HB 6 Clean Future Act, introduced by Rep. Nathan Small and House Speaker Brian Egolf, while badly flawed, does force the state to produce data on GHG emissions every year, a big plus. It sets some lofty goals, but the devil is in the details and there too many drawbacks to this bill for Retake to support it without amendments. We are examining if there are enough flaws to oppose the bill. Also, an important webinar on Public Power TODAY at 11 a.m.!
Before we get to HB 6, two important announcements.
National Call for Democratizing the Grid Via Public Power
Many Americans have grown concerned about the monopoly power that Big Tech corporations wield. But few people realize that the problem of concentrated private power also infects the electricity sector. In most regions, electricity is controlled by a single investor-owned utility (IOU) with a government-granted monopoly. In NM, where we are disserved by 3 IOUs, a Public Power memorial will be introduced to launch a public power research & design process. 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.
Join the Institute for Local Self-Reliance on Jan. 20 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! This will be an inspiring conversation, as the panelists have been in the trenches fighting for energy democracy for many years.
Democratizing the Grid: New Citizen Initiatives Challenge Monopoly Electric Utilities, TODAY, January 20, 11:00AM.
Representative Seth Berry, Maine State Legislature. Our Power Representative Seth Berry (he/him/his) is a founding member of Our Power — a Maine-based movement for a new, consumer-owned electrical utility, focused on climate, rural broadband, lower costs and improved reliability. Berry will explain the “what, why and how” of the proposal (LD1708), and the status of Our Power’s citizen initiative to let Maine people have a say in their energy future.
Senator Rick Bennett, Maine State Legislature. Our Power Senator Rick Bennett of Oxford was the lead Senate sponsor of LD 1708. He has served in the Maine Legislature for 13 years in both the Senate and House, including as Senate President. Sen. Bennett currently serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Government Oversight Committee. He is currently President and CEO of ValueEdge Advisors and has served on the boards of Maine Conservation Voters, Maine Heritage Policy Center, and Hebron Academy.
Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy. Mariel is New Energy Economy’s chief strategist — she develops NEE’s campaigns and leads its legal interventions before the state’s Public Regulation Commission and New Mexico Supreme Court. A civil rights and criminal defense attorney, she is licensed to practice in both the state and federal courts. Legal cases she has won and settled have been featured in the major media, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican, and on many television stations, including a documentary, “End of the Nightstick,” on PBS.
Jean Su, Energy Justice Director, Center for Biological Diversity. Jean Su oversees and develops the Energy Justice program’s campaigns, dedicated to hastening the clean, democratic energy future so urgently needed to protect wildlife, communities and the climate. Jean also works to challenge wall construction in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and serves on the boards of Climate Action Network International and SustainUS. Before joining the Center, she worked as a renewable energy project finance attorney and in the climate change and international development fields in Africa and Asia.
John Farrell, Co-Director and Director of Energy Democracy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance. John Farrell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its work on energy democracy. John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.
Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Stacy is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiative to decentralize economic power and level the playing field for independent businesses. She has produced many influential reports and articles, designed local and federal policies, and collaborated to build effective coalitions and campaigns.
Join us for this important webinar. Sorry for the last minute reminder, but we did post an announcement about this over a week ago. REGISTER HERE.
State Dems in Crisis, Badly Need Signatures By Feb 1 to Qualify for the Ballot
Imagine a Roundhouse solidly controlled by the GOP, rolling back all gains made in the last four years (including abortion decriminalization). Imagine not one Yvette Herrell representing NM, but 3, and now imagine a GOP Secretary of State and Attorney General charged with safeguarding our elections. Frightening enough scenario to get your attention? If Democrats are not able to collect sufficient numbers of petitions, they will not appear on the ballot and in COVID times, signature collection is challenging. But there are easy ways you can help. Click here to find petitions for all Dem. candidates for statewide office. At this link you can also put in your zip code and find an event like those below near you and drop off your signature page.
Certainly it would be great if you collected more Dem signatures than just from your household, but every little bit helps. And from what I hear, the situation is pretty desperate. So pitch in and at minimum, get your household all signed up and return the page to an event near you…and soon. Deadline is looming.
