New Mexico outlines budget proposal for Environment Department

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Environment Secretary James Kenny.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham outlines budget proposal for New Mexico Environment Department

FY23 budget creates Climate Change Bureau, ensures cannabis safety

SANTA FE — Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham released her budget proposal for FY23 today, prioritizing the New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) efforts to combat climate change by establishing a first-of-its-kind Climate Change Bureau, addressing ozone pollution from neighboring states, and protecting the public against dangerous chemicals including PFAS. If passed by the New Mexico Legislature, this budget amounts to a 48.7% increase in state funding for NMED.

“My administration believes that clean air, clean water, and clean lands are the right of every New Mexican, and I am committed to providing the resources to state agencies to make sure that is the case,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This administration also believes that we don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy. We are going to keep doing it all – leading the nation in cleaning up industry, taking meaningful climate change action and protecting public health – all while strengthening and diversifying our economy and bringing more jobs to our state.”

“This budget proposal is a huge step forward in our efforts to transition to a carbon net neutral economy, support the safe launch of the recreational cannabis program, protect our limited water supplies against severe drought and ensure that the Land of Enchantment is a safe place to live, work, and thrive,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “I look forward to working with our legislators to secure their vote in support of this budget increase. Without the support of State legislators, the Environment Department cannot deliver for their constituents.”

NMED’s budget is a combination of state general fund, federal funding, and revenues collected for  various  permits  and  licenses.  Starting  July  1,  2022,  the  proposed  general  fund  portion  of NMED’s budget will increase from $16.0 million to $23.8 million – an increase of $7.8 million. The  remainder  of  NMED’s  budget  is  $87  million  (federal  funding  and  revenues  collected  for permits/licenses).

Highlights from the proposed FY23 budget include:

  • $2.5 million for the creation of a first-of-its-kind Climate Change Bureau with 15 staff, which will implement transformative market based mechanisms for our economy and climate, including the Clean Fuel Standard Act, the Hydrogen Hub Act, the Climate Commitment Act and develop additional policies to get New Mexico to net zero emissions by 2050
  • $2.4 million to assure drinking water safety from contaminants like PFAS, restore watersheds and wetlands essential to our outdoor economy and mitigating drought issues
  • $2.3 million for 19 new positions within the Hemp and Cannabis Bureau to help ensure safe food products are enjoyed across New Mexico this year

In stark contrast to the Governor’s recommended budget proposal for an agency that protects public health and the environment, the Legislative Finance Committee proposed a 6.4% increase.

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The Environment Department’s mission is to protect and restore the environment and to foster a healthy and prosperous New Mexico for present and future generations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NMED’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau kept nearly 9,000 businesses open, 300,000 employees protected and countless New Mexico families safe by conducting more than 30,000 COVID-19 rapid responses.

The agency oversees more than 1,000 public drinking water systems serving nearly all 2 million New Mexicans, in addition to programs that protect our land, air and water.

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