The first item on Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “Jumpstart New Mexico: 10 Ways to Create Jobs Now and for the Future” is to make the Land of Enchantment “the clean energy state.” The Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee wants to boost New Mexico’s mandate for politically correct power to 50 percent by 2030, and “expand it to include small-scale customer-owned solar and wind systems.” She want to accelerate “development of a green energy workforce” and increase “access to new markets hungry for clean energy.”
Appealing to the deep pockets of the eco-left and the Election Day ballots of energy-ignorant voters, Lujan Grisham claims that a “clean energy economy will create thousands of jobs” and lure “manufacturing and energy intensive industries.” She gushes that her administration “can make New Mexico a national leader in clean energy and do it fast.”
The myth of “green jobs” has been thoroughly debunked for nearly a decade — the facts and data need hardly be re-explored at length here. But what’s most striking about Lujan Grisham’s fantasyland is her disinterest in the thousands of energy jobs being created right now in New Mexico.
As the chart below indicates, in the past year, employment in Eddy and Lea Counties has soared. While average job growth for the state’s four MSAs and 26 counties, as computed by the Department of Workforce Solutions, was 2.6 percent, Eddy and Lea Counties each expanded by a stunning 8.7 percent. (Unfortunately, five counties actually lost jobs during the period.) Opportunities in the state’s southeastern oil patch are proliferating at a rapid rate, and even entry-level well-pump checkers are earning $28.00 per hour. (That’s an annual salary of nearly $60,000, well above the mean and median income for a full-time worker in New Mexico.)
It’s disappointing — pathetic, really — to see one of the major candidates for governor ignore the boom in the Permian Basin, a phenomenon that is inducing job creation, wage increases, infrastructure investment, and “access to new markets.” Lujan Grisham, it appears, would rather blather on about an illusory energy future than recognize an energy present that is yielding nothing but good news.