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Biden touts clean energy manufacturing investments during New Mexico visit

Mia Casas

President Joe Biden is making his way around the Southwest to tout what he’s been doing to improve climate change, infrastructure and conservation amid one of the hottest summers on record.

Biden’s latest stop was in Belen, New Mexico at the site of a new wind tower factory.

The temperature is well on its way to the mid 90s at the groundbreaking for the Arcosa Wind Tower production facility which has over a billion dollars in customer orders for wind turbine towers.

“We’ll use these turbines to build one of the largest wind farms in the western hemisphere, spanning Lincoln, Torrance, and San Miguel counties in New Mexico,” Biden said.

Though thepace of U.S. production has been slowing in recent years, Biden touted this as a success story of his Inflation Reduction Act, saying that demand for clean energy infrastructure is growing and manufacturing in the US is increasing.

It’s one of the latest expansions of renewable energy in New Mexico, where 250 jobs are up for grabs when production sets to begin in 2024.

“When I think climate, I think jobs,” Biden said.

Biden also pointed to other legislative actions, such as the CHIPS Act, which, he said, boosted computer chip expansion at Intel in Rio Rancho and his push to quicken the permitting process for theSunZia power transmission line slated to run from New Mexico to California.

But, the visit doesn’t come without criticism.

Republican Senate Leader Greg Baca, who represents the area, was quick to highlight New Mexico’s slow growing economy and a slew ofindigenous groups protested Biden’s visit –– telling KUNM he needs to do more to completely phase out fossil fuel use.

Biden now heads to Utah, where he’s expected to talk about the PACT Act, a bill that expands health care coverage to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

Bryce Dix is our local host for NPR's Morning Edition.
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