A picture of Senator Martin Heinrich
Martin H.
Democrat NM

About Sen. Martin
  • Oil Export Ban

    by Senator Martin Heinrich

    Posted on 2015-12-17

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    HEINRICH. I thank Senator Heitkamp for her leadership on this issue.

    I thank the Presiding Officer for his contributions to allow us to reach what has been an incredible example of a bipartisan, balanced energy package, something we haven't seen for quite a while.

    I wish to recognize the many hours that Senator Heitkamp spent in meetings of every complexion under the sun, educating our colleagues who don't have oil- and gas-producing basins, as we do, on the intricacies of what does this mean for price pressures, what does this mean for consumers, are the things that you intuitively might think actually not what you would see in the actual marketplace. There was meeting after meeting with the renewable energy associations, in the solar field, in the wind field, and with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. There were people such as the Presiding Officer or the energy committee chairperson, Senator Murkowski of Alaska.

    I thank the Senator for that work, and it has really been a pleasure to work with her in that effort.

    This is a very big step for New Mexico. Obviously, at any time when oil is trading under $50 a barrel in a State where we have two big basins--the Permian Basin in the Southeast and the San Juan Basin in the Northwest, not to mention production in the Raton Basin that is coming on--it is a very big hit, not only to our job situation and to the families who rely on those jobs, but also to our public schools in the State of New Mexico. This opportunity to relax the oil export ban means something concrete for that industry and for those jobs in New Mexico. It also means something very concrete for the future of jobs in New Mexico as well.

    The incremental work on the renewable side is one of the single biggest pieces of policy on clean energy that I have seen in my adult lifetime.

    We are looking at two markets that have grown rapidly and that have produced, in solar's case, 200,000 jobs in the last few years. That would have taken an enormous hit if we would have allowed those incentives to go away. As a result of this package, we are likely going to see another 140,000 jobs in solar alone.

    The incremental impact on the carbon front--the extension will offset 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That is like 26 coal-fired powerplants.

    These things impact small businesses across my State as well as across the country. But if you look at a small State such as New Mexico with 2 million people, we have close to 100 solar companies employing 1,600 people in these new fields, and it is growing rapidly. We have seen 358 megawatts of solar energy installed. We have 812 megawatts of wind energy currently installed and another 300 in the pipeline right now, with another 300,000 to 500,000 jobs associated with that in 2014 alone.

    This is the single biggest piece of predictability within renewable energy [[Page S8757]] that we have seen in a very long time. We have learned the reality that one-plus-one-plus-one does not equal three. When you add a tax incentive one year, you take it away, and you add it back, the sum of those is not nearly as robust as when you have predictability over a period of time. That is what this does for our energy industries across the board.

    I thank the Senator for all of her work on it. I wish to ask the Senator a question, in particular. This agreement obviously didn't happen overnight. I know we have been meeting for well over a year, and you have been thinking about it even longer than that.

    I ask Senator Heitkamp, would you talk a little bit about why you are so passionate about this issue and what specifically it means for the people of North Dakota.

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