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Bill Richardson on Energy & Oil

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee

Green Jobs Cabinet: lead renewable energy export

In last year's State of the State, I announced the creation of the Green Jobs Cabinet to create a statewide strategic plan for clean energy, clean technology development and job creation. We have developed ambitious goals:
  1. Be the leader in renewable energy export
  2. Be the center of the North American Solar Industry
  3. Lead the nation in green grid innovation
  4. Be a center of excellence for green building and energy efficiency
  5. Have a highly skilled clean-tech workforce.
Source: New Mexico 2010 State of the State Address , Jan 19, 2010

Start carbon trading in 11-state Western Climate region

We've joined forces with eleven states and provinces to form the Western Climate Initiative and implement a regional cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I'm proposing we take a bold new step and pass the New Mexico Global Warming Solutions Act to start carbon trading in the region. Next, we should extend the hybrid vehicle tax credit, and help keep fuel-efficient cars and trucks affordable.
Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 20, 2009

About time we got Saudis to increase production

Q: What do you think about Saudi Arabia saying they’re about to dramatically increase production of oil?

A: Well, it’s about time. You know, the Bush administration has waited eight years to pressure OPEC and their great friends, the Saudis. When Pres. Bush came in, he said he was going to [persuade] OPEC to increase production. Well, it’s finally happened. It’s going to help a little bit. But what is needed is a comprehensive strategy of fuel efficiency, 50-mpg vehicles, and mass transit.

Q: But Governor, in the short term, if the Saudis do increase their oil production, that will increase supply and will have an impact on the price per barrel, which right now what is about $135 a barrel.

A: Well you know, it will go down a little bit. It won’t be significant and that is welcome. But you know, at the same time, the head of the Russian natural gas agency Gazprom is predicting that oil will go to $250 per barrel within a year. So you’ve got these conflicting views.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 22, 2008

Windfall profit tax to shift obscene profits from Exxon

Q: Senator McCain says that the windfall profits tax on big oil, it didn’t work in the 1970s when Jimmy Carter tried it and it’s not going to work this time.

A: Well, I think that’s a false premise, what was advocated in the Bush administration was giv special preferences to oil, coal and nuclear. [We should] shift those enormous tax breaks for oil companies that are making billions and shift them over to solar, to wind, to green technology. So it’s not taxes, it’s basically shifting the burden and hav a level playing field.

Q: But do you support a windfall profits tax on Exxon Mobil, Chevron, the other big oil companies?

A: Yes, yes to shift them to solar and wind. They got this tax break five years ago in the energy bill that they didn’t deserve. $20 billion for Exxon in one or two months in terms of profits. I mean, that is obscene. That money should go to refineries. That money should go to research into renewable energy. It should go into drilling here in the United States.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 22, 2008

New oil refineries and nuclear plants ok, if done right

Q: Do you oppose expanding refineries?

A: No, but it should be done in an environmentally-sensitive way. So the answer is no.

Q: But where would you do it?

A: Well, with proper environmental permitting, Louisiana, Texas, many other places. But also on nuclear power, we’ve got to deal with the problem of waste from nuclear waste. But it doesn’t omit greenhouse gas emission. They should be an option. So should carbon clean coal technology, carbon sequestration, natural gas. There are many options. But the only options that the Bush administration & John McCain seem to have is drill, drill, drill, fossil fuels.

Q: What about nuclear power? To ease the pressure on importing oil?

A: If they abide by environmental standards and if we have a solution to the problem of waste. In Nevada, they don’t want to take that waste. We can’t do it in regional sites. We need to develop a technologically safe way to store this waste. But we should proceed with nuclear power as an option.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 22, 2008

FactCheck: No, NH gas prices are not highest ever

Richardson was a bit off when he mentioned the high price of gas in N.H., saying “Look at the price now in New Hampshire--$3.20, something like that. It’s the highest ever.” The price of regular gas in New Hampshire is actually averaging $3.06 right now. And the all-time high, $3.14 per gallon, occurred in Sep. 2005. The average price in New England as a whole is currently $3.09, 14 cents less than it was in September 2005.
Source: on 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic debate , Jan 5, 2008

FactCheck: Reducing GHGs by 90% costs households $800/yr

Richardson blithely claimed he would slash greenhouse gases, saying “We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and I would do so by 90% with a cap-and-trade program.”

