How We're Tackling the Challenge

We focus on four key areas in our climate efforts:


New Mexico is home to two of the dirtiest and most polluting coal plants in the country. Thanks in part to intervention by the Sierra Club, both Four Corners Power Plant and San Juan Generating Station have retired or plan to retire several units. The Rio Grande Chapter and Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign work for the total transition from dangerous and dirty coal to renewable energy to make a better future for our children.

Laws and rules our members helped enact have increased renewable energy in New Mexico, but we have a long way to go.

Energy Policy

Our chapter works to transition from oil, gas, uranium and coal to clean, renewable energy. In the Legislature, chapter staff and volunteers successfully lobbied for the law that requires utilities to reach 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. In 2015, hundreds of Rio Grande Chapter supporters contacted their state representatives and senators in a successful campaign to stop an attempt to gut the law.

The Rio Grande Chapter also advocates at the Public Regulation Commission, which holds incredible power over our state's energy policy. We’ve helped enact strong net­-metering rules (which guide how utilities pay customers with solar at their business or residence), successfully lobbied for rules to increase the amount of solar energy that utilities are required to provide under the Renewable Energy Act, and protected those rules from being undermined by hostile forces.

Sierra Club's Dirty Fuels campaign in New Mexico is led by Robert Tohe, who works to protect tribal communities in Northwest and western New Mexico from the hazards of uranium mining and fracking.

Renewable Energy

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter and our supporters successfully worked for a New Mexico law requiring our largest utilities to provide 20% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020. We monitor and advocate at the Legislature and the Public Regulation Commission to keep our Renewable Energy Act and the rules that enforce intact and strong. Thanks to thousands of supporters contacting their elected representatives, we’ve fended off several attacks that would have severely curtailed renewable energy in New Mexico. We also advocate and work with local governments to develop pro-­renewables policy like community solar. It’s time to strengthen our renewable-­energy laws, policy and infrastructure to the levels needed to provide a safe climate for future generations.

Sierra Club's NM Northern Group Executive Committee member Sandrine Gaillard has developed a website to help homeowners decide if going solar makes sense for them, learn about the process and what's involved with going solar. Visit to read the details, and feel free to contact her at with your comments and questions.

Zero Waste

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ­­ --  we pay too little attention to the first two when reducing our use and waste, both of which are key to addressing pollution and the energy ­burning that is driving climate disruption. Please visit to learn about how Eldorado at Santa Fe recycles, and contact Co-­chairs Joe Eigner at or Karen Sweeney at with questions or for more information, or to join our Zero Waste team.

How You Can Take Action on Climate Change

Join our Climate Action Team

The team meets monthly and comes up with great ideas and actions to increase renewable energy at the local and state level. Contact Camilla Feibelman for more information and to join the team at

Visit our Act on the Issues Page here to find out about how you can act on urgent and other environmental issues.

Climate change news

UNEARTHED: The Real Story of Oil and Gas in New Mexico

UNEARTHED: The Real Story of Oil and Gas in New Mexico

You are invited to join the launch of CAVU’s multi-media project, UNEARTHED: The Real Story of Oil and Gas in New Mexico. WHAT:  Short film screening and panel discussion moderated by NPR’s Tara Gatewood. WHEN:   Thursday, November 16th, 2017, 6:30 PM ...
Photo of PNM's San Juan Coal Fired Generator Plant for the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter website

Articles related to methane

By Denise Fort, Research Professor, UNM School of Law
Chapter Energy Committee chair
New Mexicans are well aware that we have the dubious honor of contributing to an enormous methane hot spot that hovers over the Four Corners Area. Methane ...
PNM proposes 50 MW of new solar facilities

PNM proposes 50 MW of new solar facilities

In the renewable-energy plan PNM is required to produce every year, New Mexico's largest electric utility has proposed to build 50 megawatts of solar, upgrade and add energy output to the New Mexico Wind Energy Center contract and upgrade and ...
BLM ready to auction more of Chaco

BLM ready to auction more of Chaco

In August, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Farmington Field Office notified Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye that it intends to auction off 25 more parcels in Greater Chaco for fracking. These parcels are unnervingly close to the 10-mile buffer ...
Drones record Chaco fracking sites 

Drones record Chaco fracking sites 

The River Healers have sent drones to multiple fracking sites in the Greater Chaco Area impacted by explosions, fires, spills and methane ...
Will Sandoval County choose oil and gas over people? 

Will Sandoval County choose oil and gas over people? 

By Miya King-Flaherty, Chapter Public-Lands Fellow On September 21, the Sandoval County Commission voted 4-1 to consider an oil and gas ordinance that would shut out public input and endanger drinking water. But there’s still time to stop it. Planning and ...
Sandoval County Oil & Gas Ordinance Talking Points

Sandoval County Oil & Gas Ordinance Talking Points

Sandoval County is amending its comprehensive zoning ordinance to address oil and gas extraction. Here are some things to look for and questions to ask ...