- Weds., Jan 26, 4 – 8 pm, Santa Fe Democrats, Lend Us Your Signatures! Santa Fe Spirits Downtown Tasting Room, 308 Read Street, Santa Fe.
- Sat., Jan. 22, 1 3pm, outdoors at Bathtub Row Co-op, 163 Central Park Square, Los Alamos, the Democratic Party of Los Alamos County will host a last push for petition signatures for statewide candidates. Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver are special guests, and more are expected to come! If you can (and have not already), please bring four $5 bills to donate to our uncontested statewide judges so they can qualify for public financing. MASKS REQUIRED. Click here to RSVP.
- Click here to find petitions for all Dem. candidates statewide. You can download and print petition forms, sign them, and either mail them as directed or bring them to the Jan. 22 or 26 event. Or at this link you can put in your zip code and find an event near by.
Well, we are off and running! MLG wants us to think big and transformative and we are all for that. But big and bold must be informed by reality and research, not by the availability of federal funds, luring us down dark alleys where our investments will be lost. Here, I am referencing MLG’s Hydrogen Hub initiative. Below we examine another climate bill, HB 6 Clean Future Act, which has much to be applauded, as the Sierra Club has noted in their bill summary:
The Clean Future Act sets very ambitious requirements for cutting New Mexico’s climate change contributions, requiring the direct reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in NM from 2005 levels by 50% by 2030 and at least 90% by 2050. Given that New Mexico’s carbon emissions have increased since the 2005 baseline, this would represent a 64% reduction by 2030 from current carbon pollution levels.
To achieve these emissions cuts, New Mexico’s economy will have to begin a fundamental transformation to clean energy and away from fossil fuels. Gridlab’s recent report shows that to reach the 2030 limit alone, New Mexico would have to achieve targets in the range of:
95% emissions reduction from current levels in the power sector
Over 90% reductions from current levels in upstream oil and gas methane emissions
At least 55% of new passenger vehicle sales would need to be electric
20-30% emissions reductions from commercial and residential buildings from current levels
70% of new furnace and water heater sales must be electricCamilla Feibelman, Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club
These do indeed feel like grand goals, but problems with the bill lurk at every turn.
To begin, while the 2030 goals cited by Sierra Club would measure “direct emissions” (i.e. real ones, not “net emissions”) the 2050 goal reflects “net emissions” and the bill is full of language about offsets that can be used to cancel out “direct emissions” to achieve “net emissions.”
Secondly, it isn’t until 2025 that the law would start the rules-setting process which would define how the Act would be enforced:
No later than June 30, 2025, the department shall petition the environmental improvement board to promulgate rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from sources subject to the Air Quality Control Act.
Section 6, page 6 paragraph b
Without enforcement rules, it will be challenging for the state to require compliance from gas and oil, something the bill tacitly acknowledges below (and elsewhere).
Annually, by April 15, each state entity shall provide to the department of environment and the energy the current and projected future direct emissions of greenhouse gases, to the extent known, from sources or sectors within the state entity’s regulatory jurisdiction and the progress being made toward meeting the greenhouse gas emissions limits established in Section 3 of the Clean Future Act;
Note “to the extent known.” In other words, absent rules defining an enforcement process and penalties for failure to comply, we have lofty goals with nothing behind them.
I need to spend more time with this bill as it is clear that the devil is in the details. If there is anyone out there that would like to take a shot at analyzing the bill more closely than I have, please write to RetakeResponse@gmail.com. ASAP. But for now, I have too many questions to be able to support or oppose this bill and while I am somewhat reassured by Sierra Club’s rosy analysis, the lack of any enforcement provisions is troubling. If the bill simply resulted in accurate data on emissions, it would likely be a bill worth supporting, but I question why the rule-making is not even begun until 2025.
When MLG wants something done, she is not slow to act. Note how quickly she developed agreements with the labs on hydrogen hub research, penning agreements before her hydrogen legislation was even introduced. So, if the Clean Future Act is designed to set and meet some very ambitious goals, why allow delay until 2025 for rule setting to even begin? Troubling.
Click here to get the full bill language.
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne