SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s Governor recently vetoed large portions of an omnibus tax bill. On the chopping block were several incentives to address climate change in New Mexico.
The Governor announced the line-item vetoes as a way to keep the state fiscally responsible, but some climate advocates say the Governor’s actions move the state in the wrong direction. Among the provisions vetoed are tax credits for geothermal energy development, electric vehicle credits, and energy storage credits. Climate advocates have called the vetoes “bad news for a livable climate.”
“New Mexicans understand the critical need for climate solutions for ourselves and our families, especially after last year’s devastating fires and floods,” Camilla Feibelman, the director of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter said in a press release. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us we should be sprinting when it comes to climate action, and we’re crawling. Vetoing the only progress we made in this session is turning us around and moving us in the wrong direction.”
The Governor responded in a press conference Friday: “I know they’re disappointed,” she said. “I actually reject some of the really sharp criticisms that we didn’t do enough on the environment.”
She added that one climate-related bill she did sign into law is “unbelievable,” in a good way. That’s the law to provide recurring funding for existing conservation programs. The Governor also noted that she would keep working to get more done in the future to address the environment, including a clean fuel standard and geothermal energy.
In addition to the conservation funding bill, New Mexico’s lawmakers did pass several other bills seeking to protect the environment. The Governor signed into law a bill to give the state a stronger voice in federal negotiations over the storage of nuclear waste in New Mexico and a bill to help protect wildlife from cars on New Mexico’s roads, for example.