Forest Health-New Mexico

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

(The Center Square) – As New Mexico's energy rates increased more than the national average over the past year, Gov. Lujan Grisham faced criticism Wednesday after speaking at the Environmental Council of States 2021 State Environmental Protection meeting.

“New Mexico is serving as a shining example to other states and countries,” Grisham said during opening remarks at the meeting. “If other states and countries are looking for a climate action model to follow, look to New Mexico.”

Grisham said New Mexico is leading in the fight against climate change by requiring reduced emissions from the energy and oil and gas industries,  prioritizing clean fuel standard legislation and investing in green energy job training, among other initiatives, according to a news release from the governor's office.

But Larry Behrens, western states director for Power the Future, a nonprofit that advocates for the energy industry, pointed to data that show New Mexico's utility costs are increasing at a faster rate than the national average and a recent call from the state's largest electricity provider for people to cut back on their energy use to reduce the strain on the power grid as proof that New Mexico isn't the leader in clean energy that Grisham makes it out to be.

“Gov. Lujan Grisham’s remarks are a shining example of what happens when you transition away from the truth," Behrens said. "The Governor’s green agenda is causing electric rates to go up faster than the national average at a time when New Mexico’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country."

The July Choose Energy® Rate report shows New Mexico consumers' electric bills rose 3.8% from April 2020 to April 2021. The national average was 3.6%.

Behrens said the governor's green energy agenda is failing.

"In just the last year, every utility in the state failed to meet the standard for her energy transition and New Mexicans were asked to use less electricity as triple-digit heat hit parts of the state," Behrens added. "New Mexico’s working families are being forced to pay for the Governor’s failed green agenda and no state should follow such an example.”