As American business continues to move into an ever-evolving 21st-Century economic landscape, the role of local and grass-roots movements has emerged as a principal factor in local economies. As American citizens and stewards of our country’s future, we are all obliged to educate ourselves on current civil, economic and legislative issues, and to help carry forward our ideals to ensure a better tomorrow for our children. This has always been the American way, and it has helped make us the greatest country on Earth.
At the New Mexico Business Coalition, we focus specifically on advocating for pro-business legislation and educating elected officials, whether local or national. As a grass-roots, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, we pride ourselves on viewing issues clearly and without bias. To this end, the recent surge of natural gas in transportation, heating and electricity has won our attention, and we consider advocating on natural gas’s behalf a top priority.
The link between natural gas and the future of New Mexico’s economy could not be clearer. Holding nearly 5 percent of the U.S. natural gas reserves, New Mexico is the sixth-largest natural gas-producing state and exports nearly 80 percent of its gas to other states. The economic benefits associated with such numbers cannot be overemphasized – natural gas is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars annually in New Mexico revenue.
Aside from being a cornerstone of the New Mexican economy, natural gas has experienced a major production uptick over the last decade and represents a shifting attitude in the way Americans view U.S. energy. The movement toward cleaner, sustainable energy sources has been led largely by the natural gas movement. When used as an energy source, natural gas releases up to 20 to 30 percent less CO2 than oil, and as much as 50 percent less CO2 than coal. Natural gas usage has been shown to be directly linked to reduced U.S. carbon emissions: as production has increased 50 percent since 2005, our country has seen its total greenhouse gas emissions dip 11 percent.
Being a leading clean energy resource, natural gas provides the perfect complement to still-developing clean energy technologies such as wind and solar power, as it can provide reliable power when wind and solar are not available. Natural gas is one of our most abundant natural resources; deposits in America are greater and more accessible than in any other country. And as the No. 1 producer of natural gas worldwide, the U.S. has enough natural gas to meet its energy demands for the next 100 years.
With such an abundant and readily available resource, America’s shift toward natural gas is easy to understand. The economic benefit of this shift has been profound: In 2015, expanded access to natural gas deposits helped add 1.9 million new jobs to the American economy and resulted in an average $1,337 in utility bill savings annualy for American families. Considering the abundance of New Mexico’s natural gas deposits, and its ability to export surplus product, our state is well prepared to benefit from the continuing nationwide natural gas movement.