24 Dem. Legislators Defy Governor, Send Letter to Biden Supporting Fracking Lease Pause: Full Letter & List of Signees Included, Plus Interview with Mariel Nanasi on Avangrid

The NM legislature has been unable to pass any meaningful climate change legislation in decades. But, today, we proudly publish the full letter to Biden supporting the leasing pause and identify all the signees. According to the New Mexican, it was Sen. Carrie Hamblen who spearheaded the effort and for this she is to be commended. Read on!

If you missed Thursday’s post, as apparently many did, it is comprised of two separate short pieces, one based on ProPublica’s explosive report on how the 1% pay almost no federal taxes. In a supportive piece, we included the Americans for Tax Fairness “Fact Sheet” on taxation in America and how profoundly unfair it is. The Fact Sheet includes links to research summarizing how increasing corporate tax rates does not cost jobs. The Fact Sheet also offers counter arguments to many of the corporate lobbyists who make all kinds of false claims. Click here.

Less Is More Book Club Part II

Wednesday, July 21, 6pm-7:30pm Less is More Book Club Part II. Everyone on the Book Club Zoom wants to continue the conversation which will enable all of you to get your hands on the book and participate. You can get Less is More from any local book store. Click here to register.

6.12.2021 Retake Conversation with Mariel Nanasi

You will not want to miss this interview, as Mariel Nanasi laid out New Energy Economy’s case against the Avangrid/Iberdrola merger with PNM. Very worth your time as the opportunity to offer public comment in Aug 9 and this will motivate you to offer you own 3 minute opposition. We will have speaking points for that well before the hearing. But for now, listen up.

Zoominar Featuring Maine Leaders Opposing Avangrid and Advancing Forming State Public Power

We get to hear it straight from Maine residents who are fighting Avangrid as if their lives, power and forests depended upon their winning the battle. Hearing from the “Mainers” will be more than enough to convince you that NM must be nuts to even be considering this merger. PNM has been bad enough, but to now accept a mega corporation from Spain that has a truly terrible track record of exploitation, avoiding regulation, failure to pay fines, and manipulation of legislatures in the US, UK, Spain and the Global South: Find out what is at stake with:

  • Vaughan Woodruff is former CEO and founder of Insource Renewables. Vaughan’s experience within the local and national solar industry is broad. He was chair of Maine’s solar industry trade association during the height of policy battles, and was lead instructor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Instructor Training Network in New England and New York. Vaughan has been an outspoken advocate for renewable energy in Maine and has extensive experience implementing solar power within the Central Maine Power/Avangrid/Iberdrola utility territory. He has testified at the Public Utility Commission and is a powerful advocate for new legislation in Maine that would create a public power utility, Pine Tree Power, to  protect the people of Maine from Avangrid’s incompetent, unreliable service and obstruction of distributed solar power.
  • William Dunn, President of Sunset Point LLC Bill Dunn specializes in electricity market design and implementation, ancillary services, utility and power pool/market operations, inter-utility coordination, contractual power supply arrangements, and transmission access and pricing. Bill has over 49 years of experience in working with electric utility organizations of all ownership types (i.e., public, private, local and federal). He has held senior positions in utilities and on power pool/market committees. Bill is a leading advocate and lobbyist for the newly proposed public power legislation in Maine and has testified extensively about the failures of Central Maine Power, Avangrid and Iberdrola to serve the public interest in Maine.

Click here to register.
And Tell Your Friends

Sen. Hamblen & 23 Other Dems Send Letter to Biden Encouraging Him Not to Grant NM a Wa

What leadership looks like

After reading the letter, scan the list and if your legislator is on the list, perhaps send him/her a note of appreciation and if he/she is absent from the signees, perhaps write and let the legislator know that you noticed.

You may notice that the only member of leadership to sign the letter, is Sen. Linda Lopez, Senate Whip. Otherwise, it was a total absence of Democrat leadership. When Carrie sent me the letter and list, she noted that leadership has more difficult lines to walk and that while she was grateful for all who signed, she respected those who did not. I am not as charitable. Leadership signed up to walk those difficult lines and voters expect them to show leadership. Eight of the 24 who signed the letter just finished their first year as legislators, so taking this stand is especially courageous for them. Interestingly, only six of the 24 who signed (25%) were men, while 18 of those signing were women, despite males comprising over half of the Democratic caucus for both chambers.

Thank you Carrie, for your leadership. Letter and signatories follow. Here is a link where you can get contact info for your legislator.

Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Cc: Secretary Debra Haaland, Department of the Interior

Dear President Biden:

We write to convey our strong support for your pause and review of federal fossil fuel
programs in relation to our country’s climate goals. We–the undersigned members of the New Mexico State Legislature–are committed to a deliberate and planned transition from our overdependence on fossil fuels to fund our state’s budget priorities. Planning for economic diversification and reducing the volatility of boom-and-bust cycles on our budget making is in the best interest of our state’s priorities such as education and health care.

While we recognize the significant contributions the oil and gas industry has made to New Mexico, we believe that our state’s long-term fiscal health can benefit from this federal pause and review. Your vision and policy review provide the opportunity to examine and modernize our federal royalty and rent systems that have gone mostly unchanged for a century. Indeed, such a modernization could result in revenue-positive outcomes for New Mexico and provide us more resources in the short-term to prepare for the inevitable, long-term decline and important workforce retraining of a traditional fossil energy economy. We must ensure that as we transition, that our hard-working oil and gas workers do not get left behind. Together, we must incentivize new opportunities for good paying union jobs in clean energy and other emerging industries.

