Monday, February 25, 2008

Why this election is so important.

Since the beginning of my campaign I've talked about the importance of having members of the legislature who look beyond the end of their two or four years terms in office and instead look twenty years down the road. We will only succeed as a state - and a nation - when our elected leaders have a clear vision of a sustainable future and a clear plan for how to get there.

Ever since Cameron's birth, I have been struck by how much more important the campaign has become to me. When I look into her eyes, I cannot help but feel an even deeper obligation to serve and to try to make New Mexico a better place. I always knew how important it is to serve and to work for a better future, but now I feel it in a stronger and more profound way than ever before.

So, this campaign has truly become a campaign about our children and about the future we will leave for them. I simply cannot stand by and hope that the future will be one with safe schools, clean water, and good jobs. I owe it to Cameron - and all of New Mexico's children - to work every day to make that vision a reality.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The New Energy Future HERE in New Mexico

A few days ago, the New Mexican ran a story about a new solar energy installation in Arizona that will be one of the the largest in the world. The article can be found HERE.

This is just one more piece of evidence in support of the fact that New Mexico can - and must - be a leader in bringing renewable energy to the United States. With the correct investment incentives in place, the renewable energy industry could make New Mexico a major part of its future.

Consider the benefits that this new solar power plant will bring to Gila Bend, Arizona:
  • $1 billion in direct investment for the construction and operation of the plant
  • 70,000 Homes powered by clean renewable energy
  • A tripling of the renewable energy provided by Arizona Public Service
  • Many new jobs for the operation and maintenance of the plant
Not only will the project bring many benefits, it also uses a new and exciting technology that harnesses the sun's heat to generate the power, not the sun's light. The process looks like this:

At the top of the "central receiver" are liquids that store and retain huge amounts of heat, which is generated by the sunlight reflected from the mirrors below to create heat at 600 times greater than normal solar radiation. An instaled tower looks like this:

New Mexico, like Arizona, is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growing renewable energy industry. We have the sun, the space, and a proven means to attract the industry. We have shown that with the right incentives and assistance, New Mexico can attract new industry to the state. Look at what we've done with film in just the last ten years. Imagine what we could do if we took the same incentives and programs that brought film to New Mexico and used them to attract the green economy. We could become an exporter of renewable energy and a leader in fighting global climate change.

For more information, please take a moment to visit New Mexico's very own "New Energy Economy" for lots of great insight about the potential benefits renewable energy could bring to New Mexico's future: CLICK HERE.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Basic Rights: Give Surface Owners a Chance

Ever since the specter of oil and gas exploration and production arrived in Santa Fe, I have been bothered by one simple fact: this never needed to happen.

At the heart of the matter is the fact that oil and gas exploration and production cannot commence without the consent of a mineral rights owner.  Without the mineral rights owner's signature on a lease of his or her rights to a producer, the status quo is preserved, and our community remains intact.

So, how could the current situation -- the threat of thousands of new wells stretching from Soccorro to Nambe -- have be prevented?  It could have been prevented in large measure by a state law giving surface owners the right to purchase mineral rights from the mineral rights owner before the mineral rights owner leases them to a production company.  

If elected, I will introduce this as the first bill during my service in the New Mexico Legislature

With such a law in place, imagine how the situation in Santa Fe County might have played out.  Hundreds of surface owners would have received notice that the minerals beneath them were up for lease to exploration and production companies.  The surface owners would have been given the opportunity to purchase the minerals beneath them at fair market value, and many would have done so.  With their newly acquired mineral rights, many surface owners would refuse to grant leases to operators, thus making the operators' job vastly more difficult, if not impossible.

This law could apply with equal force to mineral rights owned by both the state and by individuals.  There would be no "takings" problem with the law because the mineral rights owners would receive fair market value for their mineral rights should they choose the sell.  Most importantly however, this law would finally put the surface owner on a level playing field with the mineral rights owner.  This would justify the law's passage all by itself.