Meetings watch: Rural development interim committee

The Economic and Rural Development Interim Committee held their committee meeting at Mesalands Comm-unity College on July 6-7.

The meeting focused on renewable energy which made Mesalands and the new North American Wind Re-search and Training Center, an ideal location.

“The committee wanted to look at energy and this part of the state is known for its energy resources and economic development, and that’s how we decided on this location,” said Sen. Bernadette M. Sanchez, who chairs the Economic and Rural Development Interim Committee. “Holding these meetings in Tucumcari gives us an idea of the needs of this particular community and what they’re doing regarding economic development.”

The meeting consisted of various presenters from around the state, including, an energy panel that gave an update on projects, tax incentives and laws and regulations that are holding or hurting industry. One of the national issues discussed is the need for transmission lines to be able to export that energy

produced in New Mexico, to other parts of the country.

“We have great assets as it relates to alternative forms of energy, as wind, solar, and biomass. Therefore, we have the energy source, we just need a way to market it, and the bottom line are transmission lines,” said Sen. Clinton D. Harden.

Other presentations at the meeting included an update on economic and rural development projects due to funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Tucumcari Small Business and Develo-pment Center and the Greater Tucumcari Econ-omic Development Corp-oration, discussed the economic and rural development successes and possibilities in the area. The committee also received updates pertaining to the new North American Research and Training Center and a tour of the facility.

“On behalf of Mesalands Community College, and the City of Tucumcari, we feel very fortunate to have shared our economic and educational resources, and our efforts in renewable energy with the committee,” said Mildred Lovato, president of Mesalands Community College. “We were able to express the needs of our community to continue economic development in our area and throughout the state.”