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2022 Session - Ep. 8, What Color is Hydrogen?

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A natural gas processing plant near Bloomfield, New Mexico
WildEarth Guardians
A natural gas processing plant near Bloomfield, New Mexico

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has been selling a plan for the last several months to make New Mexico into a hydrogen energy hub. Her idea is that we can transform our economy, based primarily on natural resource extraction, into one that is more renewable – but there is some controversy. On this #YNMG we’ll get into some details of how to make energy from hydrogen and why it may not be environmentally friendly. We’ll also talk about some of the hydrogen bills that have been in front of the legislature this year, whether the legislation is in fact dead for now, and where it might go from here. Then, we’ll touch on some of the other energy and environmental bills that have been introduced this session.

Today’s guest is environment and energy reporter Lindsay Fendt from Searchlight New Mexico. Lindsay has been following the energy industry and hydrogen closely. Furthermore, she just published a one-on-one interview with Governor Lujan Grisham discussing hydrogen energy and water policy.

These are topics all New Mexicans should care about. New Mexico typically receives over $2 billion in direct revenue from oil and gas production through severance and property taxes and royalty and rental income. Those funds comprise the great bulk of our state’s budget to keep schools open, hospitals working and our roads paved. However, energy production is a dirty business that creates significant pollution, like greenhouse gasses such as methane that are released into our air and the toxic produced water that is pumped out as a byproduct of extracting fossil fuels. On the other hand, we all consume energy in one way or another. No matter how you look at it, we all have a stake in our environmental and energy future.

Legislation Discussed In This Episode:

HB 4 Hydrogen Hub Development Act
HB 6 Clean Future Act
HB 11 Energy Storage System Tax Credit
HB 127 Storage of Certain Radioactive Waste
HB 228 Public Peace, Health, Safety & Welfare
HM 20 Study State-Level Public Utility Model
SB 44 New Solar Market Development Income Tax Credit Changes
SB 54 Storage of Certain Radioactive Waste
SB 68 Geothermal Heat Pump Tax Credits
SM 10 Study State-Level Public Utility Model

This public service is part of our Your New Mexico Government project, a collaboration between KUNM radio and New Mexico PBS. Support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.

Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.