NM Energy Dept. 2022 budget includes millions in funding for climate priorities

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department announced that it will discuss the department’s fiscal year 2022 budget Tuesday with the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. The budget recommendation includes an additional $7.9 million in a combination of one-time funding and recurring funding for EMNRD climate priorities such as forest and watershed restoration, modernizing New Mexico’s electric grid, environmental compliance, and surveillance of the oil and gas industry, implementing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and climate resiliency projects according to a news release.

“The Executive Budget Recommendation goes a long way to build EMNRD’s capacity after serious cuts under the previous administration,” said EMNRD Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst in the same news release. “In the past two years we have made significant progress growing the agency’s expertise and resources, and the Executive Budget Recommendation keeps us on the path to a fully staffed and more efficient agency.”

The department also says EMNRD will present in front of the Senate Finance Committee on February 10 at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, the department says the budget recommendation addresses the need to build capacity by filling vacant positions and investing in technology that will help EMNRD meet its goals. According to the same news release, the governor and legislature have made decisive action on climate change, enacting the Energy Transition Act, modernizing the state’s electric grid, enacting a new solar tax credit, and more. EMNRD is one of the key state agencies responsible for turning bills into results and ensuring the effective and quick implementation of programs according to the department.

The department says the Executive Budget Recommendation wouldn’t add any full-time employees but would allow EMNRD to fill currently vacant positions and also invest in technology that will collect and analyze seismic, methane, and climate data and move operations to a digital format saving time across the agency and increasing public transparency.