I’m on NM Democrat Senator Jeff Bingaman’s mailing list. Got this in the inbox not long after I alerted a few people here in NM that Bingaman is going to be in the ‘catbird’ seat when it comes to health care reform.
Here in New Mexico, Republicans have no representation or say at all. We’re an invisible minority.
Bingaman on health care reform:
“…The Senate is in the process of writing a new bipartisan energy bill, building on recently enacted energy policies that have begun to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and shift us to cleaner, homegrown energy.
Just this week the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committeewhich I am fortunate to chairapproved a bill [link 1] that will lead to dramatic increases in the number of large-scale wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal projects, improve our energy efficiency, and reduce the amount of water used in energy production. The legislation aims to diversify the nations energy sources, create clean energy jobs and help transition into a low carbon economy. And in doing so, the bill also enhances our national security.
Right now, we rely heavily on foreign countries – many of them hostile to us – to meet our energy needs. Shifting to homegrown, renewable energy will give us a chance to develop our own energy sources while creating American jobs and spurring local economies.
The energy bill I helped write over the past 12 weeks contains several major provisions that will increase our energy security, such as:
· *Establishing a national Renewable Electricity Standard* (RES) that would require large utilities to produce a gradually increasing portion of their electricity through renewable sources over time. New Mexico already has an RES, and electric utilities in our state are moving ahead with plans for large-scale solar power initiatives. But because of our states abundance of natural resources, we are poised to be a major exporter of clean energy to help other states meet the RES. An RES is a great opportunity for job creation in New Mexico.
· *Improving building efficiency standards* to require new buildings and additions to use energy 30 percent more efficiently after 2010 and 50 percent after 2016 in order to reduce energy waste. Making sure that buildings meet strict energy use standards will not only save energy and improve our energy security, it will save businesses and consumers billions of dollars on energy costs associated with heating and cooling.* *
· *Streamlining new electricity transmission line siting. * New Mexico is ideally positioned to provide renewable power to the rest of the nation, but our current national transmission grid is near capacity and cannot efficiently use renewable power. Current rules make siting new transmission to carry this power is very difficult, so we provide a streamlined process to site new lines, while ensuring significant public input and environmental protection.
· *Protecting the cybersecurity of our electric infrastructure* from threats that could disrupt the operation of electronic devices or communications. As we restructure our nations electrical grid, we must identify potential vulnerabilities and prevent them from being exploited. The legislation charges the Secretary of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to improve our protections and provides them with the authority to respond to threats and attacks that might emerge.
· *Better protecting our nations oil and gas reserves* by creating and maintaining a comprehensive petroleum reserve. While the U.S. already has crude petroleum reserves, this bill ensures that we have a sufficient supply of *refined* oil and gas in our reserves to prevent sudden fuel shortfalls and price spikes caused by refinery shutdowns, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. The energy bill we just approved in the Energy Committeecreates a 30-million barrel reserve to this end.
In the coming months, the full Senate will debate the energy bill weve begun developing in the Energy Committee. As we make the shift from a fossil fuels-based economy to a clean energy, low-carbon economy, I will continue pressing for an energy policy that meets our current needs and moves swiftly toward a future that focuses heavily on renewable sources. I believe New Mexico has a lot to gain from such a move….”