Issue Position: Energy

Issue Position

By:  Ben Lujan, Jr.
Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Location: Unknown

It is well known that New Mexico is home to many diverse energy resources and has long been a leader in energy production. Unfortunately, America still relies heavily on foreign oil to meet its energy demands, and this dependence compromises the security and economic vitality of our nation. High energy costs are making it harder for families to make ends meet. Research has also confirmed that green house gas emissions are polluting our air, contributing to global warming, harming our treasured lands and hurting our economic sustainability. We need to become more energy independent, lower energy costs for our families and build a clean energy economy in New Mexico that can create new jobs in our state.

Rep. Luján is committed to a clean energy future that will eliminate America's dependence on foreign oil and produce affordable, sustainable energy. Rep. Luján believes that we are headed toward a clean energy economy, an economy where homes and buildings are designed to meet new energy efficiency standards and our vehicles run on clean transportation fuels. Rep. Luján also believes that investment in energy development from renewable sources like solar and wind will contribute to the growing green economy and bring jobs home to New Mexico. Rep. Luján is a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and the Natural Gas Caucus.

Rep. Luján is the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Task for on Task Force on Green Economy and Renewable Energy. Rep. Luján voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which will create clean energy jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and save billions of dollars long term. The Act included language that Rep. Luján worked on to provide funding for clean energy job training and include Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges as Innovation Hubs for clean energy research. Read more about Rep. Luján's work on the American Clean Energy and Security Act .

Rep. Luján also cosponsored the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which will encourage job creation and innovation in the clean energy industry by requiring the Secretary of Energy to develop a comprehensive process for creating a roadmap for solar research and development activities.

Rep. Luján introduced the Community College Energy Training Act of 2009, which will support the training of technicians to work in the wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy sectors. The bill also will cover other energy-related occupations, including energy-efficient construction and retrofitting, recycling and waste reduction, water and energy conservation, and sustainable agriculture.

Rep. Luján worked to co-author the SOLAR Act to promote net metering, which promotes the generation and use of renewable energy in homes and offices. This legislation will help save families money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and move our country toward a clean energy economy. Net metering provides energy consumers with the opportunity to produce their own power through solar panels and other renewable energy generators.

Rep. Luján supported the Natural Gas Vehicles Research and Development Act which will provide for a program of research, development, and demonstration on natural gas vehicles. He also cosponsored the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009 (NAT GAS Act) and wrote a letter to President Obama encouraging the President to consider natural gas vehicles as part of his plan to achieve his executive order for government vehicles to reduce their petroleum use by 30 percent.

Prior to joining Congress, Rep. Luján was the chairman of the Public Regulation Commission. In this role, Rep. Luján worked to increase our energy independence and move New Mexico toward a clean energy future. Under Rep. Luján's leadership, the Public Regulation Commission implemented an increase in the percentage of renewable energy that utilities must supply, making New Mexico's standards some of the highest in the nation. By 2015, 15 percent of electricity that PNM and other state utilities supply must come from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, and by 2020 the percentage increases to 20 percent. He'll continue to work to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and make New Mexico a leader in a new, clean energy economy.