It’s Action Time: Public Hearing on Avangrid-PNM Merger; 2022 Legislative Session Planning

Thanksgiving respite is definitely over and it is time to get engaged and take action. First, a Redistricting Zoom tonight at 6 pm! We have a lot to do.

Upcoming Events

Redistricting Time: Fair Districts NM Zoom at 6 pm tonight, Nov. 29. Our Actions & Events page at this link has info you need to join the Zoom. If you haven’t been tracking the various public hearings or if you are not clear about the difference between the nine draft maps or you don’t understand the Special Session (Dec 6) process through which a map will be selected, this would be a great Zoom to join tonight at 6pm.

PRC Discussion of PNM-Avangrid Merger, Weds., Dec. 1, 9:30 a.m., a public meeting where the public can offer comment and then the Commissioners will discuss the merger publicly among themselves. To participate in this meeting, click this link a few minutes before the start of the meeting, which begins at 9:30am, Weds, Dec 1. When you click the link you will be given a link to the livestream. If you want to offer public comment, which will happen near the beginning of the meeting, please email or call Isaac Sullivan-Leshin by 5 p.m. Tues., Nov. 30, at or (505) 670-4830.

Final-Push Action Zoom to Oppose the PNM-Avangrid Merger, Weds., Dec. 16-7 pm. This Zoom will be part discussion and part action. We will review our communication strategy and discuss what final actions we need to take. Then we are going to make it fun. We will initiate a virtual phone /email bank, providing PRC Commissioner phone numbers and call them during the Zoom. We will structure the Zoom so that participants are organized into groups by PRC Commissioner and we will coordinate so that only one person is calling an individual Commissioner at a time, while others will be crafting emails to send to Commissioners during the Zoom and to send to friends they will try to recruit to the campaign. Click here to register. To read more about why we need to oppose this merger, and to get talking points for your calls and emails, go to our Avangrid page at this link.

2022 Legislative Session Kick-off Strategy Huddle, Weds. Dec 8, 6 pm. At this huddle we will discuss our advocacy strategy, including starting to organize Constituent-Legislator Zoom Conversations in December. We will review the bills we know we will support and oppose as well as our criteria and process for selecting bills. Advocacy will begin soon after this Zoom, as we need to press the Governor to put at least two of our bills on her call so they can be heard in committee, etc. Finally, we will talk about how you can advocate during the session at home via Zoom or at the Roundhouse. Click here to register. You must register to participate.

Thoughts on Recent Mindbending Events.

Roxanne noted the other day how difficult it is to watch the news and, when you do, it is so often a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs, leaving your stomach in knots and your head spinning. To wit:

  • Biden Protects Chaco Canyon from ABC News: in a piece outlining protections put in place to protect Chaco Canyon, Biden is quoted “We’re going to make some substantial changes in this country and it is going to continue.”  Sounds good, but fast forward a scant few days and let’s just see how Biden is going to continue making substantial changes…
  • Biden Gulf Oil Sale Means More Drilling Within Legacy Chemical Dump Site. From this Huffington Post article, “The Biden administration’s oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico last week doesn’t just lock in decades of future drilling and greenhouse gas emissions, it also opens up more extraction in an area where chemical companies dumped tons of hazardous industrial waste.” This is the largest gas & oil lease in U.S. history. Coming right on the heels of COP 26, this is not the kind of leadership the US should be demonstrating. Leaders around the globe must be scratching their heads wondering how serious the U.S. could be about our commitment to fighting climate change. What is even worse, these leases will lock in a huge amount of drilling for decades, drilling in an area with an obvious history of massive hurricanes and where there is a huge amount of toxic waste in barrels on the sea bottom. What could possibly go wrong?

How do you stay motivated when powers well beyond our reach can make decisions that dwarf any progress we are making here in NM? I floated that question to a couple of pals at New Energy Economy and their swift reply came first in just two words: “our kids,” then amplified, noting that Mother Nature will continue to turn up the volume and when the entitled start to feel the impact, then the powers that be will take this seriously.

