#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 02-24-15

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Today, President Obama took the not-at-all-surprising step of vetoing the Keystone XL pipeline (he promised weeks ago that he’d veto it),  thus sending a message to the nation that energy and climate concerns are serious and policies around those concerns can’t simply be dictated by big oil interests.

From NPR:

The White House has notified the Senate that President Obama has, as promised, vetoed congressional legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.

“Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” Obama said in the notification to the Senate.

The U.S. State Department has been reviewing the pipeline for more than six years, working to determine if it is in the national interest. Congressional Republicans want to circumvent that process and grant a permit immediately.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will vote no later than March 3 to override Obama’s veto.

Luckily President Obama isn’t the only one taking energy concerns seriously. State Senator Richard Martinez has a bill currently moving through the Senate that seeks to give low-income home owners help with energy conservation.

Sen. Martinez’s bill would appropriate

$1.0 million from the general fund to the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) for expenditure in FY16 and FY17 for [Mortgage Finance Authority] to provide for a residential energy conservation program to increase the energy efficiency and reduce energy expenditure of homes occupied by low-income persons in New Mexico.

Giving low-income households better access to energy efficiency is a great way to help both the environment and homeowners.

Sen. Richard Martinez

Sen. Richard Martinez

According to information in the bill’s Fiscal Impact Report from the Mortgage Finance Authority, “many low-income families live in homes with inadequate heat, leaky or missing windows and unsafe living conditions. As a result, low-income households may spend up to 17 percent of their monthly budgets on utility costs compared with four percent for homeowners with higher incomes.”

The Fiscal Impact Report also notes that the “appropriation will provide funding for New Mexico Energy$mart to complete whole-house weatherization for approximately 200 homes throughout New Mexico.”