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NM Engages With Biden's Energy Secretary on Methane Rules

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Thursday, August 26, 2021   

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- As New Mexico leans into renewable-energy goals, clean-air advocates highlighted both progress and challenges during a recent visit by America's top energy official.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited the state as the Biden administration looked to promote renewable-energy initiatives.

Celerah Hewes, New Mexico field consultant for Moms Clean Air Force, met with the secretary to explain the state's clean-energy transition efforts and highlight air-quality problems created by the oil and gas industry.

"We have a few things that are pretty unique about the way our legislative system works and how oil and gas functions in New Mexico," Hewes explained. "And how we can be a leader in kind of a transition away from fossil fuels."

While carbon dioxide is by far the largest contributor to climate change, a recent report suggested 30% to 50% of the current rise in temperatures is due to methane emissions.

An analysis by the Analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund in 2020 estimated New Mexico's oil and gas companies emit more than one million metric tons of methane annually.

Hewes argued New Mexico needs both new state and federal methane rules.

"We can make changes here in New Mexico as any state can, but when we're talking about oil and gas and air pollution and climate change, we're talking about problems that cross boundaries," Hewes asserted. "So having a strong federal regulation is really important."

Hewes noted the meetings with Granholm also included discussions about New Mexico's efforts to lower utility costs.

"We're looking at electrification within our homes, and solutions that help to ensure children have some sort of equity within their homes and make it affordable for families that can't afford it because it is an environmental-justice issue as well," Hewes outlined.

Disclosure: The Environmental Defense Action Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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