This afternoon on Zoom we met with 25 statewide climate justice activists/organizations to strategize around HB 227, the new Hydrogen Hub bill, and the obvious willingness of Dem. leadership to do ANYTHING to pass Hydrogen legislation. We share their views along with our collective assessment of the most recent stunning news that HB 227 may be pulled.
Speaker Egolf Announces HB 227 Will Not Be Heard Tomorrow
I received a text on Sunday from Speaker Egolf shortly before a 3pm Zoom with activists statewide, telling me that HB 227 would not be heard in HAFC today after all. While this was marginally reassuring, it is obvious that the Hub is too important to the Governor for this to just quietly disappear.
Then as I was writing this blog, Speaker Egolf called to update me about the status of all things hydrogen. He told me that bill sponsors are meeting with a coalition of environmental groups, to try to achieve a consensus on the bill, and that unless and until a consensus is achieved, no Hydrogen Hub legislation will be reintroduced. He stated that he can’t speak for other legislators who could introduce their own “dummy bill,” so we need to remain vigilant
He also told me that even if we do not pass Hydrogen Hub legislation, he felt it was important to pass legislation that can regulate the hydrogen development that is already ongoing. He cited Bayotech, Inc., which he said is operating in Albuquerque and produces grey hydrogen that is about the dirtiest hydrogen imaginable. He noted that the state has no regulations defining what hydrogen is allowed in NM and that without those regulations there will be four more Bayotechs in NM within a year, as natural gas is so cheap here and no regulations exist.
In sum, the Speaker indicated that he hopes environmental groups can come together to pass regulations for hydrogen to protect against proliferation of dirty hydrogen, even if Hub legislation is never passed.
I want to thank the Speaker for reaching out with this information, and for putting the brakes on HB 227.
Activists Weigh In On Hydrogen Strategy
Our Sunday afternoon strategy Zoom included many activists from indigenous communities and others from around the state. Their conclusions offer an interesting contrast with the perspective shared by the Speaker. The almost universal perspective was that:
- Despite HB2 27 appearing to be dead, at least for now, some other form of the bill could surface and it is worthwhile educating your legislators so they are well grounded in the limitations to the technology, in whatever bill it might appear. Here is a link to our summary on the Hydrogen Hub, which remains a good summary to inform yourself and your legislators. And here is a link to the Senate and House Committee rosters, with email and phone numbers for all members.
- They also noted that SB 194 Additional Energy Acts Definitions will be heard on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Senate Conservation. SB 194 is a bill that would define hydrogen as a renewable energy source, amending the Rural Electric Cooperative Act and the Renewable Energy Act to incorporate that definition. Find info about that hearing in our Saturday Alert at this link.
- Most felt this has been a brutal session and that legislators are being pulled in all directions, working under immense stress, and that our communication with them should acknowledge that. We agree strongly. Please contact your legislators to thank them for their work.
- Finally, they feel that any hydrogen bill that passes would trigger the $150M allocation for hydrogen production that is tucked into the budget HB2, and they feel we need to be ever vigilant.
- Tomorrow there will be a press conference at noon on the east side of the Roundhouse, centering the environmental concerns of youth and impacted communities. You are encouraged to attend.
We do need to remain vigilant, as while the Speaker indicated he would not reintroduce Hydrogen Hub legislation unless and until consensus with environmental groups is achieved, he didn’t preclude other legislators from doing so. So Retake and our allies will remain vigilant. But I think we want to remain receptive to legislation that could curb the growth of more grey hydrogen, while ensuring the legislation has language that states clearly it would not trigger the $150M funding for hydrogen production in the budget bill, HB 2.
We are done for the day. I hope this clarifies a situation that is as clear as mud.
In solidarity & hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Legislator contact info. organized by committees
Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation