Dependence on Big Oil, Dirty Coal Could Cost New Mexico $230 Billion By 2030

Groups Call on Congress to Repower America with Clean Energy for Consumers and Environment

Environment New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM — Between 2010 and 2030, New Mexico will spend as much as $230 billion on oil, coal, and other fossil fuels — 5.8 times the total earnings of all New Mexico workers in 2007.  At the same time, pollution from fossil fuels is the number one source of air and global warming pollution and a leading source of water pollution, said Environment New Mexico in their new report.

High spending on fossil fuels is largely driven by our dependence on oil, according to the analysis.  New Mexico is on track to spend as much as $8.4 billion on oil alone in 2030, 69 percent of the state’s total spending on fossil fuels.

“This Independence Day, we are calling on Congress to break our dependence on Big Oil and Dirty Coal,” said Jake Horowitz of Environment New Mexico. “Instead of allowing the costs of fossil fuels to continue to mount, Congress should repower America with clean, renewable energy that will create jobs and stop global warming.”

Nationally, in 2006, U.S. consumers and businesses spent $921 billion on fossil fuels — more than was spent on education or the military. The country is on track to spend between $23 trillion and $30 trillion on fossil fuels between 2010 and 2030, the high end of which is more than double the nation’s total economic output in 2007.

These figures do not include the untold damages to our environment, health, and society resulting from the production and use of fossil fuels — such as global warming, air and water pollution, mountaintop mining, and oil spills. “Every additional dollar we spend on fossil fuels just buys us more global warming pollution, more smog, and more asthma attacks,” continued Horowitz.

In contrast, moving to clean energy — wind turbines, solar panels, and energy-efficient homes and buildings — would save money, even excluding the additional benefits for the environment, health, and security.  For instance, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that transitioning to clean energy would cut costs in the West South Central region by $980 per household annually and save consumers and business a total of $48 billion annually in 2030.  In addition, clean energy creates jobs here at home, since clean energy projects tend to be labor intensive and cannot be outsourced.

“When the choice is between paying to uphold a dirty polluting status quo and investing in a new direction for America, clean energy is the clear winner,” said Odes Armijo-Caster of Sacred Power Corporation. “Businesses like ours which have been working day and night to make New Mexico more sustainable by installing solar panels, building wind turbines and developing new cleaner, and more efficient ways for the citizens of New Mexico to get their energy, are building the new clean energy economy.” 

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), historic legislation that creates a framework for moving to a clean energy economy and curbing global warming.  

“We applaud Representatives Heinrich, Lujan, and Teague for supporting the bill. Now is the time for bold and meaningful action on clean energy and global warming.  The Senate must strengthen and pass this critical bill.  We urge Senators Udall and Bingaman to move quickly to enact strong solutions for a clean energy economy and stopping global warming,” said Jake Horowitz of Environment New Mexico.  

Environment New Mexico’s report uses government data to quantify current and projected spending on fossil fuels nationally and by state. The High Cost of Fossil Fuels: Why America Can’t Afford to Depend on Dirty Energy, includes the following findings:

* New Mexico will spend as much as $1,894 more per person every year on fossil fuels in 2030, if we stay on our current energy path.

* In 2006, New Mexico spent $3,868 per capita on fossil fuels.  In 2030, that figure is expected to rise to between $4,547  and $5,765 for every man, woman, and child in the state, as much as a 49% percent increase.