New Mexico DFA Announces Executive Budget Recommendation Includes Key Climate Initiatives

EMNRD Cabinet Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst

DFA News:

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) has released the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, which emphasizes Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to bold climate action.

The Executive Budget Recommendation includes an additional $7.9 million for the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s (EMNRD) climate priorities.

Priorities include forest and watershed restoration, modernizing New Mexico’s electric grid, environmental compliance and oversight of the oil and gas industry, implementing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and climate resiliency projects.

The $7.9 million investment is in addition to a proposed stable budget, an increase in funding for the agency from earlier budget iterations that would have cut significant funding. The Executive Budget Recommendation would almost fully staff the Department, allowing EMNRD to continue our work addressing climate change while also continuing the important work of regulating New Mexico’s extractive industries. 

“Our Department has made significant progress over the past two years managing our forests for a changing climate, expanding renewable energy, and holding industry accountable,” EMNRD Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst said. “The Executive Budget Recommendation would greatly enhance our ability to accomplish our ambitious goals to act on climate by hiring additional technical experts, investing in technology for greater efficiencies, and providing key enforcement positions to regulate extractive industries across the state.” 

The majority of the $7.9 million request are non-recurring costs that would invest in core upgrades that benefit the state for years to come. Non-recurring costs include forest and watershed restoration work that protects the state from catastrophic wildfire, grant opportunities to modernize New Mexico’s energy grid, technology upgrades to increase efficiencies and improve data collection, and climate resiliency projects on lands impacted by resource extraction. 

Under previous administrations, EMNRD suffered significant budget cuts that led to understaffing and a lack of support resources. The Executive Budget Recommendation goes a long way to building the Department back up to a sustainable level.

State agency budgets for FY22 will be finalized during the 2021 legislative session.