Your calls and emails have been heard. The City has pulled Council Bill No. 17-27 which would have had the City revise its Disclosure Bill and buckle to the threat of a lawsuit from the Libertarian Rio Grande Foundation. Nice to win one. This blog also celebrates the immanent closing of San Juan and examines a new PNM initiative to forge a solar partnership with Santa Fe.
National Art Acton Day. Jan 20, 2018. A friend of mine in the Bay Area send this our way. Formed by Laurie Anderson, Laura Michalchyshyn, and Tanya Selvaratnam, The Federation is a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to keeping cultural borders open and to recognizing how essential artistic experiences are to fostering compassion, critical thinking, and joy across diverse communities. There is a tool kit for how a community can organize in alignment with this effort. Certainly, in a town so full of activist-artists there must be one or two of you out there who would like to run with this. Click here to get to the Tool Kit and to find out more about the action.
We Win One: City to Defend Its Disclosure Bill
According to Heather Ferguson, Legislative Director of Common Cause, New Mexico, on the advice of the City Attorney, the Mayor and City Council have reversed course and decided to defend its Disclosure bill against the Rio Grande Foundation lawsuit. It is tremendous that at least in this instance, pressure from Common Cause, Campaign Legal Center and organizations like Retake has resulted in a win for our community. The City will utilize the legal expertise of the CLC and, according to the CLC estimation will have a 90% of success in defending itself against Rio Grande Foundation’s bullying lawsuit. To read Wednesday’s blog on this issue, click here. Yahoo.
New Energy Economy: Heroic Local Agency Celebrates San Juan Closing & Seeks A Different Model for the City’s Solarization of City Facilities
Retake would like to commend the City for setting ambitious carbon-neutrality goals, and for making bold decisions, like resolving to solarize the airport. The City also has made another bold decision: to solarize the City’s government facilities. While we applaud this decision, the City has also advanced a resolution to direct the City staff to work with Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to develop a PNM-owned solar project to offset electricity consumption on these city facilities. Our community is far better for the city’s prior actions to combat climate change and make a transition to renewable energy. And at first blush, you might think: PNM wants to invest in solar? WOW. They must have finally figured it out. But, when a wolf dons sheep’s attire, he is still a wolf and there is so much wrong with this proposal. So much. This weekend’s blog will examine this potential partnership in detail.
For today, you should know that this local initiative is likely one of many that will occur statewide over the next few months and years, as PNM desperately tries to shift its economic model from one reliant upon fossil fuels to one that incorporates the cheaper, cleaner alternative: renewables. And we badly need to make that transition. The question becomes should we trust PNM to be leading that transition and owning our solar installations? Or is this the time to examine another form of transition, one away from corporate ownership of our energy supply, to a future in which our cities and communities can own their renewable sources. Do we want to continue being subject to the clear priorities of PNM: profit over planet; shareholders over rate payers; manipulation of the truth over honest, collaborative inquiry? Or do we want our energy future guided by a community that cares more for people than profit? We will focus on this bill to partner with PNM and New Energy Economy’s opposition to it in this weekend’s blog. It is a perfect illustration of why we do not want to allow PNM to own our renewable future and why we need to oppose their effort to lead Santa Fe’s solarization of its government facilities.
To view why it is so important to make this transition, take a look at the bottom of this blog at the New Energy Economy video produced by Bianca Sopoci-Belknap. The video describes with compelling imagery the need for transition. The video focuses on NEE’s case for forcing PNM to close the San Juan Generating Station. It also presents evidence as to why PNM ought not to be the one leading the transition to renewables: their priorities are simply too profit-driven and too divorced from any semblance of genuine concern for the planet or rate payers.There is no organization in the state who is more responsible for forcing PNM to close San Juan and in 22 days half of PNM’s San Juan Generating Station will be closed – that’s more than 800 megawatts of coal at one of the dirtiest coal plants in the country!!!! It will represent the greatest environmental improvement in NM in 50 years.
It was David Van Winkle, a board member with New Energy Economy, who solved the puzzle of meeting the financial, environmental protection (pollution standards contained within the Regional Haze Rule) and political standards (Governor Martinez’ requirement that no more than two units be closed at San Juan). David suggested that bigger units be closed. New Energy Economy conveyed David’s idea to PNM to close bigger units at San Juan – which is what eventually won the day and will happen on December 31st.
Retake Our Democracy is proud to be a consistent supporter of New Energy Economy’s efforts to achieve a just transition to renewables. They lobby with city and state legislators and regulators; they take their case to the courts; and they educate our community to build a better understanding of the need for a just transition and to build a better base of political support for that transition. Be sure to check in this weekend for our report on the City’s plan to work with PNM to solarize city facilities. Again, we commend the City for having the vision to seek a solar solution; we just will be asking that they seek a more participatory procurement process and a partner with values more consistent with the City’s than PNM.
In closing, today we applaud the City for standing against the Rio Grande Foundation and for standing up for election integrity and we applaud New Energy Economy for raising its voice so often and in so many ways. In 22 days we will no longer have half of San Juan pumping toxins into our air and water. And New Energy Economy is leading the way in encouraging the City to revise its plan for solarizing and making a more complete transition from coal and PNM to renewable energy owned and managed by the City.
And take a look at the video below; it is beautifully shot and tells a most compelling story.
Paul & Roxanne