During a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources markup hearing yesterday, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich advocated for legislation to promote renewable energy development on public lands, community solar, and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The hearing was held to consider amendments for the committee’s bipartisan energy package, which will continue to have ongoing debate throughout this week.
Senator Heinrich successfully included in the package provisions of legislation he introduced, S. 1422, the Energy Workforce for the 21st Century Act of 2015, to address future energy workforce needs and increase the participation of women and minorities throughout the energy sector. Additionally, these provisions seek to further engage displaced workers, minority serving institutions, and our national laboratories in workforce development.
In the committee hearing, Senator Heinrich pushed for S. 1407, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, a bill to simplify the permitting process for solar, geothermal, and wind projects on public land. Senator Heinrich is an original cosponsor of this legislation as it promotes wind and solar energy development and boosts New Mexico’s clean energy economy.
Senator Heinrich also highlighted the need to support legislation that focuses on community solar. He is the sponsor of S. 1723, the Promoting Renewable Energy with Shared Solar (PRESS) Act, a bill to boost access to renewable energy through community solar projects. In the hearing, Senator Heinrich discussed how shared solar can reduce costs for households and businesses and allow access to solar power where conventional roof-top solar isn’t an option.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich also pushed for permanent reauthorization of LWCF for federal and state-administered projects. Senator Heinrich has consistently fought to protect LWCF. He is an original cosponsor of, S. 890, a bill to permanently authorize and fully fund the LWCF. The program has helped protect many of New Mexico’s cherished landscapes and wildlife refuges, including the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Petroglyph National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Santa Fe National Forest, and Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge.