A Look Back at Quite a Week, an Update on the Report Card and Opportunity for Unity within Environmental Community

The week was wild with the release of our 2019 Legislative Report Card and a contentious PRC hearing on PNM’s effort to obtain PRC approval for its imprudent purchase of 10% equity in Palo Verde Nuclear facility (with an update today). Plus, we reported on a practical way you can oppose Trump and a 1958 George Orwell video where he predicts much of our current predicament.

Another View on Divisions within the Environmental Advocacy Community

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Before we dive into our review of a most momentous week in review, a brief comment about our recent commentary about the schism amongst New Mexico environmental groups. The schism is focused upon a few absolutely critical issues where these groups often divide, but it is very worth reflecting upon how often we agree. On Sunday, I spent some time reviewing the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club website. Under their legislation menu they listed about 10 bills they had supported and that had passed.  Aside from SB 489 and the produced water bill, we agreed 100% on all of them. Under their list of bills that didn’t pass but that they supported, every one was a bill Retake Our Democracy had on our Must Pass/ Priority List or was a bill we would certainly have supported.

The Sierra Club, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, 350NM, and Environment New Mexico are not our enemies. They are allies who, from our perspective, too often take a moderate position to get something done, anything. This could be an artifact perspective borne from years of existing in a GOP dominated Roundhouse where any incremental bit of progress was about all that could be expected. I don’t know that this is their view, but it looks like it.

What Retake wants to introduce into the conversation is how those groups and allies like WildEarth Guardians, New Energy Economy, EarthCare, Retake Our Democracy and a host of indigenous groups can raise the ante and together form a different agenda. That agenda can’t be informed by what NMOGA and PNM feel is reasonable. It needs to be informed by what we recognize as being necessary.  And once we formulate what is necessary, we need to present it, not as something we need to work through with PNM, NMOGA and legislators like Sen. Clemente Sanchez, John Arthur Smith and a handful of other DINOS beholden to industry.

I wrote to leadership from Sierra Club over the weekend. It is too early to expect a response, but their Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy just aligned with PNM to support inclusion of nuclear energy as part of New Mexico’s energy portfolio and for all the reasons outlined in the posts from last week: that is not acceptable. So the refrain is restated: come to the table. Help us forge a visionary plan for a just transition and then let’s create a unified coalition to advocate without compromise.  We need to seek what we need, not what the powers that be can accept.

Report Card Update.  The furious rush to review the Report Card has tapered off and so it is now up to you to help us spread the word. We have compiled a really simple, user-friendly tool-kit to make it very easy for you to write a letter to the editor describing your reaction to the Report Card and encouraging others to review it. On Sunday Robert Baroody had has letter to the editor published on the front of the opinion section. Thank you, Robert.  But we need this to be an ongoing effort and at least with the New Mexican, we have been told that they don’t get enough LTEs. It is only 150 words and all you have to do is write about your reaction in your own words, what was one important thing you learned, what was most helpful in the Report Card.  Click here to review the sample letters and to see the letter to the editor requirements for each of the ten largest newspapers in the state.

Methane Capture Hearings.  The value of supporting each other can be underscored here.  The NM Department of the Environment and the NM Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources are staging three hearings on the proposed methane rule.  Hearings will occur in Farmington, Albuquerque and Carlsbad between July 29-Aug. 5.  The Sierra Club is staging a series of briefings just prior to these hearings, along with a free lunch. We’d encourage all of you interested in weighing in on methane capture to attend one of these hearings.   Click here to review information about the Methane Capture Hearings and the free lunches and methane capture orientations sponsored by Sierra Club, as well as other Retake and Ally events. The information about the methane hearings you’ll need to scroll to the bottom of the page to where we list ally events.

Yes, we would be better off keeping it in the ground, but until that day arrives, capturing methane is critical. We will present more information on the impact of methane release and the importance of methane capture before the hearings begin.

