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3 New Mexico lawmakers praise House climate plan

Three members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation praised the U.S. House’s roll out of its Climate Action Crisis Action Plan last week.

The three – U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland and Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall – played roles in crafting legislation included in the plan, which calls for the country to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050.

Luján was on the committee that introduced the plan.

“2020 is on track to being the warmest year on record, which could cause serious natural disasters across New Mexico and the nation,” he said in a news release. “Our health, our economy, and our future are all at stake.”

The state’s other member of the House, Xochitl Torres Small, told the Journal she was still reviewing the plan and was of the opinion that energy producers – including the oil and gas industry – should be included in coming up with a national climate plan.

“Representing southeastern New Mexico with one of the most active oil and gas basins in the nation, I know how important it is to find ways to work together to reduce our carbon emissions,” she said. “We have important scientists, we have engineers in the energy industry who want to be partners in finding these solutions.”

The plan includes the 30 by 30 Resolution to Save Nature sponsored by Haaland in the House and Udall in the Senate. The resolution establishes a national goal of conserving at least 30% of the land and 30% of the ocean within the territory of the United States by 2030.

“Scientists tell us that we must conserve at least 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 to prevent mass extinction,” Udall said.

The plan also includes other provisions that Haaland and Udall have sponsored: Haaland’s Climate Stewardship Act, which includes planting over 4 billion trees by 2030 and 15 billion trees by 2050, and the 100% Clean Economy Act, which provides incentives involving energy transition.

Udall’s Break Free From Plastic legislation is also in the plan – which does have its critics.

“The plan rolled out by House Democrat leadership spells disaster for New Mexico’s families. Under this plan, New Mexicans would have to buy a new electric vehicle and pay for bigger electric bills all while watching thousands of their neighbors lose their job,” said Larry Behrens of the energy advocacy group Power to the Future.

He made reference to the plan setting strong greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars, heavy-duty trucks and aviation; enacting a national sales standard to achieve 100% sales of zero emission cars by 2035 and heavy-duty trucks by 2040.

If the plan clears the House, it would face difficulty in the Republican-controlled Senate.

USMCA GOES INTO EFFECT: The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement on July 1.

“In southern New Mexico, the USMCA is crucial for New Mexico’s export industry, supporting chile and pecan growers, oil and gas workers, and local businesses,” said Torres Small, who was among the first members of the state’s delegation to call for a vote on the deal negotiated by the Trump administration. “This historic trade deal shows what’s possible when we put partisan politics aside and work together.”

Scott Turner: sturner@abqjournal.com

 

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