Governor Proposes 49 Percent Increase in Environment Department Funding | Local news

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A new climate change office, stronger drinking water monitoring and an expanded hemp and cannabis agency would be funded by a large funding increase that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is proposing for the environment department of the state.

In total, the agency would see its budget increase by 48.7% if lawmakers approved it during the 30-day legislative session that begins on Jan. 18.

The Legislative Finance Committee recommends a 6.4% increase in the agency’s budget for fiscal year 2023.

In a statement, Lujan Grisham said she was proposing a larger budget to make environmental monitoring a priority.

“My administration believes that clean air, clean water and clean land are the right of every New Mexican, and I am committed to providing the resources to government agencies to ensure this is the case,” said Lujan Grisham.

Cleaning up the industry, taking action against climate change and protecting public health can all be done while strengthening and diversifying the economy, she added.

  • $ 2.5 million to fund a 15-person climate change office that would oversee some proposed laws, if passed. These include establishing a new standard on clean fuels, making New Mexico a hydrogen hub and codifying the commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The office would also develop new climate policies.
  • $ 2.4 million to ensure drinking water is free of contaminants such as PFAS, as well as to alleviate drought and restore watersheds and wetlands, including those important to the livelihoods economy. state air. (PFAS is an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of potentially harmful synthetic chemicals used in a wide variety of household products and industrial processes.)
  • $ 2.3 million for 19 jobs within the Hemp and Cannabis Bureau.

A fossil fuel advocate and fierce critic of Lujan Grisham has slammed the proposed funding for the climate change office and the clean fuel standard he would oversee if enacted into law.

“The newly created bureaucracy would cost taxpayers over $ 166,000 per employee and would be responsible for implementing the Governor’s Clean Fuel Standard Act, which will raise gas prices statewide,” Larry Behrens, director of the Western States section of Power the Future, said in a statement. “While families in New Mexico are currently paying gas prices 40% higher than last year, the governor’s proposal would increase the cost of gas even further. “

State Department of Environment Secretary James Kenney called the proposed budget increase essential, calling it “a big step forward.”


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