Retake Our Democracy’s 2019 Legislative Report Card Published

Monday, July 15.  The week got off to a roaring start with the publication of Retake Our Democracy’s 2019 Legislative Report Card. We’ve had nearly 2000 people read it and the media campaign is just kicking off. I am guessing all of you know what it is and what it says, but if not it will help anyone better understand how the NM state legislature works, who pulls the levers of power and what we can do to democratize the process. To be fair, Roundhouse 2019 was very good for all things not related to climate and energy.  But with the Report Card as a tool, we can fix that. Click here to review the Report Card

How Badly Do You Want to Own an Aging Nuclear Plant?  Well PNM Is Asking the PRC to Help You Do Just That. Hearing Wednesday. Call to Action.  

Tuesday, July 16. This post went largely unread in the hubbub created by the release of the Report Card. It provides the context and issues at stake at the PRC hearing that was held on Wednesday, July 17.  But base upon the enormous response to our report on this hearing, this is not going away and reviewing this post could provide some context.  Click here to review the post..

Kim Trent Offers Tremendous Response to Trump & Provides A Clear Plan for Each of Us to Oppose Him

Thursday, July 18. This story was lost in all the frenzied reaction to the Report Card and the ensuring coverage of the PRC hearing and the schism between grassroots and grasstops environmental organizations. The post focused on, Kim Trent, a Michigan activist who finally realized just how polluted her thinking had become trying to process and respond to Trump. And this thinking led to an epiphany where she committed all of her spare time to one kind of action. There is a lesson in this post for all of us her walk around shaking our heads in disbelief and fear.  Click here to review the full post.

Sierra Club, 350NM, Environment NM Join PNM Seeking to Purchase Equity in Palo Verde Nuclear Facility

Saturday, July 20.  This post set off a firestorm of reader comments and a goodly number of offline discussion. As reflected above, either a bunch of grasstops environmental organizations weren’t paying attention to what their coalition leadership was testifying to at the PRC, or they support what amounted to a pile of embarrassing nonsense. You decide. Read the post, but the real value to this link is in reading the numerous reader comments. We simply can’t have our trusted environmental organizations taking divisive shots at each other. And for once we have to insist that PNM and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association do not need environmental organizations to do their bidding. This is a story that is not going to go away until the Sierra Club, 350NM, Environment NM and other grasstop groups figure out that it needs to stick to the core principles shared by so many of its members: 100% renewable, ASAP and PNM, El Paso Electric and NMOGA be damned. Even if you read the blog, click here to read the full post and the incredible stream of reader comments that followed.

After a Crazy Week, Sunday at the Movies Presents:  A Video of a 1958 Video Interview with Aldous Huxley— How Did He Know?

Sunday, July 21.  As is our wont on Sunday, we presented a video for your viewing pleasure. This week we featured a 1958 television interview with Aldous Huxley. It is uncanny how 60 years ago he was able to see so clearly from where the threats to democracy would arise in the future: cult of personality, propaganda (fake news), manipulation of the media.  A most compelling interview.  Click here to review

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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2 replies

  1. Thanks for the very useful LTE requirements summary for the 10 largest papers in the state. #handy

  2. In terms of wanting to “raise the ante and together form a new agenda” irrespective of what the fossil fuels powers want, hear, hear!
    I recently thought that it may be too easy for fence sitters in the Round House to vote no on individual pieces of climate legislation, perhaps rationalizing that they can vote yes later. As if that could work.
    I would love to have the legislature commit to do a study to determine how NM could lower our GHGs by 50% by 2030 (which I think is the latest IPCC target). But I would have the study include what more extreme actions would be necessary the year after that if the package were not passed into law. And the year after that, how much harder it would be. And the year after that how much harder. Etc.
    However, since I don’t trust the Round House to commit to such a study, if you do get the almost allies to the table—and if you think this idea is anything more than magical thinking—maybe you could throw this out as something that we might all be able to combine forces and finances to have such a study done, at least in broad outline form, to present to the legislature. It would also have the advantage of telling all of us what can be compromised on. And which compromises are death sentences for all of us.

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