What Richardson didn’t say is that he isn’t promising to achieve that 90% reduction until 2050, a detail we found on his Web site. Richardson didn’t specify what his plan would do to the prices of electricity, manufactured goods and so on, saying only that he would be “asking the American people to sacrifice a little bit.” But according to one recent estimate, a less ambitious plan now pending in the Senate could cost the average household the equivalent of $800 to $1,300 a year in today’s dollars by 2015. That’s just one guess, of course. But there’s little doubt it would require more than “a little bit” of sacrifice to accomplish a 90% cut.

Source: on 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate , Dec 13, 2007

30% renewable sources in our electricity by 2020

Fuel efficiency standards should be 50 miles per gallon, not 35. We need to have 30% renewable sources in our electricity by 2020. Reduce our consumption of oil by 50%. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I would do so by 90% better with a cap and trade program. It’s going to take the American people to sacrifice a little bit. That means being sensitive to mass transit, to air-conditioning, to the way we live. Without mandates, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil which is unhealthy.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate , Dec 13, 2007

Recommends 90% GHG reduction to IPCC

The “man-on-the-moon” energy and climate planks in Richardson’s presidential platform [is based on] comparing his climate protection initiative to the Apollo program. Richardson says, “When John F. Kennedy challenged this country to reach the moon, he challenged us to get there in 10 years, not 20 or 30 or 40.”

Richardson proudly identified his green policy to be the most aggressive of any candidate--with John Edwards and Chris Dodd close seconds--saying, “we need it much faster and more boldly than people are suggesting.“

The UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in order to hold global warming to two degrees Celsius. The top House and Senate bills both go for 80%. Gore says 90%. Richardson says 90%, too.

Richardson’s plan also reflects the newest iteration of this issue among scientists, pols, and activists: energy policy and climate change policy are now the same thing.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.104-105 , Nov 11, 2007

Served on boards of three large oil companies

His website urges voters to “Join Bill’s Call for a New Energy Revolution”. The trail of money--and facts--tells a different story. As benefits a leading politician from one of the nation’s historic bastions of oil and gas, Richardson has a network of connections with [and contributors from] the petroleum industry.

He sat on the boards of directors of three large oil companies--San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp, Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling, and Denver-based Venoco. Diamond Drilling, the offshore exploration firm with deep Republican ties on whose board Richardson served in 2001 and 2002, is engaged in offshore drilling. Venoco is an oil producer with a first-of-its-kind controversial horizontal drilling project in a state sanctuary off the coast near Santa Barbara.

He sold all of his [oil company] stock only in May 2007, saying it had become a “distraction” in his campaign and “because I was getting questions, I just felt it was best to divest myself.”

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.188-190 , Nov 11, 2007

Need an energy revolution in the US

You need an energy revolution in this country--an Apollo program that does the following: one, reduces consumption of fossil fuels by 50 percent by 2020. Fuel efficiency--I’m going to be specific--50 miles per gallon. A renewable portfolio standard--in other words, all electricity in America--30% renewable sources. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040; by 30% by 2020. A cap-and-trade system. Energy efficiency, too. You got to ask the American people to sacrifice a little bit. What does that mean? That means when we use appliances, mass transit, air conditioning, that we all bound together to reduce this dependence on foreign oil that affects our national security, when 65% of your oil is imported. When the planet is polluted by fossil fuels and manmade pollution, it is American leadership, and it’s presidential leadership, and it has to be an energy revolution, not these little energy bills that the Congress keeps passing that are meaningless.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Supernova of clean energy policy in New Mexico

New Mexico has done more, faster, than any state ever, to address clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate change. We have done it in a supernova of clean energy and efficiency policy. The list [includes]:
  1. Energy efficiency: a new law in 2004 that finally required the utilities to start planning for energy efficiency.
  2. Green building: requiring state agencies to use green building practices that cost a little more but save money and energy in the long run.
  3. Renewable energy: a requirement for utilities to use renewable power, now requiring 20% renewables by 2020.
  4. Transportation: a new commuter rail line that will soon connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We eliminated the sales tax on hybrid cars.
  5. Renewable fuels: increased the biodiesel percentage in diesel fuel.
  6. Incentives: more than matched the federal incentives for installing solar collectors & solar hot water heating.
  7. Overarching climate change action: I adopted strict targets to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.105-107 , Oct 26, 2007

2020 Vision: An energy revolution in 5 simple steps

Following are the broad goals of my energy & climate policy, [which I call] “2020 Vision: An Energy Revolution in 5 Simple Steps”
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.213-230 , Oct 26, 2007

States have addressed global warming; now feds should too

No challenge is greater or more important than gaining energy security and addressing threats to the earth as a whole. But my approach is to be candid about your challenges without saying the sky is falling. We should recognize the mistakes we have made getting to where we are, and I particularly fault the president and the Congress for their failure to act responsibly in recent years, while crediting the states and cities and other nations who have worked hard to reverse direction on energy and climate issues.

