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New Mexico legislature passes clean fuel standard

On February 13, the New Mexico legislature passed a clean fuel standard—which the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has long advocated for. The Clean Transportation Fuels Standard (HB 41) is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has been a staunch supporter of the initiative.

The Clean Transportation Fuels Standard aims to establish benchmarks aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 20% before 2030 and by 30% before 2040. Additionally, the bill seeks to incentivize the production of lower-emission fuels by offering credits to producers, explains a press release by New Mexico House Democrats.

The standard is projected to create an estimated $470 million in investment, along with 1,600 permanent jobs and 2,300 construction jobs. Gene Harrington, BIO’s Senior Director of State Government Affairs, Agriculture & Environment, notes this shift towards biofuels will also drive investment in industries like forestry and dairy.

The impact of New Mexico’s clean fuels standard

Beyond its economic benefits, New Mexico’s Clean Transportation Fuels Standard holds promise for environmental and public health improvements.

“HB 41 will protect both public health and the environment, reducing transportation emissions in New Mexico by 18.5 million metric tons,” said Harrington.

This move also underscores New Mexico’s commitment to environmental stewardship, placing it among a select group of states leading the charge toward cleaner energy solutions. California, Oregon, and Washington have already implemented clean fuel standards. These have displaced billions of gallons of fossil fuels and the reduction of millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

“It’s vital to New Mexico’s future that we take meaningful and pragmatic action to reduce our carbon footprint,” said bill sponsor Rep. Kristina Ortez (D-Taos). “By incentivizing the use of cleaner fuels in high-emission industries like transportation, we can address the impacts of climate change, while also strengthening our economy.”

BIO applauds New Mexico’s clean fuels standard

BIO has been actively involved in advocating for this legislation since its proposal four years ago. Through a BIOAction campaign, the organization mobilized New Mexicans to urge their state representatives to support the clean fuel standard.

Harrington says HB 41 not only diversifies New Mexico’s economy but also positions the state as a leader in the national transition to clean fuels.

The passage of HB 41 represents a crucial step towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future for New Mexico. By embracing clean fuel standards, the state is poised to reap economic benefits while safeguarding the environment and public health.

“HB 41 is an important piece of legislation that can diversify New Mexico’s economy, protect the environment, combat climate change, and establish New Mexico’s leadership in a national transition to clean fuels,” said Harrington.