We are juggling some crucial issues being considered at the Roundhouse and the PRC. Today we update you and give guidance on taking action. Read on!
Yesterday, Roxanne edited the post so that it began with a list of the issues presented. This seems a good idea, so today:
- A brief reminder of our Legislative Strategy Huddle Zoom tonight;
- Why the Governor should put a bill to lower small loan rates to 36% “on the call” for the 2022 Session;
- A brief update on the current Special Session;
- The Governor’s Hydrogen Hub plan;
- Urgent Call to Action on the PRC Merger Case.
Let’s get started.
1. Legislative Strategy Huddle Tonight
Kick-Off Legislative Strategy Huddle, Weds., December 8, 6-7pm. Learn about the bills we will support and those we may oppose. Also find out how you can be part of the Retake legislative advocacy strategy, including organizing Constituent-Legislator Conversations before the Session begins. This is a crucial huddle as we prepare for the Session that begins Jan. 18. Click here to register.
2. Contact the Governor: We need to cap predatory loans this year
We’re worried that the Governor may not put one of our priority bills on her call, so we are asking you to use the info below to send a message to the Governor today. It will take only a moment.
Predatory Lending: We Need a Message from the Governor
After SB 66, the 36% rate cap bill, came so close to passing during the last legislative session, our allies in the Fair Lending Coalition urged the governor to make it a priority for the 2022 short session. That session is now rapidly approaching and the governor has not yet made a public commitment to champion this high-priority reform.
If the governor supports the 36% rate cap bill (AKA puts it “on the call”), it will put pressure on legislators whose votes we need to support a good bill. However, if the governor doesn’t put the bill on the call, the industry will continue to charge triple digit rates for another year and drain momentum out of this reform. Naturally, the predatory lending industry lobbyists are pushing hard to keep anything from happening.
Please call the governor’s office at (505) 476-2200 or comment online at: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor/
Talking Points for Your Message to the Governor
We are your base, the people who will be canvassing, phonebanking, and volunteering for your re-election next year. When we are knocking on doors and making calls, we want to be able to tell other voters that you led the fight to end predatory lending in New Mexico.
With your leadership, the 36% rate cap bill can pass – it came within a handful of votes of passing last time. But even if it falls short again, we would rather have you fight this righteous fight for hard-working New Mexico families and lose than fail to fight at all.
New Mexico’s 175% rate is an embarrassment, and it hurts thousands of vulnerable families every year. The predatory lending industry loudly claims to be mom and pop operations, but 85% of them are large corporations based outside New Mexico.
The 36% cap is working well in states from Montana to South Dakota to Illinois. Capping loan rates at reasonable rates does not dry up access to credit, it ends predatory practices.
The 36% cap is not just the right thing to do, it’s also overwhelmingly popular: a recent poll found 71% of New Mexicans support a 36% cap (and nearly two-thirds of the voters who opposed it did so because they felt that 36% was too high).
3. Special Session Update
On Tuesday, debate on the redistricting maps began, but I admit to not being able to connect to the hearings effectively. I used the Zoom link to join the Senate Rules committee but was never invited in. I eventually gave up and headed to House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs, only to arrive just as they were closing the hearing and announcing they will resume Weds. (today) at 9am. Here’s what we know about today’s hearings:
House State Government & Indian Affairs. Weds, Dec. 8, 9 am. Room 217. On the agenda: HB 3 CRC HOUSE REDISTRICTING- CONCEPT I1; HB 4 CRC HOUSE REDISTRICTING- CONCEPT E1; HB 5 CRC HOUSE REDISTRICTING- CONCEPT J; HB 8 REDISTRICTING HOUSE.
Use this link to join the webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86835483595. Or one tap mobile: +16699009128, 86835483595# or +12532158782,,86835483595#. Or Telephone: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 Webinar ID: 868 3548 3595. Or you can view the hearing webcast at nmlegis.gov — click on Webcast in the top menu bar and select the committee. No public comment via Webcast.
Senate Rules, Weds. Dec. 8, 9 a.m., Rm. 322. On the agenda: SB 1 CONGRESS REDISTRICTING.
For public participation, please go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88408775084 or join the webinar or via telephone 346-248-7799. Meeting ID: 884 0877 5084.
Hearings may be viewed via Webcast at nmlegis.gov. Click on the Webcast tab and select your hearing of choice. But you can not offer comment from here.
For speaking points on redistricting and for legislator contact info, click here to find them in yesterday’s post.
4. Hydrogen Hub: Time for deliberation, not haste or knee-jerk opposition
We are working on a much more extensive analysis of the Governor’s plan for a Hydrogen Hub in NM, and today we want to tell you our initial reaction now that she has released 27-page draft bill with a request for input. When we published Hydrogen Hub or Hydrogen Hype? You Decide, on Nov 18, we said that to fairly evaluate her proposal required far more detail. There is a world of difference between 100% green hydrogen and CO2 emitting blue hydrogen. We are starting to get details on her plan and Capital and Main published a piece that offered some enviro groups’ views. Capital and Main began their piece with this quote
“Let’s be crystal clear,” says Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center, “this bill isn’t a climate or clean energy bill. It’s a fossil fuels bill.”Capital & Main: “New Mexico’s draft plan for hydrogen a nonstarter for environmentalists” by Jerry Redfern
Retake is inclined to agree with Redfern, but now that we have the details maybe we can now search for some middle ground around which to negotiate to “yes.” And so Retake is working with allies to outline our concerns, while in the background working to see if that middle ground can be found. We hope our concerns are taken in the spirit they are given, trying to find the best path forward for New Mexico. But to achieve that it is incumbent upon advocates to raise their voices and for leadership to hear those voices for what they are: the voices of Democrats who will not walk in lock-step because leadership thinks we should, but rather because critical eyes can see things that leadership may not. In that spirit, we cite a few short passages from MLG’s proposed Hydrogen Hub legislation. First, the opening statement.