The American people do not need or deserve scolding. They are ready to change. They want a better future. And they see possibility and opportunity--not the grim and fearful scenarios painted by people who do not accept the idea that we need to change.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 19-20 , Oct 26, 2007

Hydrogen cars only in 30 years; need plug-ins & hybrids now

Hydrogen vehicles are not quite ready for market yet, owing to all the expensive and as yet imperfect technology, as well as the demand for a whole new transportation infrastructure to produce, refine, transport, store, and sell hydrogen. They are a 30-year solution to a five-year problem. That’s why my own view is that the President and others should quit talking about the hydrogen car and instead emphasize new gas-saving technologies that could be in the market within a few years. The time will come for hydrogen, but plug-in and hybrid vehicles are a first step toward needed short-term progress.

In 1997, for most Americans, the idea of hybrid electric cars or hydrogen cars, seemed about as likely to catch on as jet packs or personal space ships. Yet, ten years later, Americans have accepted hybrid technology with open arms. Tax incentives have helped, but the largest incentive has been the rising price of gasoline.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 29 , Oct 26, 2007

Opposes gas tax: it burdens everyday people

For decades, politicians protected the American people from a gasoline tax proposed by some as a means to fund alternatives that would have created energy price competition and alternatives. I don’t support a heavy-handed gas tax because it would put the burden mostly on the backs of the everyday people who keep the country running. It wouldn’t be fair and it could lead to serious economic problems all the way from households and small businesses and farms to the gross national product and our rate of economic growth. Yet what has happened without the gasoline tax hasn’t been fair either. Instead of paying a gasoline tax or bringing alternatives to market in a more practical way, Americans have had to pay far more to the oil companies, with demonstrably negative progress in reducing our oil dependence.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 48-49 , Oct 26, 2007

Regulated utilities can profit by “selling efficiency”

Why would coal companies oppose electrical efficiency? Coal companies make money when they sell coal. So protecting profit means opposing efficiency.

Utilities that are regulated aren’t concerned about protecting coal as long as they make money. With decoupling, a policy that allows companies to sell efficiency and price electricity so that pricing encourages conservation, the utilities make money by being efficient & selling energy. That is the basic distinction that separates the utilities from the coal companies: while the utility market can be restructured to allow utilities to profit from conservation, coal companies can profit only when they sell coal.

Those governors who are most responsive to coal companies are most threatened by efficiency carbon-clean technology, & renewables. A similar dynamic occurs when we talk about using coal to produce transportation fuel substitutes by a process called “coal to liquid” that would almost double climate-changing carbon emissions from liquid fuels.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 66-67 , Oct 26, 2007

Iran & Russia are exploring natural gas control like OPEC

Iran, along with Qatar, Russia, and other gas-producing nations, is exploring the concept that there should be an international gas cartel like OPEC is a cartel about oil. I warned about this kind of threat to natural gas markets in 2004.

OPEC leaders applied an oil embargo against the US that plunged our economy into a recession, created inflation throughout the economy, created hours-and miles-long gas lines. That was in the winter of 1973-74. A second oil price hike later the same decade had similar effects.

So, discussions about a natural gas cartel should cause concern. The growth of liquefied natural gas technology has the potential to turn a mosaic of regional natural gas markets into a single global market. If the creation of an international gas cartel succeeds, the world could be subject to price and supply disruptions and the leverage of natural gas toward politically divisive projects.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 84-86 , Oct 26, 2007

Energy incentives are just anti-government ideology

The President has stated that he will oppose mandates that would limit emissions. His policy is based entirely on incentives. It is doomed to failure. Incentives are important, but they don’t work unless they have some teeth in the form of requirements. That was the experience of the European Union when it adopted voluntary fuel economy standards affecting Europe’s car industry. The industry fell far short. Same here in the US. Opponents of renewable electricity requirements say incentives will work. But incentives have gotten wind and solar to the point where they command only 1% of the electricity market--not the 30% that is necessary for us to begin working toward a sustainable future in the next ten years.

Industry and investors have little or no reason to buy or produce more efficient technology without the power of mandates. To announce a global warming strategy based on technology and incentives is no more than a dream.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.102-103 , Oct 26, 2007

Climate change cynics don’t consider cost of inaction

Cynics about climate change--people who don’t believe that change is happening or that we’re contributing to it or that we can afford to make changes--have not considered the price of inaction. Likewise, I don’t believe they have considered the affordabl costs of developing & implementing alternatives to oil & coal.

