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SANTA FE – A top New Mexico fossil fuels industry group has launched an expensive ad campaign targeting the proposed Clean Future Act – a bill backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that would mandate greenhouse gas emissions statewide be net-zero by 2050.
In its campaign against the bill, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association said the Democratic-backed proposal would lead to rampant price inflation and could end up hurting public schools by reducing state revenue levels.
“Inflation is hitting New Mexicans hard and now politicians in Santa Fe want prices to go even higher,” a narrator says during the 30-second ad that began airing Monday on Albuquerque area network stations.
The Oil and Gas Association’s registered lobbyist filed a report with the Secretary of State’s Office indicating the group has spent roughly $256,000 on the ad campaign.
Television ads in support or opposition of proposed legislative initiatives are rare in New Mexico, but could be growing more common. For instance, a Washington, D.C.-based group launched a TV ad campaign last year backing an early childhood funding proposal.
Meanwhile, the measure in question, House Bill 6, has passed one House committee and was scheduled to be debated Monday in its second assigned panel.
But the discussion was delayed as bill sponsors work on possible amendments to the bill, said Rep. Georgene Louis, D-Albuquerque, the chairwoman of the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.
In its current form, the bill would require statewide greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel operators and other industries to be 50% less than 2005 levels by 2030. Emissions would then have to be net-zero by 2050 and for subsequent years.
It would allow for the use of credits and offsets from carbon sequestration and other technologies to be counted toward reduced emission levels, though exactly how such credits could potentially be traded would have to be determined by the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
Backers say the proposal, which stemmed from a Climate Change Summit held last fall, would reduce New Mexico’s contribution to climate change while growing New Mexico’s low-carbon economy.
“The people of New Mexico are already feeling the impacts of climate change and they are counting on us to act right away,” House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said in a statement after the bill passed its first committee. “With this legislation we can make significant progress in reducing our emissions and begin to reverse the damage that has already been done.”