New Mexico Senate passes Clean Fuel Standard Act

By Erin Voegele | March 15, 2021

The New Mexico Senate on March 11 voted 25 to 14 in favor of a bill that aims to establish a Clean Fuel Standard that would require a 28 percent decrease in the carbon intensity of transportation fuel by 2040.

The bill, known as the Clean Fuel Standard Act, or SB 11, was introduced on Jan. 19. Following its March 11 passage in the New Mexico Senate, the bill was sent to the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which is scheduled to consider the bill during a hearing on March 16.

The bill directs the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board to adopt rules to implement a CFS. The CFS would require the average amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per unit of transportation fuel energy to be reduced by at least 10 percent below 2018 levels by 2030. The requirement would ramp up to a 28 percent reduction in 2040. Further reductions would be implemented based upon advances in technology, as determined by the EIB.

Fuel producers and importers could meet the CFS by producing sufficiently low-carbon fuels or by purchasing credits. Under the program, credits could be generated from any business in any sector of the state’s economy, including the agriculture, chemical, dairy, energy, forestry, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, waste management and wastewater treatment industries.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization has spoken out in support of the Clean Fuel Standard Act. “The passage of a clean fuel standard in New Mexico will have a profound impact on igniting the green economy in the nation’s third-largest oil-producing state,” said Gene Harrington, BIO’s director of state government affairs. “Not only will New Mexico’s clean fuel standard help to reduce emissions, it will provide new revenue streams for farmers to sell their crops and animal waste for fuel and will incentivize sustainable agriculture. And the increasing support for a clean fuel standard from the private sector is further proof that policies supporting sustainable fuels are also good for business. BIO and the New Mexico Clean Fuels Coalition look forward to working with state lawmakers to implement the clean fuel standard and begin decarbonizing the state’s transportation sector.”

BIO announced the formation of the New Mexico Clean Fuel Coalition on March 5. The coalition was formed in conjunction with the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition.

“This proposed legislation aligns with the Coalition’s mission to support market-based clean fuel policies in the United States,” said Graham Noyes, executive director of the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition, in a statement released March 5. “We are excited about this new business coalition forming in New Mexico and look forward to working with the Governor and her leadership team on this legislation and on future clean fuel policies.”

New Mexico Clean Fuel Coalition currently has more than 30 members, including Advanced Biofuels Community Fuels, BIO, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, Darling Ingredients, EcoEngineers, Fulcrum Bioenergy, Gevo, Iogen Corp., LanzaTech, Novozymes, Neste, Oberon Fuels, Poet, Renewable Energy Group, and Velocys.  

Additional information on the Clean Fuel Standard Act is available on the New Mexico Legislature website