Americans pay the price of inaction every day at gas pumps. As sea levels change, droughts extend, and famine and disease spread, they will pay the price of inaction sometime in the future. Sadly, future generations will pay the price for that cynicism so characteristic of the President’s policies. These cynics ignore the value of a healthy environment, a diverse and competitive energy economy, and converting petrodollars to jobs & energy. They ignore the value of energy efficiency, both in saving money and energy today and in protecting against price spikes.

Worse, they cynically advance policies that are at best half-measures, and at worst diversions from the real change we need.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.121-122 , Oct 26, 2007

50-mpg cars by 2020 even if it costs $6000 per car

I reject the car companies’ & oil companies’ arguments that higher fuel economy raises costs for customers. Standard and Poor’s said that my proposal to increase fuel efficiency to 50 mpg by 2020 would add as much as $6,000 to the cost of an average car. First, I think that number is wildly inflated. But even if it were accurate, getting twice as many miles per gallon equates to a great fuel savings. That savings, with prices around where they are today, would keep about $1,000 in the average driver’s pockets every year. If fuel prices go up, the savings would be even greater.

Even if it did cost $6,000 more for the car, and then $6,000 less for gas, that would mean extra money going to American auto workers instead of the oil-controlling nations and companies. All Americans need to start thinking that way. You can call it sacrifice, or investment, or robbing Osama to pay Paul, but it’s the mindset we have to have. We can invest in ourselves instead of the oil industry and oil despots.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.124-125 , Oct 26, 2007

Carbon auction: use market to make emitter pay for emissions

We need to build a market in which it costs to emit global warming pollution. We need to manage the carbon market.

Now, carbon emissions have no economic consequences except to benefit the individual emitter who gets to sell a produce or service. In that sense society is subsidizing not only climate change, but the emitter’s individual business decision.

The formula needs to be reversed. Carbon emissions must cost the emitter. Once this step is taken, there will be a different type of economic race--no longer a race to the bottom, a race to produce and sell more products regardless of their carbon impacts, but instead a race to the best, most affordable options that reduce carbon emissions.

I propose the concept of a “carbon auction.” The tents are simple: it will cost to emit carbon, and the aggregate amount of carbon pollution rights will diminish year-to-year.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.131-132 , Oct 26, 2007

Bush won’t follow the Kyoto treaty, but my state does

I’m proud of making New Mexico the clean energy state. We’re doing something about global warming in New Mexico. We’re requiring utility companies to produce energy from renewable sources. We’ve invested directly in energy efficiency. We’re promoting renewable energy with tax credits for wind, solar and biofuels. We’ve eliminated taxes on hybrid cars. And I set tough standards to reduce greenhouse emissions. Maybe the country and President Bush don’t follow the Kyoto treaty, but my state does.

In his typical fashion, after years of refusing to admit that global warming exists, the president has started lecturing developing nations and telling them to clean up their act. Now, Mr. President, we don’t need half-hearted measures like the European agreement that just came out of the G-8 summit. The Kyoto treaty has been sitting on your desk for six and a half years. You might as well sign it now because in a year and a half, if you haven’t, I will.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 19, 2007

Buying carbon offsets not enough; sacrifice for common good

Buying carbon offsets isn’t enough. Just like paying somebody else to go to church doesn’t make you religious. Paying somebody else to conserve doesn’t make you a conservationist.

My wife Barbara and I both use a hybrid and flex-fuel vehicle. We’ve made New Mexico’s governor’s mansion a lot more energy efficient, including compact fluorescent lighting, low water use irrigation and ceiling fans to cut down on air conditioning. Let me tell you, on a 95-degree day in New Mexico, that is a sacrifice.

But I know we can do more, and I’ll bet that a lot of you could too. We all, when we have an Apollo program to reduce our dependence on imported oil, we have to sacrifice for the common good. We have to get rid of that dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 19, 2007

Claimed too early that secrets were safe at nuclear labs

Q: As secretary of energy, the Washington Post described your tenure: “On Richardson’s watch, there were allegations that nuclear secrets from Los Alamos National Laboratory had turned up in China. It killed his chance of becoming Al Gore’s running mate in 2000.” Do you agree?

A: It’s probably true. But I believe I had a good record as secretary of energy. We had significant advances in our nuclear proliferation initiatives with Russia and loose nuclear weapons.

