New Mexico Governor Martinez unveils energy plan as oil and gas, nuclear experts gather for summit

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Oil and natural gas won't be the only game in town under a new state energy policy unveiled Monday by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

"New Mexico is one of the most energy-rich and energy-diverse states in the nation, and we have an excellent opportunity to utilize this position to grow our economy and create more jobs," Martinez said in a statement before detailing elements of the plan during an annual energy summit in southeastern New Mexico.

The plan calls for an all-of-the-above approach, not unlike the prescription being pushed at the federal level. It highlights the need for more infrastructure such as rail and transmission lines, storage options that could spur growth among solar and wind production and job training.

More than a year in the making, the plan stems from several listening sessions around the state. Some 450 people representing industry, state and local governments and other interests participated.

The plan includes dozens of recommendations and for the first time links energy production to the availability of water in arid New Mexico.

David Martin, secretary of the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, acknowledged the continued importance of oil and gas development to the state's bottom line but said things are much different now than when New Mexico's last energy policy was adopted in 1991.

Martin cited the frustrations that come along with the cyclical nature of oil and gas and global pressures that are out of the nation's control. Earlier this year, state lawmakers saw the amount of new money available for spending on schools and other government programs slashed by tens of millions of dollars due to drops in the price of oil.

Martin said the hope is that the new policy will help protect against volatility in one market or another.

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