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Aztec senator to head national energy council

Dan BoydSANTA FE – A Republican state senator from Aztec has been elected the national chairman of a group of lawmakers from 13 energy-producing states and two Canadian provinces.

Sen. Steven Neville won election to the Energy Council leadership post during a meeting this week in Anchorage, Alaska. He had served as the group’s vice chairman for the previous year.

His election to the chairmanship position comes as New Mexico’s coffers are flush from an oil drilling boom in the state’s southeastern corner. The state is expected to take in nearly $7.8 billion during the current budget year and has a projected budget surplus for next year of roughly $2.3 billion.

“As New Mexico and the United States, like never before, are at the forefront of energy production, this is an exciting time to be leading this highly respected, international legislative and energy organization,” Neville said in a statement.

The Energy Council, created in 1975, functions as a forum for energy and environmental policy discussions. Other member states include Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

colleagues remember: The sudden death of state Sen. Carlos Cisneros is still reverberating at the Roundhouse.

An interim legislative committee that Cisneros chaired held its first meeting Thursday since the veteran senator died Sept. 17 of a heart attack.

At the start of the meeting, members of the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee – Democrats and Republicans alike – took turns remembering Cisneros and telling stories about his cordial nature and fondness for large pickup trucks.

A Questa Democrat, Cisneros was first appointed to the Senate in 1985 and was the chamber’s second-longest-serving member.

Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, has been appointed to replace Cisneros as the interim committee’s chairman, at least for the time being.

No decisions have been made about who will fill Cisneros’ spot as vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

In addition, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will pick a successor from names submitted by county commissioners in the four counties represented by Senate District 6 – Rio Arriba, Taos, Santa Fe and Los Alamos – to finish the remaining year on the four-year term Cisneros was elected to in 2016.

Dan Boyd: dboyd@abqjournal.com

 

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