Seeking to diversify the economy from its historic dependence on fossil fuel production, which includes substantial output from the Permian Basin, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wasted no time Tuesday after she was sworn-in to outline her priorities for education, jobs and renewable energy.
During a 30-minute inaugural address in Santa Fe, Lujan Grisham talked about reforming the state's public education system and modernizing its oil-dependent economy, stressing more focus on climate change and regulating the state’s booming oil and gas industry.
She said New Mexico should serve as a "national example of what a clean energy revolution looks like," endorsing a goal of generating 50% of the state's electricity with renewables by 2030. The state's current renewable goal calls for 20% by next year.
The governor’s staff characterized the remarks to as "optimistic and tough-minded," stressing that the state needs to develop industries that "will put New Mexicans to work."
While the speech was relatively light on specific references to energy policy, there was one reference that supported the governor's campaign message when she indicated her support for a state rule to reduce methane emissions.
Lujan Grisham said her plans for a methane mitigation rule "will not only protect our health, it will deliver more money for the state and create meaningful jobs. We will finally, finally be economically proactive...As world economies turn to clean energy, we will embrace our destiny as a global leader -- and in the process we will put New Mexicans to work."
She said dramatically increasing renewables would "insulate" New Mexico from "future oil busts" while helping protect the environment. “That means we will produce 50% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030 and set the course for 80% 10 years after that."