PNM’s SB 47 Hearing Pushed to Saturday URGENT Call to Action. We Can Kill This Bill Saturday

In Santa Fe another win, as the City Council dumps PNM’s Solarization plan. But PNM has bigger plans (SB 47 / HB 80) and the Senate Conservation Committee is holding a hearing at 9am Saturday in the Senate Chambers. We need to pack the place and bury members with calls between now and then.

Apologies for a second blog today, but I have just confirmed that the Conservation Committee hearing has been pushed back from tomorrow morning to Saturday at 9am, so I am sending out this note today as if I wait til  tomorrow some of you may have headed to the Roundhouse for a hearing that has been postponed. Welcome to the Roundhouse where things change quickly. This blog also includes information about Susan Herrera’s campaign kick-off on Thursday as she launches her campaign in Dist. 41 against Debbie Rodella and information on the Santa Fe City Council’s rescinding its plan to partner with PNM on a solarization project. See below.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION!  Roundhouse Senate Chambers. 9am Saturday.

In getting ready for the hearing that I thought would be tomorrow morning, I saw that Democrats hold a 6-3 majority on the Senate Conservation Committee and that at least five of the six are very solid progressives. I realized this may be our best chance to kill SB 47/HB HB 80. And now with two days to plan and the hearing being on a Saturday, we have an opportunity to bury Committee members in calls and emails between now and the hearing and then to turn out in force on Saturday.

I am sure that New Energy Economy, 350.NM, Sierra Club and others are going to be planning a major show of force and I will report on that as I get word, but for now use today’s morning blog– An Open Letter to Speaker Egolf and Senator Wirth–as inspiration to take action. Click here to read the Open Letter. At the bottom of this blog you will find speaking points and contact info for Democratic Members of the Senate Conservation Committee. This is a pretty progressive bunch, so your messaging should be respectful and one that assumes that this bill was sent here to die. So our message should be that they should take care of business and we will have their backs. And as I read over the composition of the Committee, I wondered if this hadn’t been Senator Wirth’s plan to kill this bill because there is no other Senate Committee better suited to vote this down than Conservation. If this is the case, kudos to you, Sen. Wirth.  Speaking points and contact information can be found at the bottom of the blog.

Susan Herrera Campaign Kickoff, 6pm Feb. 1, 2018. Rancho de Chimayo Restaurante, 300 Juan Medina Rd, Chimayo, NM. Susan Herrera, retired CEO of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, and former director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C., has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the District 41 House of Representative seat in the New Mexico Legislature. District 41 covers most of Rio Arriba County and parts of Santa Fe and Taos counties. Here is another opportunity to add a progressive voice and vote to the Roundhouse. I hope to see you there.

Santa Fe City Council Reverses Course, Dumps PNM Solarization Proposal. Talks Planned with Local Solar Companies

As reported in the New Mexican, the Santa Fe Mayor and City Council dropped its plan for a solarization partnership with PNM, citing input from the community as a cause for rethinking the plan. After noting that the City would have been better served by first consulting with local solar developers and that this would be the next step, the Mayor went on to say: “I think, in retrospect, we probably could have started where we are at right now,” Gonzales said. “But this idea of working alongside PNM and really trying to find a win-win solution for all of us, we wanted to explore that. It has proven, though, that renewable energy procurement for governments is not as easy as it needs to be.”

I would suggest that the reason that local government procurement of renewables is so difficult is because PNM’s lobbyists have killed every effort to create legislation like Solar Gardens and Community Choice from every becoming law, as either of these policies would make it far easier for local jurisdictions to chart their own energy future.

PNM’s Santa Fe Solarization plan was just another manifestation of PNM seeking to lock in their energy monopoly and impose far higher costs for ratepayers. PNM has never been an advocate for renewable, but now that coal and nuclear are proving more expensive and hence less profitable, they want to ensure that they secure a monopoly on the renewable industry. Now is our time to move from corporate ownership of our energy to public ownership and that should not begin with a partnership with PNM. Kudos to the City Council for recognizing this. Hopefully Roundhouse leadership will reach the same conclusion as the Santa Fe City Council and slam the door on negotiations with PNM.

“While I’m disappointed we had to hit the pause button on this, we’re not giving up on the need to create a set of action items,” the Mayor added. “In the short term, there’s a number of our facilities that could do on-site solar, and we should be moving on that.” I would point out that working with local solar developers to install on-site solar was precisely the recommendation made by Retake two weeks ago. Now let’s do it.

Just as PNM had sought to create a renewable monopoly in Santa Fe, its SB 47 /HB 80 seeks to lock in a PNM monopoly of renewables throughout their service area, locking in higher costs to ratepayers. But that is only one of many terrible elements to this bill. Again, check out today’s Open Letter to Speaker Egolf and Senator Wirth and use the contact information and speaking points below to contact these key legislators today and tomorrow and show up on Saturday.

Speaking Points for Contacting Senate Conservation Committee Members

Below find contact information for Democratic members of the Senate Conservation Committee.  Democrats outnumber GOP 6–3 so getting these Democrats to stand firm is our best chance at stopping SB 47/ HB 80.  The message should be respectful but clear:  You oppose SB 47 because it:

  • Bypasses PRC regulation;
  • Gives PNM a monopoly on future renewable energy
  • Forces rate payers to pay 100% of the $350M PNM claims it will lose in closing San Juan
  • Sets a precedent for PNM being able to force rate payers to pay a possibly far larger amount of money for reclamation (clean-up) at Palo Verde Generating Station, Four Corners and San Juan.

And very importantly, your message should be that the Senate Conservation Committee has an opportunity to kill this bill.  We want this bill called to a vote on Saturday and we want a 6-3 NO vote to kill it, so we are asking for Chair Cervantes to bring it to a vote and for all Democrats to stand firm and vote it down. If that happens the House may not even assign the companion bill HB 80 to a committee and the battle will be over.  Let’s Do This!  Won’t it be fun to play offense in 2019 and not be killing bad bills, but passing good ones?  

Title Name Telephone Number Email Party Role
Senator Joseph Cervantes (505)986-4861 D Chair
Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics (505) 986-4377 D Vice Chair
Senator Richard C. Martinez (505) 986-4487 D Member
Senator Cisco McSorley (505) 986-4389 D Member
Senator William P. Soules (505) 986-4834 D Member
Senator Peter Wirth (505) 986-4727 D Member

 In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Climate Change, Agriculture, Land Use and Wildlife, Local-State Government & Legislation

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1 reply

  1. I would add that I saw Senator Martinez flip on a good water bill (SB72) heard in SCONC just this week, so Cervantes cast the tie breaking vote or it would have died in committee. If Senator Martinez is your representative, he needs to hear from you regarding SB47.

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