A recent editorial in the Albuquerque Journal by state Rep. Brian Egolf cited a poll showing bipartisan support for conservation in New Mexico. Perhaps this result surprised Mr. Egolf, but it doesn’t surprise us at the New Mexico Energy Forum because it proves what we’ve known all along: that New Mexicans – just like other Americans – believe in responsible energy exploration and that we need energy from all sources – including renewables – to provide for our long-term energy needs.
New Mexico is blessed with so many sources of energy – from not only oil and natural gas, but also wind and solar. We are also a major contributor to the nuclear fuel cycle, providing for the enrichment of the fuel for zero-greenhouse gas emitting nuclear reactors around the country. These energy sources provide jobs to close to 100,000 New Mexicans and fund almost 30 percent of our general fund.
What we are surprised about is the rhetoric from some in Santa Fe and Washington that discounts the important role of fossil fuels in our energy supply, not to mention the associated jobs. It’s an indisputable fact that energy from coal, oil and natural gas provide the base load power for our current and future needs.
It’s also an indisputable fact that energy from renewable sources (mostly wind) only produces less than 8 percent of our energy in New Mexico. While technology in this space is advancing, it isn’t happening at a pace fast enough to keep up with our growing energy demand in an affordable way – demand that will only increase when our economy fully recovers from the deep recession of the last several years. We support research and development in this area – much of it done by leading conventional energy companies – and are optimistic that one day the necessary leapfrogs in technology will occur in order to see these sources play a meaningful and economical role in our energy supply.
We share the concern of many Americans that our country has grown too dependent on foreign energy sources, particularly from unfriendly countries like Iran and Venezuela. This is why we believe we should make the most of the energy that comes from right here at home and from our allies, like Canada. This will help cushion the United States from spikes in oil prices, just like the one we are experiencing now because of threats from Iran’s totalitarian regime.
New Mexicans – like all Americans – are paying the price for this dependence in the form of higher gas prices at the pump – hurting lower income households the most and harming our economy just as it’s starting to grow again.
‘All-of-the-above’ approach needed
Our energy future must always consider the environmental impact. The Forum agrees that all energy exploration must always protect our air and our water. This is why we work cooperatively with regulators at the local, state and federal level to ensure that regulations do exactly that.
What we oppose are onerous policies and regulations designed by ideologues that are determined to stop production of oil and natural gas in favor of only those energy sources that they deem acceptable. These regulations drive the cost of exploration high enough to shift production to states where these job-killing regulations do not exist. In addition, policies and legislation designed to prop up or mandate renewable energy serves only to make energy much more expensive for all New Mexicans.
We encourage our leaders in Santa Fe to support an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and create an environment for continued job creation. The right tone and policies encourage oil and natural gas production, which is why it’s no coincidence that the economy is booming in energy producing parts of our state. We also support the development of transmission lines designed to get renewable energy from source to market.
The New Mexico Energy Forum will continue the dialogue about our energy future and will make the case that we do not have to choose between protecting the environment and supplying the country with domestic energy that we rely on now and in the years to come.
Gerges Scott works as an advocate to various energy companies in New Mexico in his capacity as Director of the New Mexico Energy Forum. A grassroots, pro-energy organization with over 800 members strong, New Mexico Energy Forum believes that all sources of energy are important for the state and the country. The organization does not share the view of the vocal minority who seek to demonize the oil/gas industry in New Mexico. Scott also just announced he is seeking the Republican nomination for State Senate District 18 seat in Northeast Albuquerque.