U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District participated in the first meeting of Senate and House Conferees on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016.
The conference committee is working out differences between House and Senate legislation. Below are his remarks as prepared.
“Thank you Madam Chair. Our work here today on an Energy Bill is one of great importance for our nation, and particularly for an energy state like New Mexico. We need an energy policy that creates jobs, powers our nation, and addresses the threat of climate change. I am hopeful that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to craft a conference report that is good for our economy and good for our country.
“There are a number of priorities that are important to my home state of New Mexico and that I encourage this committee to include in the report. As a growing producer of solar and wind, New Mexico is a leader in a clean energy economy. We are blessed with majestic public lands that are a source of pride and enjoyed by hunters, fisherman, hikers, and more. But they also represent an opportunity to produce clean energy where it makes sense. These public lands can be used to develop new renewable energy sources, new technologies, and create jobs.
“It is also important that we protect these lands that are a part of our culture, heritage, and livelihoods. For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped strengthen New Mexico’s economy and created jobs in our communities by supporting public access to outdoor recreation that attracts visitors from far and wide. Permanently reauthorizing the fund, as the Senate bill calls for, will protect the great outdoors and support a sector that contributes $3.8 billion to my state’s economy.
“We also have an opportunity to strengthen our national security through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at our national labs. I urge my colleagues to support Senate language that removes redundant overhead charges on this critical funding program that NNSA laboratories rely on to grow, sustain, and retool the staff and capabilities they need to meet current and future mission needs.
“Madam Chair, these are just a few of the important priorities for my state of New Mexico and for our county that will grow our economy, create good jobs, strengthen our national security, and secure our energy future.”