As a New Mexican and chair of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, I am proud of what Gov. (Michelle) Lujan Grisham and the Legislature achieved with the Energy Transition Act.
Along with a diverse coalition, they enacted a law to guide our state’s transition to a clean-energy future, with nation-leading requirements for renewable energy and funding for plant and mine workers, and the surrounding community.
As a former labor organizer for state employees, my favorite part of the ETA requires job training and apprenticeships in construction of new energy sources. Renewable energy jobs need to be part of the equation for replacing coal jobs. I believe we must support labor organizing in the energy fields as we transition. The wages, benefits and safety of energy jobs are best protected by good labor contracts.
The ETA will provide other critical benefits as well. San Juan County residents can see the start of a just transition if the San Juan coal plant closes and is cleaned up and renewables are built. The new law provides $40 million for workers and economic development in the Four Corners. The ETA encourages replacement energy in the same school district as the San Juan plant to help make that school district whole, all while reducing our electric rates through low-interest bonds.