The Latest: New Mexico may add renewable-energy office

January 14, 2019
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FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 file photo, Stephanie Garcia Richard campaigns for state land commissioner, an office she eventually won, at a Democratic political rally in Santa Fe, N.M. Garcia Richard says she won't allow coyote killing contests on millions of acres of trust land managed by her agency. Garcia Richard, who took office at the beginning of the year, signed an executive order Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, to ban such contests on state trust land. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on spending proposals for New Mexico state government and schools (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

New Mexico’s commissioner of public lands wants to create a new office to encourage the development of renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar on state trust lands.

State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard announce Monday a request to the Legislature to authorize funding for a state Office of Renewable Energy. She also is seeking authorization to expand oversight of oil and gas development in the southeast corner or the state by hiring four new district managers.

The State Land Office oversees 14,000 square miles (36,000 square kilometers) of land and additional underground resources that are used to help fund schools, universities, hospitals and other public institutions. The agency is funded by income from state trust land.

Garcia Richard campaigned on pledges to expand opportunities for renewable energy development. New Mexico is experiencing record-setting oil production in the Permian Basin that straddles the Texas-New Mexico state line.


9:50 a.m.

New Mexico state government would increase spending on public education by 15 percent under a budget proposal from the Legislature’s lead budget-writing committee.

The Legislative Finance Committee on Monday released a plan to increase annual state general fund spending in all by 11 percent, or $673 million, to $7 billion for the fiscal year that begins in July.

Lawmakers are taking a guarded approach to spending from an anticipated $1.1 billion budget surplus that is linked closely to a boom-and-bust oil industry.

The budget proposal calls for an annual spending increase of $417 million on public education that includes major investments in preschool. Spending on at-risk students would rise by $113 million.

Another $90 million would go toward extending the school year by five weeks at many elementary schools.