New Mexico Legislature Passes Clean Fuel Standard; Governor Expected to Sign

The New Mexico Legislature passed a clean fuel standard this week that resembles the California Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS).  Now the bill goes to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is expected to sign it.  When approved, New Mexico will become the 4th state (joining California, Washington and Oregon) to adopt a clean fuel standard program to decarbonize transportation fuels.

The California LCFS program is administered by the state Air Resources Board and is designed to encourage the production and use of cleaner low-carbon transportation fuels in California. Not only does this reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but decreases petroleum dependence in the transportation sector. 

“The transportation sector accounts for 28 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions. The success of California’s LCFS program in decarbonizing this sector has long been recognized and it is exciting to see that model expanding into other jurisdictions,” said Nicole Rice, President of the California Renewable Transportation Alliance.

New Mexico’s HB 41 amends their Environmental Improvement Act to require the development of regulations governing the carbon intensity of the state’s transportation fuels. The bill further spells out that the adopted regulation must be:

  • Technology neutral;
  • Reduce the carbon intensity of the transportation fuels used in the state: 20% from 2018 levels by 2030 and 30% by 2040;
  • Allow for trading of credits among regulated entities, producers and others;
  • Not discriminate against fuels based on state or jurisdiction of origin;
  • Require utilities to invest net credit revenue from the program into transportation infrastructure and projects;
  • Consider equivalent rules in other jurisdictions and coordinating as appropriate;
  • Consider adoption of additional mechanisms; and
  • Establish appropriate permits and fees.

According to NGVAmerica, the national organization promoting the use of renewable natural gas in transportation, legislatures in Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York are also actively considering the adoption of clean fuel standards, while states like Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania are studying the issue.

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