Governor Signs Environmental Legislation

February 27, 2008

HB 305 will boost energy efficiency

Environment New Mexico joined other environmentalists, advocates, department staff, utility representatives and others in the Cabinet Room at the New Mexico State Capitol as Gov. Bill Richardson signed important energy efficiency and water legislation into law today.

“We’re pleased to see such broad-based support for energy efficiency,” said Environment New Mexico advocate Lauren Ketcham. “Our homes and offices use energy that contributes to global warming. An energy efficiency standard will help to reduce this sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, while creating new jobs and saving consumers money on their utility bills.”

The governor-backed House Bill 305, sponsored by Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, will require utilities to develop programs to save energy—equal to 10 percent of the utility’s sales by 2020.

The bill will also allow the Public Regulations Commission (PRC) to provide incentives to utilities who can demonstrate significant energy savings, allowing energy efficiency to become profitable for utilities like building new coal-fired power plants currently is.

The bill is supported by the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE), including member groups like Community Action New Mexico, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Environment New Mexico. Gail Ryba, CCAE’s Executive Director, and an energy efficiency expert, spoke at today’s press conference on behalf of the coalition.

“Energy efficiency is a win-win,” Ketcham said. “Energy efficiency is the cheapest form of new energy, costing at least half of what new generation costs. It also offsets the need to build new power plants, creates new jobs and reduces our reliance on foreign sources of energy. We’re pleased to see this legislation signed into law today.”

The governor also signed Senate Bill 227, sponsored by Sen. Phil Griego, which allows the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) the authority to acquire water rights without purchasing land to meet Pecos River Compact obligations.

“This bill will help to save the state money, allow the ISC to focus on protecting and administering New Mexico’s water and will help New Mexico ensure that it meets its delivery obligations,” Ketcham said.
Environment New Mexico is a state-wide environmental advocacy organization working to protect New Mexico’s air, water and open space. www.EnvironmentNewMexico.org <http://www.EnvironmentNewMexico.org>

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