According to a study from Taxpayers for Common Sense, if federal onshore royalty rates were increased to the same level as offshore royalties (18.75%), New Mexico could have received $2.5 billion more over the last decade while still having a rate lower than that charged by Texas for extraction on state lands (20-25%). As the state’s appropriators, we have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that we are appropriately charging for the benefit of extracting resources from our public lands so that New Mexicans receive a fair and true market value for these resources. We cannot afford to continue to miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars
that could benefit our state’s spending priorities, such as our schoolchildren.

The review underway by your Administration also allows us as state leaders to plan for the cleanup of abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells. This happens when companies declare bankruptcy and abandon a well, leaving an expensive and toxic cleanup for the taxpayers.

New Mexico currently has about 700 identified orphaned wells, with thousands more likely unaccounted for. Last year, our state remediated and plugged 42 wells at a taxpayer cost of $1.6 million. In total, the cost to clean up New Mexico’s estimated 73,000 wells could one day soar well in to the billions. Moving forward, regulatory agencies at the state and federal level must ensure that oil and gas companies financially guarantee they will cover the cost of future cleanup so that taxpayers aren’t liable to clean up after the industry’s mess.

We are heartened to see your American Jobs Plan includes $16 billion for plugging abandoned wells and mines nationally. Further, we commend Senator Ben Ray Lujan and Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez for their abandoned well legislation. Making these investments into plugging wells is another way we can create shovel-ready jobs in these communities while addressing pollution that threaten the air, water, and health of nearby communities.

In New Mexico, like many places around our nation, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities have disproportionately suffered the impacts of climate change and pollution. Many of the BIPOC communities are physically located near toxic facilities, experience chronic illness because of placement near coal-fired power plants, food insecurity due to unsustainable and drought intolerant farming. We recognize that there have been centuries of systemic racism through laws, policies, and practices have placed these Americans in an especially vulnerable position.

There is a lot of work ahead of us as state policymakers to achieve a deliberative and planned transition from overreliance of fossil fuel extraction, but to be successful we need an all of government approach. We have worked closely with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to adopt forward-looking policies at the state level, including the Energy Transition Act (ETA), which will help to move our state towards more sustainable energy development. As New Mexico continues to show leadership in the fight against climate change, we welcome your efforts at the national level to further support these efforts.

Finally, we must note how proud and excited we are to have New Mexico’s Deb Haaland serve as Secretary of the Interior. We look forward to working with her and your Administration on these related issues. As a desert state experiencing the front-line impacts of drought and climate change, we commend your leadership and the urgency your Administration has taken in addressing climate change. We must act now and we stand ready to help.


Carrie Hamblen
New Mexico Senator, District 38
Doña Ana County

Angelica Rubio
New Mexico Representative, District 35
Doña Ana County

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
New Mexico Senator, District 16
Bernalillo County

Elisabeth “Liz” Thomson
New Mexico Representative, District 24
Bernalillo County

William Tallman
New Mexico Senator, District 18
Bernalillo County  

Patricia Roybal Caballero
New Mexico Representative, District 13
Bernalillo County

Jerry Ortiz Y Pino
New Mexico Senator, District 12
Bernalillo County

Martin Hickey
New Mexico State Senator, District 20
Bernalillo County

Linda Lopez
New Mexico Senator, District 11
Bernalillo County

Tara L. Lujan
New Mexico Representative, District 48
Santa Fe County

Deborah A. Armstrong
New Mexico Representative, District 17
Bernalillo County

Joanne Ferrary
New Mexico Representative, District 37
Doña Ana County

Roger E. Montoya
New Mexico Representative, District 40
Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba & San Miguel Counties  

Brittney Barreras
New Mexico Representative, District 12
Bernalillo County

Kristina Ortez
New Mexico Representative, District 42
Taos County

Christine Chandler
New Mexico Representative, District 43
Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval & Santa Fe

William P. Soules
New Mexico Senator, District 37
Doña Ana County

Gail Chasey
New Mexico Representative, District 18
Bernalillo County

Joy Garratt
New Mexico Representative, District 29
Bernalillo County

Harold Pope
New Mexico Senator, District 23
Bernalillo County

Christine Trujillo
New Mexico Representative, District 25
Bernalillo County

Debra Sariñana
New Mexico Representative, District 21
Bernalillo County

Linda Serrato
New Mexico Representative, District 45
Santa Fe County

Andrea Romero
New Mexico Representative, District 46
Santa Fe County

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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4 replies

  1. I need to reach out to my representative (Javier Martinez) to understand his position on this matter. I’m surprised he wasn’t a signatory.

  2. Thanks so much for making this letter and the signers available to us. I’m very proud of these courageous lawmakers for signing on.

    Karyl Lyne, Las Vegas

  3. It’s great to see that at least some Democrats are questioning the Governor’s environmental “leadership.”

  4. I am stunned to see that Avangrid is listed by Ethisphere as one of it’s top-20 most ethical companies. https://ethisphere.com/avangrid-compliance-leader-verification/ Apparently, there is some concern that Ethisphere, being a for-profit company, could be (is?) manipulated by companies who need to have an ethical patina. Does anyone here have any insight into Ethisphere?

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