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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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On Thursday Tesla announced the opening of a sales, service and delivery center on the Nambe Pueblo, a first-of-its-kind partnership between the electric car manufacturer and a sovereign pueblo. Tesla’s new facility is located in a refitted and formerly defunct casino.

Political leaders across New Mexico have praised the partnership. In an official statement, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham praised Tesla’s decision to invest in New Mexico and its partnership with a sovereign pueblo. “Automakers the world over acknowledge that low-emission and zero-emission vehicles are the future—New Mexico is on board, and has been on board, and the rest of the country is going to get on board, too,” Governor Lujan Grisham said. “I welcome any and all good ideas from Tesla and the Pueblo of Nambé about how we can do even more,” the governor said in an official statement.

New Mexico is set to adopt stricter emission standards by 2022 as part of the Biden Administration’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Part of the push to decrease greenhouse gas emissions is to have auto dealers sell a certain percentage of low-emission and zero-emission passenger vehicles. The Grisham administration and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller have already committed resources to meet the growing demand for electric vehicle infrastructure. From funds awarded from the Volkswagen Settlement, the state has been able to install and expand on electric vehicle infrastructure. The governor has also announced that electric vehicles have been incorporated into the state’s auto fleet and the installment of 30 publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations across Santa Fe.

Outspoken conservationist Senator Martin Heinrich was in attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and applauded the new partnership. “I hope that this is just the start of partnerships like this to bring economic opportunities to tribal communities. I can’t wait to see how Tesla and the pueblo will build on this partnership in the months and years ahead to train workers and employees for good-paying, long-term careers right here in Nambé,” Senator Heinrich said.

In an official statement, Senator Heinrich noted that Tesla’s investment in New Mexico is a positive step forward in reducing New Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions but emphasized that more action is needed. “We need to double down on this progress and expand uncapped consumer incentives for electric vehicles, make it easier to manufacture electric vehicles in the United States, and fund the rapid electrification of the federal fleet of vehicles. We can make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to all Americans. We can also guarantee that American workers—rather than just our foreign competitors—benefit from this rapidly growing industry,” Senator Heinrich said.

“The climate crisis won’t go away on its own. Our window of opportunity to contain its worst impacts is quickly closing. Electrifying our transportation sector will decarbonize our single greatest source of carbon pollution. We need to make the cars and trucks on our roads central to our climate strategy and economic recovery,” Senator Heinrich added.

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