Q: You said in 1999, “I can assure the American people that their nuclear secrets are now safe at the labs.“ Many said it just wasn’t true.

A: There were problems, and there have been ongoing problems, too, with nuclear secrets at the national laboratories. But I took action. I increased funding for cybersecurity. I ordered polygraph tests. It was very unpopular.

Q: And you should not have said that?

A: I should not have said that. But I believe with the actions I took that we had secured significantly some of those secrets

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Supports nuclear energy, but not waste storage at Yucca Mt

Q: You say you want to be the energy president. You’re in favor of nuclear power?

A: I believe it should be part of the mix. I think the future for Americans’ energy independence, and there I believe we need an Apollo program. And I believe I’m the greenest governor in this country.

Q: What would you do with the nuclear waste?

A: Technology is the answer. I would not put it in Yucca Mountain, because when I was secretary it was obvious that it had environmental problems. It had water problems, there were issues relating to transporting that waste to Nevada. I don’t believe there’s another solution that has been advanced, and that is to store some of the waste at existing sites or in regional sites. I believe the answer is technology. What I would do is get our national laboratories to come up with a technological solution to dispose of this waste.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Cap-and-trade CO2 emissions, including 50-mpg cars by 2020

Q: You would have fuel standards for automobiles to 50 mpg in 2020. The automobile industry says that would increase the cost of a car or truck in this country by $6,000, and could bankrupt the American automobile industry.

A: That’s wrong. We must do it. Here in Washington, all you hear about is this is not possible, it won’t pass the Congress. We must become energy independent because it affects our national security. We must have fuel standards, and I believe it’s realistic with a 100 mpg flex-fuel vehicle. I’d also require, by that same year, that 30% of America’s electricity be renewable energy. We have got to address global climate change by 2020, a reduction of 20% greenhouse gas emissions. I would launch a major diplomatic initiative to say to China and India and developing countries that America is going to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a cap and trade system that is mandatory. We have to do these things on a mandatory basis.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Sacrifice for Apollo-like program for renewable fuel

Q: On the first day of your administration, name the first thing that you want accomplished by the end of that 1st day.

A: The 1st day I would get us out of Iraq with diplomacy. The 2nd day, I would plan a huge initiative on making America energy independent, with an Apollo-like program to become more reliant on renewable fuels. I’d ask the American people to sacrifice in so doing. 3rd, I would have a major initiative on climate change. 90% reduced emissions by 2050. The 4th day, I would take off

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

Mandatory emissions reductions to make US energy-independent

The next president must fight for the challenge of global climate change. We should do it with mandatory emissions reductions. The next president must make this country energy-independent. We can do this not with little energy bills here and there, but with a man-on-the-moon effort that says, the 65% in imported oil reliance is unacceptable, and we’re going to go down to 10%, and it’s going to be done by public and private investment in renewable technologies; in solar, wind, biomass; in fuel-cells.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

50 mpg efficiency and 30% renewable electricity

Both parties have been failures in dealing with energy policy. I went to OPEC countries and tried to get them to increase production so prices would go down. At the time, there was a home heating oil crisis here in New England. I created reserves of home heating oil. What we need is an energy revolution in this country, not some of the bills that the Congress has passed. We need to go to 50 miles per gallon fuel efficiency. We need to have 30 percent of all our electricity renewable. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2040. We need the American people to sacrifice a little bit. I would ask the American people, when it comes to being more energy-conscious, to be cognizant of appliances, of fuel efficiency, the vehicles we drive, mass transit. I did when I was energy secretary, air conditioners 30 percent more efficient. I started the renewable portfolio. We need a bipartisan approach. But we need to reduce fossil fuels by 50 percent by the year 2020.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate , Jan 6, 2006

Oppose carbon tax, favor a cap-and-trade system

A carbon tax a bad idea. When you have a carbon tax, it’s not a mandate. What you want is a mandate on polluters, on coal companies, on those that pollute, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain target. Under my plan: 30% by the year 2020; 80% by the year 2040. It takes international leadership. The better way to do it is through a cap-and-trade system which is a mandate. Furthermore, a carbon tax, that’s passed on to consumers, that’s passed on to the average person, that’s money you take out of the economy. Cap-and-trade is a mandate, but it’s also going to take presidential leadership. It’s going to take all of us here, every American, you know, to think more efficiently about how we transport ourselves, what vehicles we purchase, appliances in our homes. It’s going to take a transportation policy that doesn’t just build more highways. We have to have commuter rail, light rail, open spaces. We’ve got to have land-use policies where we improve people’s quality of life.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate , Jan 6, 2006

Oversaw Dept. of Energy during nuclear lab security breach

My time at the Energy Department always will be stigmatized by its association with nuclear-security problems at the national laboratories, particularly at Los Alamos. I did make mistakes, but in the main, the raps against me were unfair, because security concerns at the nuclear-weapons labs were growing long before I got there. A big one exploded on my watch, however, and it wasn’t wrong that I took the heat for it.

