being debated in the U.S. Capitol.

New Mexico oil and gas must be curbed to address climate, health impacts, study says

By Adrian Hedden   09/16/21  
Oil and gas emissions in New Mexico continued to worry public health advocates and environmentalists as both the state and federal government sought to tighten restrictions on air pollution from fossil fuel development.

Santa Fe group home to go solar, save money

By YCC Team  Photo: Desiree Bernard   09/15/21  
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a group home called Casa Milagro provides permanent housing for people who have struggled with homelessness and mental illness.

USDA invests in renewable energy projects in New Mexico rural communities

By Headlight Staff   09/14/21  
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department is investing $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers, and businesses lower energy costs in…

New Mexico’s key environmental regulators seek budget bumps to fund climate change efforts

By Adrian Hedden   09/04/21  
New Mexico’s upcoming 2022 Legislative Session comes at time of transition for the state’s energy industries – which serve as a major economic driver for the state’s economy.

New Mexico panel considers future of coal-fired power plant

By Susan Montoya Brian  Photo: Susan Montoya Brian , AP   08/30/21  
New Mexico's largest electric provider wants to transfer its share of a coal-fired power plant to an energy company backed by the Navajo Nation, but environmentalists argue that approving the deal would prolong the life…

Governor signs 30×30 executive order

By Hannah Grover   08/25/21  
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Wednesday that aims to set aside 30 percent of the state’s lands and waters by 2030 for conservation and another 20 percent for climate stabilization.

What Is a Megadrought?

By Henry Fountain  Photo: Ethan Miller , Getty Images   06/23/21  
The Western United States is locked in an extreme drought this year that is one of the worst on record. But for a large part of the region the only thing that makes this year different is…

Xcel Energy sets new regional wind energy records

06/20/21  
Boosted by strong production from Xcel Energy’s new Sagamore Wind Project in New Mexico, wind energy accounted for more than half the region’s electricity supply in March and reached a new hourly peak production of…

New Mexicans weigh in on methane as EPA considers new rules

By Hannah Grover  Photo: Hannah Grover   06/18/21  
Dozens of New Mexicans issued warnings about the current and future impacts of climate change this week as they urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a new rule that would lead to significant…