The national and international news is bleak, but here in New Mexico we have just had two huge wins at the PRC. Now it’s time to shift focus to the Roundhouse and secure some more wins. The Session begins in a week, with Public Power, Public Bank, Green Amendment, and several climate justice bills on the table. Retake has a plan, an alert system, bills to support, and advocacy tools. All we need is you!
Before we dive into the 2022 Session, an alert about an important Public Power Zoom webinar, Thurs., Jan 20 at 11 am. Also, a call to action related to PRC Commissioner Joe Maestas’ campaign for State Auditor.
Thurs., Jan. 20, 11am: Democratizing the Grid, on the potential of Public Power with Dem. Seth Berry and Republican Rick Bennett from Maine, where Public Power is being considered. Also serving on the panel is Jean Su, an amazing attorney and energy justice fighter (including against Duke Energy), and Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy.
Join the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for an inspiring conversation with advocates who are taking on electric utility monopolies with the aim of accelerating the shift to clean energy and winning democratic community control!
We need to take every opportunity to get fully educated on what Public Power is, why it would benefit NM, and how we can be successful in creating Public Power and a democratized grid in NM.
In NM, like most regions, most electricity is controlled by a single investor-owned utility with a government-granted monopoly. Across the country, powerful utilities are actively blocking decentralized solar energy, degrading the reliability of the power lines even as they raise prices, and failing to make the grid investments needed for a clean, carbon-free future.
This will be inspiring and educational, a very worthwhile opportunity to get ready to advocate for Public Power in NM. Produced by the Institute for Self Reliance, the webinar already has 300 people signed up. See you there!
- Click this link to Register
- Web page for more info: ilsr.org/OurPower
- Social media materials to encourage others and your legislator to join us!
2022 Session is a Week Away: Time to Get Moving
The best way to learn about how to effectively advocate during the legislative session is to join one of our weekly Huddles.
Please join us Weds (TONIGHT), Jan. 12, 6-7 p.m. for our Legislative Strategy Huddle via Zoom. We’ll quickly review bills we plan to support or oppose and consider whether to add any of the 100+ bills that have already been pre-filed. We will hear from Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez about two bills she is sponsoring (Green Amendment and Second Chance), and Rep. Andrea Romero about her Housing Reform bill. We will also ask for your input on climate bills that are coming, including bills to create tax credits for purchasing e-vehicles, home solar installations, and energy storage, and the Governor’s latest climate bill: The Zero Emissions Economy Act. While in theory we support tax credits for personal investment in storage and e-vehicles, we can only actively support 15 bills this year and these tax credit bills tend to benefit people who are financially comfortable. Finally, we’ll answer any questions you may have about being active during this Session. Please click here to register. You must register to participate.
Much to Fight For and Against in 2022
Remember 2021, when we and our allies:
- FINALLY passed Health Security Study & Design;
- FINALLY repealed the heinous abortion ban;
- Passed Extreme Risk Protection Orders;
- FINALLY passed Permanent Fund for Early Childhood;
- Passed End-of-Life Options.
It took strident advocacy to push these bills to the finish line. And there will be bills every bit as impactful as those above considered in the 2022 Session. The process can be dizzyingly complex and fast-paced. Our job at Retake is to make it easier for you to effectively push those bills to the finish line. Through the Huddles and our NM Legislation page you can learn about our overall Legislative Strategy, including our criteria for selecting bills, how to advocate from your couch, and how to volunteer for Retake before the session begins (now!) at our NM Legislation page.
We need Hearing Observers, a role you can do either at home online or in person at the Roundhouse. Find the Hearing Observer sign-up form at this link. We also need people to submit Letters to the Editor or Op-Eds advocating for bills we support, and people who can offer public comment in hearings and/or in communication with their legislator(s). If you haven’t participated in a Huddle yet, you can learn about the bills we support or oppose so far at this link.
The 2022 Legislative Session is a short one this year, running from Jan. 18 through Feb. 17. As always, you can go to https://nmlegis.gov to look up legislation, find your legislators, watch hearing webcasts, and get hearing schedules once the session begins. Or you can join our Huddles, hear from our bill review team, and help us sort out priorities and plan our advocacy.
Please subscribe to our Legislative Alerts, one of which was sent earlier this morning. So if you didn’t get an alert this morning you are not signed up. Please sign up for Alerts at this link. You will receive one whenever one of the bills we support or oppose is being heard in committee or on a chamber floor. Alerts come with links to bill summaries, contact info for legislators who will be voting on the bill, and info about how you can view the hearing and make public comment from home.
The Governor’s Climate Legislation
It is not easy to ferret out our position in relation to our Governor’s climate proposals, as, on the surface, so many of them are appealing. So when I saw that she was seeking a 49% increase in funding for the Environment Dept. I was initially delighted. Her press release indicated that “cleaning up industry, taking action on climate change, and protecting public health can be done while strengthening and diversifying the economy.” All good things. What’s more, she stated:
“My administration believes that clean air, clean water, and clean lands are the right of every New Mexican, and I am committed to providing the resources to state agencies to make sure that is the case,”MLG
That sounds like an endorsement for the Green Amendment. But, as we often note, the devil is in the details and her proposal includes:
- $2.5 million to fund a 15-person climate change bureau that would oversee some proposed laws, if they pass. Those include establishing a new clean fuel standard, making New Mexico a hydrogen hub and codifying the commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The bureau also would develop new climate policies.
- $2.4 million to assure drinking water is safe from contaminants such as PFAS, plus mitigate drought and restore watersheds and wetlands, including those important to the state’s outdoor economy. (PFAS is an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of synthetic, potentially harmful chemicals used in a wide variety of household products and industrial processes.)
While we still applaud the effort to increase funding for the woefully underfunded Energy Dept., this will also fund staffing to advance her Hydrogen Hub and Net Zero plans (see below). So while we will support this increase, we do so with our eyes open. This will be discussed in tonight’s Huddle. For more on Retake’s position on the Hydrogen Hub and Net Zero:
- Hydrogen Hub: An Energy Plan That is Bad for NM and the Future
- Hydrogen Hub or Hydrogen Hype? You Decide
- Tell Gov & Speaker You Do Not Want an Uncritical Stampede for Net Zero or Hydrogen Schemes
When I reviewed a draft of the Governor’s new Zero Emissions Economy Act, I was a tad wary. Indeed, the language in the draft legislation makes it clear that this is the Governor’s Net Zero proposal, dressed up as a path to a zero emissions world. Sadly, the path is littered with terminology related to “offsets,” making the distinction between offset emissions and actual emissions, and about goals related to net zero that rely upon carbon sequestration to scale, something that has never lived up to proponents’ hopes. We’ll want to see the final draft of the bill before casting judgment, but this looks like a bill for which, at best, we will seek amendments.
Again, join us tonight to be part of the action: Weds., Jan. 12, 6-7 p.m., Legislative Strategy Huddle via Zoom. Please click here to register.