The People’s Republic of China was especially interested in W-88, a miniature nuclear warhead. In March 1999, the New York Times published a report entitled “Breach at Los Alamos,” describing the theft of nuclear secrets by Wen Ho Lee. Two days later, I fired Lee, and ordered that DOE begin a series of polygraph examinations (lie-detector tests) of lab employees. Scientists at the labs went nuts.

The rest of 1999 was a nightmare of reports and revelations about sloppy security. We were moving fast to address these shortcomings even as the Cox Committee recommended changes

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.248-253 , Nov 3, 2005

Tapped Strategic Oil Reserve to pierce bubble in oil prices

After the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and the subsequent quadrupling of oil prices, policymakers in Washington realized just how vulnerable the US was to a major supply disruption. In Dec. 1975, President Ford created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The conventional understanding is that the SPR could be tapped only in the event of an emergency or a sever supply disruption. In fact, the president can order its use under other circumstances.

An energy secretary can also order test sales of up to 5 million barrels any time he or she wants.

I had originally argued for the release of up to 60 million barrels, but Clinton did not want to go that far. We released 30 million barrels and SPR eventually got 33 million barrels from refiners.

There had been a bubble in the oil market, and our policy had pierced it. But we still get most of our crude oil from abroad, which means that we lack the leverage to do much about prices.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.270-274 , Nov 3, 2005

$6M for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies

I am forming a Solar Power Task Force to identify a commercial-scale solar power project by the end of the year that would be under construction by 2006. The rewards can be substantial, in high-wage jobs and economic development. I am also proposing a $6 million capital projects package dedicated to incorporating energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at state facilities and public schools throughout New Mexico. This will save taxpayers and school districts money by reducing energy costs.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

Develop alternative energy, including wind & solar

    Today, I am proposing a five-point plan, which I call “Renew New Mexico.”
  1. I will set a goal - that NM generate 10% of its energy by 2010 through renewable sources.
  2. I want NM to be recognized as one of the top three states in wind energy production.
  3. I will encourage NM businesses to generate more of their own power to sell back to the utilities by increasing the ability to net-meter;
  4. I want NM to lead the way with its use of renewable energies by solar-powering schools, state government buildings, & the Governor’s residence.
  5. I want to encourage the use of alternative fuels in our vehicles to show the practical applications of alternative energy and set the example for other states to follow by reducing air pollution and encouraging utilization of advanced technologies.
Source:, “Alternative Energy” , Oct 15, 2002

Set goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025.

Richardson endorsed setting goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025

A resolution that it is the goal of the United States that, not later than January 1, 2025, the agricultural, forestry, and working land of the US should provide from renewable resources not less than 25% of the total energy consumed and continue to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed, and fiber. [Governors also signed letters of endorsement at]

Rep. SALAZAR: "Our resolution establishes a national goal of producing 25% of America's energy from renewable sources--like solar, wind and biofuels--by 2025. The "25x'25" vision is widely endorsed, bold, and fully attainable. If implemented, it would dramatically improve our energy security, our economy, and our ability to protect the environment.

"I am pleased that more than 20 of my colleagues in the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, are cosponsoring this resolution. In addition, the "25x'25" vision has been endorsed by 22 current and former governors and several State legislatures across the country. The Big Three automobile manufacturers--Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors--are all behind "25x'25" So are many agricultural organizations, environmental groups, scientists, and businesses, ranging from the Natural Resources Defense Council to John Deere.

"These Americans understand that we cannot continue to import 60% of our oil from foreign countries, many of which are hostile to the US, if we aim to be strong and secure in the world. They know that we will have to build a clean energy economy if we are to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It is time for Congress to take a more active role in our clean energy future. Establishing a national goal--"25x'25" is the first step."

Source: 25x'25 Act (S.CON.RES.3 / H.CON.RES.25) 2007-SC03 on Jan 17, 2007

Other governors on Energy & Oil: Bill Richardson on other issues:
NM Gubernatorial:
Susana Martinez
NM Senatorial:
Tom Udall

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 21, 2011