A look at Bill Richardson’s environmental platform and record
Update: Bill Richardson dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 10, 2008.
Bill Richardson has been an advocate for clean energy and action against climate change during his tenure as governor of New Mexico from 2003 to the present, and now, as a Democratic presidential candidate, he’s pushing perhaps the biggest and most far-reaching energy and climate plan of the campaign. Previously, Richardson served in the Clinton administration as secretary of energy and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and, from 1983 to 1997, as representative of New Mexico’s 3rd District in the U.S. House.
Read an interview with Bill Richardson by Grist and Outside.
- Calls for cutting U.S. oil demand 50 percent by 2020.
- Calls for 30 percent of the U.S. electricity supply to come from renewable sources by 2020, and 50 percent by 2040.
- Calls for a cap to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 90 percent from 2006 levels by 2050, and 20 percent by 2020.
- Calls for raising fuel-economy standards for automobiles to 50 miles per gallon by 2020.
- Writing a book about his energy vision — Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution — due out in October 2007.
Video and Audio
Watch Richardson’s campaign ad on clean energy:
Watch Richardson ask: Do you have the next big energy idea?
- “Climate change is the major environmental issue of our time. Nothing poses a bigger threat to our water, our livelihood, and our quality of life than a warming climate.”
– Dec. 26, 2006, in a climate change executive order [PDF]
- “I believe that coal — carbon-clean coal — will play a role in our energy future, and that we must support the deployment of carbon-clean coal technologies here and around the world.”
– May 17, 2007, in a speech on his presidential energy plan at the New America Foundation
- “I want [New Mexico] to be the Saudi Arabia of wind, solar, and biomass.”
– April 1, 2006, at a Democratic fundraiser
Platform & Record In-Depth
- Opposes new road building in “pristine national forests.” Believes that some thinning and logging in roaded areas near communities is appropriate, so long as undergrowth that feeds wildfires is also cleared during the process.
- Opposes Bush administration policies that let old, coal-fired power plants make significant upgrades without installing new pollution-control equipment.
- Opposes oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Believes nuclear power should be part of the mix of energy sources in the U.S.
- Advocates a national recycling system that would boost recycling rates around the country, with federal funding contingent on participation.
- Would create a new cabinet position, secretary of water, to oversee national water issues.
- Calls for a life-cycle low-carbon fuel standard that would reduce the carbon impact of liquid fuels 30 percent by 2020.
- Would require a 20 percent improvement in energy productivity by 2020.
- As governor of New Mexico, signed groundbreaking executive orders in 2005 [PDF] and 2006 [PDF] that have the state addressing climate change in a number of ways.
- Signed a bill in March 2007 that will require New Mexico’s large electric utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020. Signed four additional clean-energy-related bills in April 2007.
- Led New Mexico to become the first state in the country to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, a voluntary carbon-trading marketplace, in 2005.
- Teamed up with governors from Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington in 2007 to create a Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, which will set regional goals for cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions.
- Fought against the Bush administration’s plans to open nearly 2 million acres of desert grassland in New Mexico, known as the Otero Mesa, to oil and gas drilling.
Still Haven’t Gotten Enough?
- Read Richardson’s energy and climate plan on his campaign website.
- Read Richardson’s environmental platform on his campaign website.
- Read Richardson’s official bio.
What did we miss? Tell us below in comments. We’ll update this page as the presidential campaign continues.
Todd Hymas Samkara and Kate Sheppard contributed to this fact sheet.