The need for clean, domestically produced energy has never been greater. Climate experts agree that the energy challenges facing the world cannot be solved by any single approach –that’s why New Mexico is developing a portfolio of clean energy solutions: solar, wind, geothermal and now hydrogen.MLG: Hydrogen Hub Draft Bill
We withhold judgement on whether hydrogen is a “clean energy solution,” but I think we can all agree on the general intent of the statement…a good start. As we proceeded through the bill, we found a key component identified in her plan:
A comprehensive menu of tax credits and deductions to incentivize the production, distribution, and use of clean hydrogen.MLG: Hydrogen Hub Draft Bill
It makes sense to offer incentives to encourage good behavior; ask any parent. But, you must be careful what is being incentivized, and in this instance all rests with how you define “clean” hydrogen. To give credit where credit is due, the Governor’s plan offers a very specific definition.
Qualifying hydrogen means hydrogen produced with a carbon intensity equal to or less than nine kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of hydrogen produced. As of July 1, 2024, qualifying hydrogen means hydrogen produced with a carbon intensity equal to 27 or less than seven kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of 28 hydrogen produced. As of July 1, 2026, qualifying hydrogen means hydrogen produced with a carbon intensity equal to or less than five kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of hydrogen produced. As of July 1, 2028, qualifying hydrogen means hydrogen produced with a carbon intensity equal to or less than three kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of hydrogen produced. After July 1, 2030, the secretary of the Environment Department may, through administrative rule, lower the carbon intensity of qualifying hydrogen for a period of two years.
Sadly, it is not all that clean. It is also technical — a good thing, but difficult for a layperson to assess. It is easy to see that clean hydrogen qualifies with decreasing levels of CO2 emissions over time. So we can conclude that this is not clean, even several years in. And while the amount of CO2 allowed declines every two years, it never reaches zero emissions, stalling after 2028. This means we will have invested billions of dollars in an energy source that will never be clean, even as the world must eliminate all emissions.
So this is a problem, as this is where all kinds of Net Zero calculations will have to come into play to “offset” the continuing CO2 emissions. In conversation with Jay Levine, member of Renewable Taos and Chair of the Democratic Party’s Platform & Resolutions Committee, he noted that it might be legitimate to incorporate reduced CO2 emissions by transitioning trucks to hydrogen fuel and off of diesel and gasoline, but there is an inconvenient truth here: the trucking industry is not equipped for use of hydrogen, so there may be no market for the produced hydrogen. Plus, there are trucks that are already using electric power to run. That is 100% clean, unless you count the rare minerals that are needed for battery storage, our own inconvenient truth.
In any case, that is enough for now. We have a small group studying this issue and want to arrive at some kind of middle ground or at least a very solid foundation for informed opposition. We want to open a dialog with the Governor and resist a shouting match. If you’d like to help with this work, write to us at RetakeResponse@gmail.com. Keep your mind open and look for more from Retake on the Hydrogen Hub over the next few weeks.
5. Decision Day or Start Over? Call to Action on PNM-Avangrid Merger
PNM/Avangrid/Iberdrola quite likely realize that if the PRC votes today, they will lose. Not surprisingly, facing this likelihood, the joint applicants are asking the PRC to reopen the case and allow for more oral arguments, in hopes that with more time to sprinkle fairy dust on this merger they can lure the PRC into making a heinous mistake: believing what the joint applicants say.
We ask again that you call and/or email your Commissioner this morning to ask that they reject the request for reopening oral arguments and then vote to reject the merger. You can use the same argument if you offer public comment during today’s hearing. The reason for rejecting the merger is outlined on our Avangrid page, where you’ll find contact info and speaking points customized for each Commissioner.
As to PNM’s request for reopening oral arguments, there is no legal precedent for allowing more evidence once a case has gone to its jury and on Dec. 1, 2021, this case was closed and handed over to the jury.
The Joint Applicants made their case; they see now that they did not make it very well, so they want to come back and retry a case that they have lost. This is a total waste of PRC time when it is already faced with numerous cases awaiting hearings or decisions, not the least of which is the Four Corners decision, with hundreds of millions of rate payer dollars on the line.
Please use the contact info provided on the our Avangrid page and tell the PRC Commissioners you do not want to give Avangid/Iberdola/PNM a retrial. They’ve had their chance.
You can make the same point during public comment, but leave yourself time to address opposition to the merger, not just opposition to reopening the case.
In Solidarity and Hope,
Paul & Roxanne