WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, announced that an extension of wind and solar energy tax credits and the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund are included in the deal reached by Democratic and Republican negotiators to lift the ban on exporting oil. The policies are included in an end of the year spending bill that Congress will soon vote on.
Senator Heinrich has played a key role in ensuring that any agreement to lift the ban on exporting oil be paired with policies that boost America's clean energy economy and help meet climate goals.
"This balanced and bipartisan agreement to lift the ban on oil exports while making truly robust investments in clean energy production will create and preserve jobs in New Mexico at a time when we truly need them,” said Sen. Heinrich. “I’m pleased that a change in policy of this magnitude, to lift the 40-year old ban on oil exports, is paired with strong, multi-year clean energy incentives that will move us toward our climate goals, including wind and solar tax credits, and investments in the Land and Water Conservation Fund—a landmark conservation program that has benefited New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy for 50 years. The bottom line is that this energy package is a win for New Mexico jobs by any standard."
The bipartisan deal that lifts the ban on oil exports includes a five-year retroactive extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) through 2019, which supports wind energy, and a five-year extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The deal also includes a three-year extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is one of the most successful government programs in preserving our nation's natural and cultural resources and improving access to the outdoors in urban and rural communities. Additionally, the 2016 spending bill includes $450 million for LWCF, an increase of 47 percent over last year's funding, and $452 million for payments to counties through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
Senator Heinrich has been a leading advocate of tax credits to support the development of wind and solar energy. He is an original cosponsor of S.1755, a bill to extend the Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credit (25D) by five years. Provisions of this bill was included in the deal and would extend a the tax credit that helps families pay for residential clean energy equipment, such as solar photovoltaics, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and small wind turbines.
Senator Heinrich has also consistently fought to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The program has helped protect many of New Mexico's treasured landscapes and wildlife refuges, including the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Petroglyph National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument Santa Fe National Forest, and Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge. The Outdoor Industry Association found that the outdoor recreation economy supports 68,000 New Mexico jobs and pumps $6.1 billion into the state's economy. He has also consistently fought for PILT funding.