The Democratic governor of New Mexico on Monday renewed her call on lawmakers in the major oil-producing state to approve requirements for fuel producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement: “New Mexico must adopt a clean fuel standard in the upcoming legislature.”
It is at the governor’s discretion which non-budget initiatives will be heard during the 30-day legislative term beginning January 18.
Earlier this year, the state House of Representatives stalled a Democratic-sponsored bill to introduce low-carbon fuel standards after winning Senate approval in a party-line vote with opposition Republicans. The proposal would not have been applicable to retailers, including petrol stations.
Similar programs have been implemented in California and Oregon. Low carbon fuel standards aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector by going beyond vehicle fuel efficiency requirements and setting benchmarks for fuel manufacturers or importers, or both.
The regulations usually quantify the environmental impact of fuels or mixtures – such as oil, ethanol or hydrogen – from their extraction or manufacturing process to their end use. The regulations require suppliers to gradually improve their production processes in order to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide or other pollutants into the air.
In California, oil refineries can be rewarded for incorporating renewable sources of electricity such as solar panels or wind turbines into the refining process – or by sequestering carbon underground instead of releasing it into the air.
Lujan Grisham welcomed the move by President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday to raise mileage standards for vehicles in order to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that warm the planet, undoing a rollback by former President Donald Trump that has been changing fuel efficiency standards loosened.
Artesia Republican minority leader James Townsend in a statement warned that the governor’s policies could increase fuel prices in rural areas in an effort to please environmental activists.
New Mexico produces more oil than ever before, outperforming North Dakota in the last few months as the nation’s No. 2 producer after Texas– Increase in greenhouse gas emissions from customers burning the state’s oil or natural gas.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stands ready to tighten federal methane regulations for the oil and natural gas industry. The New Mexico Department of the Environment is developing its own rules aimed at reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions from oilfield equipment and preventing the release of methane, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides.
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