Today, we celebrate an all too rare win: the demise of the Verde Transmission Line. We also provide details on a unique and important Red Nation march in Santa Fe on Saturday
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday morning at 8:30am with Miranda Viscoli, Co-President of New Mexicans for Gun Violence Prevention. Well worth your time, as Miranda spells out both what has been accomplished in NM to prevent gun violence and the significant challenges ahead. And a bold prediction: Miranda predicts the NRA will no longer exist in 5 years. May it be so.
Saturday is Retake Reading Day and So We Feature a Look at 1619, the year slaves were first brought to America. Last week, we began, Saturday Reading Day, a different kind of post, a bit like Sunday at the Movies, only featuring a very few articles we feel warrant your attention, introduced with minimal commentary only describing why each article is important.
Tomorrow we will offer a selection of articles from a NY Times project: 1619. The NY Times has assembled an extraordinary array of articles as part of a project they call 1619. It is a reflection on the history of slavery and how, well after emancipation, manifestations of slavery remain in place, severely constraining the lives of African Americans. Look for it tomorrow.
Verde Transmission Line Plan Killed
I thought it was a misprint. A Northern New Mexico energy initiative opposed by almost every conceivable public forum has been withdrawn. Generally, opposition, even broad and deep opposition, is only a minor nuisance if a power company wants its way. Not this time.
Hunt Power had proposed to build a 345 Kilovolt transmission line that would have stretched from Rio Arriba County’s Ojo Substation to PNM’s Norton Substation on Old Buckman Road in Santa Fe County. Hunt Power withdrew the proposal citing “circumstances have changed over the last couple of years that threaten the long-term viability of the project.” I have a hunch that those circumstances might have involved the tenacious and near unanimous opposition to the project, opposition that included:
- A petition signed by over 4600 residents;
- In 2016, the Espanola school board passed a resolution opposing the line;
- In January 2017 a field manager for the BLM indicated that it would not approve the transmission line;
- In February 2017 the Espanola City Council passed a resolution opposing the line;
- In March 2017 the Rio Arriba County Commission unanimously passed a resolution opposing the line.
I am guessing that opposition figured into Hunt Power’s thinking. For once, a win against a major energy company. To read more about the Verde proposal and why Retake opposed it, click here to review a post devoted to the issue.
Red Nation March–An Education in Settler Colonial History
The US proudly proclaims it to be the land of the free and the leader of the free world while continuing settler colonial policies that marginalize indigenous peoples and constricts their “sovereignty” to offering tribes and pueblos the opportunity to offer their views on any proposed use of their land.
Keep in mind, two factors here. First, according to the USDA, in 2007, indigenous peoples “owned” just 2% of the land in the US. Second, the right to offer their views on corporate plans to frack, mine, clear cut or build pipelines on their land seldom results in any significant concessions on the part of the corporate sector.
In effect, the tribes “sovereignty” amounts to having the right to sit at a table with a bunch of suits and ties who politely listen, and then proceed to do whatever they had planned to the native land.
Saturday, we have an opportunity to participate in a Red Nation march in protest of settler colonial policies. There are also a number of other indigenous events scheduled to occur throughout Indian Market which begins Saturday morning. Links are provided below.
August 17, 2-4 pm March in Support of Pueblo Liberation and Reclaiming Sacred Land. The march on Aug. 17, 2-4pm. Meet at the Fish Sculpture outside the Convention Center. is an important way to show support for indigenous populations and indigenous rights. The march will be led by Pueblo womxn to reclaim O gah Po’geh, which is the actual name of what we now know as ‘Santa Fe.’ Settled and exploited first by the Spanish, and later by white American settlers, O gah Po’geh is sacred to our Tewa relatives. The August 17thmarch will be an educational tour about the history of liberation, and conquest, that has transpired in O gah Po’geh. Through a series of stops along the route, we hope to remind Santa Fe that it sits atop stolen Pueblo land. We will offer prayers for the land and water of this sacred place to re-establish our roles as caretakers and relatives.
The 98th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market, hosted by Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), honors Native women this year with the theme “Rise and Remember: Honoring the Resilience of Native Women.” Many other feminist groups are hosting events in solidarity, including Three Sisters Collective, We are the Seeds, The Red Nation, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, and more.
Paul and Roxanne
I appreciate the support you gave to those opposing Hunt’s proposed Verde electric transmission line. Two matters, however, are left in an unsafisfactory condition. The proposed transmission line would have been visible over an area of more than 100 square miles. Clearly such a project should be considered a development of countywide impact (DCI) and subject to the careful study accorded a DCI in the Santa Fe county code. However, the county code requires only the minimal review of a conditional use permit for a transmission line. The Board of County Commissioners has had ample time to amend the county code to treat a transmission line as a DCI, but has simply declined to begin the process of revision. Should another transmission line be proposed in this or another location, the County Commissioners will, by their own choice, lack the appropriate tools to evaluate the proposal.
Second, only a few days after the election of Trump, three federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), signed an environmental assessment designating Old Buckman Road, as a utility corridor. Unhappily, this co-locates a utility corridor with the longest U.S. trail segment of El Camino Real National Historic Trail. More than $4 million taxpayer dollars were spent on that trail, and Santa Fe County has promised to manage and maintain the trail. Nonetheless, the historical experience could easilty be destroyed by what would be the Bureau of Land Managment’s routine approval of addtional transmission lines. Federal law, passed in 2009, mandates that BLM “restore” national historic trails. BLM designation of Old Buckman Road as a utility corridor blatantly defies that federal law and its own manual. Whatever one thinks of a transmission line, the rule of law is under assault by the Trump administration. We should fight to uphold it. The Board of County Commissioners again does nothing.