Environmental Leaders Respond to LFC’s Budget Request

January 7, 2022

Contact: Ben Shelton, CVNM Political and Policy Director | Ben@cvnm.org or 505.467.9480

Environmental Leaders Respond to LFC’s Budget Request
Proposed budget fails the state and New Mexico working families on climate

(Santa Fe, NM) – Yesterday, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) unveiled its budget proposal for consideration in the 2022 legislative session. The Committee, composed of 17 members of the House and Senate, proposed a $8.46 billion budget plan that fails to address the severity of the climate crisis by underfunding critical programming, investing in fossil fuel projects, and drastically cutting the essential budgets for environmental regulators. This proposal comes at a time when New Mexico working families and communities are experiencing significant impacts of climate change, including 98% of the state in drought. Some of the most troubling aspects of LFC’s budget proposal include the following:

  • Significantly cut general fund recommendations for the New Mexico Environment and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Departments, roughly 70-80% lower than Governor Lujan Grisham’s budget requests
  • Climate-related special budget requests from agencies cut and/or eliminated
  • $150 million allocated to hydrogen hub projects with no current safeguards or commitments in place to protect families and communities from environmental impacts

LFC’s budget proposal also lacks meaningful investments that support New Mexico’s working families in a just transition to a clean energy workforce or saving on energy costs through home weatherization.

In response, environmental leaders issued the following statements:

“Last year the Governor announced at Speaker Egolf’s Climate Summit that 2022 was the year to begin the next phase of climate action, and the 2022 executive budget request reflects the beginning of that commitment. The LFC budget recommendation that we saw yesterday strips far too much of it out. 2022 is a windfall year for both state and federal dollars, and the climate approach articulated in the LFC request is insufficient. We urge the House Appropriations committee to act quickly to ensure that New Mexicans overwhelming interest in climate action is clearly represented in HB 2.”
– Ben Shelton, CVNM Political and Policy Director

“Amigos Bravos urges the legislature to fully fund conservation priorities, particularly as they relate to climate change response and protection of New Mexico’s watersheds. We noted with disappointment a rather large discrepancy between the Governor’s proposed budget and the LFC budget, we urge the legislature to take another look at funding these critical needs.”
– Joe Zupan, Amigos Bravos executive director

“Now is the time to open new doors to an economy where all communities thrive and New Mexico’s air, land, water, and wildlife are protected. Unfortunately, the legislature’s budget does not reflect New Mexicans’ values and instead keeps New Mexicans tied to boom-and-bust jobs that threaten their health and harm the climate. We urge the legislature to increase funding for New Mexico’s state agencies so that they can protect our air, land, water, and climate, and create sustainable jobs for all New Mexicans.”
– Kurt Gutjahr, CAVU executive director

“The solutions to the climate crisis rely on economic investment and innovation. But, the legislative budget fails our environment and our communities. We hoped for an earthshot investment for the planet, but instead we have agencies without the resources to inspect and enforce environmental regulations. LFC’s plan for economic diversification utterly lacks environmental protection efforts. It’s time to invest in a liveable planet and New Mexico.”
– Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter, Director

Featured image from State of Reform

Environmental Leaders Respond to LFC’s Budget Request