But that sense of powerlessness in relation to the big impacts is deflating and is the reason Retake has long focused on the the things we can influence: the NM State Legislature and the PRC. So, if you are like Roxanne and I and too often feel overwhelmed with the international and national news, there is plenty to do here in NM ,and here your voice actually matters. The legislative session begins in mid-January, our Kickoff Strategy Huddle is next week, and the PRC meets Wednesday to discuss the proposed merger and hear public comment. So let’s get moving!

PRC Public Hearing on PNM-Avangrid/ Iberdrola Merger, Weds. Dec 1.

The PRC has announced a public meeting where the public can offer comment and then the Commissioners will discuss the merger publicly among themselves. To participate in this meeting, click this link a few minutes before the start of the meeting, which begins at 9:30am, Weds, Dec 1. When you click the link you will be given a link to the livestream.

If you want to offer public comment( which will happen near the beginning of the meeting) you should email or call Isaac Sullivan-Leshin by Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m: or (505) 670-4830.

Odd Logistics. While it is difficult to project when exactly public comment will begin, the meeting begins at 9:30 and the only items coming before public comment are roll call to affirm quorum, approval of minutes from last meeting, and introduction of special guests. My guess is public comment will begin around 9:45 or 10. So that part is easy, but there is no indication in the agenda for how long public comment will be taken. Plus the presentation from the Chief Hearing Examiner and ensuing Commissioner Q&A and discussion is #19 on the agenda with no time limits given for the 18 items that come before, but 15 of those items are consent items which should go swiftly.. My suggestion is that anyone who wants to hear what should be a very illuminating discussion will want to run the full hearing in the background and check in periodically to assess how quickly things are moving. Not ideal, but we definitely want to hear what Commissioners ask the Hearing Examiner and the conversation among Commissioners that ensues, as that will give us some idea of where Commissioners stand, who needs more information, and what arguments and points we can offer Commissioners most effectively. No decision will be made during this hearing,

If you plan to make public comment, be prepared and write up a 3-minute comment, using our Avangrid page at this link to help frame and support your position. The Avangrid page lays out all that is at stake and offers arguments for why we oppose this deal, along with guidance to take action.

We feel the strongest argument is to stress that no matter what Iberdrola/Avangrid/ PNM promise, Avangrid’s track record in Maine and Iberdrola’s in Spain and South America ought to alert us to how bad this merger would be for New Mexico. Be sure to weave in reference to the Chief Hearing Examiner’s comment that even if Iberdrola/Avangrid/PNM agreed to all protections sought in the Hearing Examiner’s Recommended Decision, the PRC would still need to invest significant resources to verify fulfillment of any and all promises that Iberdrola/Avangrid/PNM make. In short, they are so untrustworthy that the Hearing Examiner feels there is no commitment of resources that would warrant approving the deal.

We may well learn a good deal about the thinking of PRC Commissioners during the merger discussion and this will inform our “Final Push” Zoom discussion at 6 pm that same day, Weds., Dec. 1.

Click here to register for the Dec. 1 Zoom

Closing Thoughts

Since the 2021 legislative session ended in March, there has been much happening throughout the world but, aside from the merger, not so much in NM. But now, as we close out 2021, quite a bit is happening or seriously looming and it is time for the Retake community to regather and prepare to flex some collective muscle. It will be heartening to see the Zoom registration numbers build for our two coming Zooms, each important in their own right. It is not enough to write posts, make comments, and wring hands. While we have next to zero impact on what Biden does next, we do have influence here, as to whether this merger is approved and what passes into law in 2022. And we try to make it easier for you to engage effectively. We’ll need all of us to slow the Net Zero, Hydrogen Hub bandwagons, while also pushing to get small loan rates capped at 36%, passing the Green Amendment, getting Health Security through the next hurdle, and getting the Governor to put a State Public Bank on her call.

So, let’s join hands and raise our voices together:

Let’s do this together!

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Climate Justice, Uncategorized

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3 replies

  1. Re: Thoughts on Mind-Bending Events and how to stay motivated. Consider the standard sci-fi timetravel plot — return to the past (Back to the Future), make some small change (Marty gives Doc the note), have huge impact on the present (Doc does not get killed by terrorists). We rarely think about making a small change today that will have a huge impact on the future in the same way.

  2. Influencing the federal executive might be possible if we had a US senator with a fire in his belly, rather than Sen Duck-&-Weave

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