2017 New Mexico Legislature: Feb. 7 update

The 2017 New Mexico legislative session is in full swing. Below is a primer on some priority environmental legislation. Please click here if you’d like legislative updates and action alerts during the session.

Sen. Peter Wirth’s SB215, which makes it much easier for homeowners to finance rooftop solar, energy storage or water-conservation projects (and allows the financing to stay with the house after it’s sold), will be heard in Senate Conservation Committee Feb. 9. Update: This bill passed the Senate Conservation Committee but died in Senate Judiciary on a party-line vote.


Pro-environment legislation


Increase renewable energy (Senate Bill 312): The Clean-Energy Jobs Bill would require New Mexico investor-owned utilities to provide 50% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030, and 80% by 2040. The current Renewable Energy Act, last amended in 2007, has created thousands of New Mexico jobs, one of our state’s few employment bright spots.

Coyote-killing contests (SB268): This bill would prohibit the cruel contests that award cash and prizes for arbitrary mass killing of coyotes — the most, the largest, the smallest. These contests violate hunting ethics and damage our ecosystem. This bill does not ban coyote-hunting outside of contests.

Ban trapping/poisoning on public lands (SB286): Traps exploit wildlife and are dangerous to the public, pets and endangered species. This bill would ban traps and animal poisons on public lands, where everyone can recreate and enjoy the outdoors.

Reform Game Commission (HB254): This bill would ensure that members of the Game Commission, which sets wildlife policy for most of New Mexico’s species, is more representative of all New Mexicans and more responsive to the needs of all wildlife.

Wildlife trafficking (SB81): This bill prohibits sale or trafficking of threatened or endangered animals in New Mexico, filling in gaps in federal restrictions.

Solar tax credits: These bills would all restore the tax credit for New Mexicans who install solar on their rooftops. It is another proven job-creator and boosts the solar industry.

Anti-environment legislation

Seize federal mineral rights under private property (SB182): This bill would somehow take federal split-estate lands (federally owned oil and gas rights under private land) for the New Mexico Land Office to lease for drilling. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that claims to benefit pre-schoolers. Update: This bill was withdrawn on Feb. 8. Thank you for your calls and emails!

Solar-company regulations HB199, SB210: This is a PNM bill that, under the guise of consumer protection, puts a host of onerous requirements on companies that install residential solar panels. The billwould be especially difficult for smaller, local companies to comply with, despite few consumer complaints from these companies.

We are tracking many, many other bills that affect our climate, water, land and wildlife. To keep track of them all and find out when they’re being voted on, please join our legislative listserv and please come to our Land, Water and Wildlife Day on Wednesday. Write toriogrande.chapter@sierraclub.org for more information.


2017 New Mexico Legislature: Feb. 7 update

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