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President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and New Mexico

PHOTO: Solar panels at Santa Fe Community College Trades and Advanced Technology Center.Courtesy: Santa Fe Community College.
PHOTO: Solar panels at Santa Fe Community College Trades and Advanced Technology Center.
Courtesy: Santa Fe Community College.
July 1, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - President Obama's announcement last week that his administration will fight the climate crisis and address climate change with steps to establish carbon pollution standards has met with kudos from members of the environmental community. Camilla Feibelman, director of the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, said the President's Climate Action Plan will result in positive changes for the nation as well as the Land of Enchantment.

"We're going to have a higher level of efficiency within the government," she said. "We'll see a stimulation of the green-energy economy. We'll see coal-fired power plants that are having to finally come within compliance."

Feibelman said the nation is looking at a future of significant carbon savings, cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthier economy. With the announcement of this plan, she predicted, New Mexicans will begin to see climate protection as a family value.

Obama's plan also directs the Department of the Interior to permit enough renewable projects, such as wind and solar, on public lands to power more than 6 million homes by 2020. This attention to renewables can significantly affect New Mexico's alternative-energy economy, Feibelman added.

"In new industries like renewables, or in more fuel-efficient cars, there's a real opportunity for competition. In New Mexico, we have a real opportunity, not just to start providing more of our energy with renewables, but also to stimulate jobs and the economy," she added.

Obama's plan conflicts with actions taken two years ago by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who rolled back statewide building regulations designed to conserve energy, saying they would be too costly for developers and property owners. The green-energy building code was appealed and re-instated in April.

The Climate Action Plan is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov.

Renee Blake, Public News Service - NM