Time for Meaningful Environmental Legislation in NM: Local Choice Energy & Green Amendment. Supreme Court Rejects Petition to Invalidate PRC Amendment… Zoom problem solved!

Today, we’ll report briefly on the Supreme Court hearing this past Monday and on the PRC Commissioner nomination process, as well as offer info on two important pieces of environmental legislation that Retake is supporting.

Before we dive in, we got several reports of people not being able to register, for our huddle Nov 30th. And for some of those who did register many were unable to join the meeting. We have identified the problem. Zoom, in its unending effort to ensure Zoom meetings and webinars are not subject to unwanted antagonists invading and disrupting a zoom, made changes to the registration process. The new process forces us to either require your use of a password to enter–something we’d like to avoid, or to use a ‘waiting room’ system that requires the hosts to admit attendees– a pain for us, but doable. Knowing the new rules will allow us to ensure smoother registration process going forward. Sorry for the inconvenience and apologies to those who were unable to attend our kickoff zoom. The good news is, we recorded it. The better news is we fixed the problem for future huddles.

Click here to view the recording of the huddle.

Supreme Court Shockingly Says NO to Indigenous Petitioners on Constitutional Amendment

Our last Saturday post offered a thorough discussion of the petition and the reasons it was so important. The courtroom was jammed with supporters of the petition. And throughout the hearing it appeared the justices were singularly and collectively unimpressed with the arguments offered by attorneys for the Governor’s office and the AG’s office, with the AG argument so weak it elicited laughter from the audience and incredulity from the justices. The justices also seemed impressed by arguments made by the attorney for the petitioners. So, after 45 minutes of deliberation, when the justices returned to render their verdict, I think all of us were anticipating a win. And yet, when the decision was rendered, the court rejected the petition, offering no hint of a reason, just stating a written opinion would follow. We will keep you posted, but this was an inexplicable decision, so we will be most interested in the written decision.

PRC Nomination Committee selects 9 candidates. Now It’s Up to the Governor, and…

I will say, that the process itself was reasonably, even exceptionally transparent with info on all candidates easily available at this site. The deliberations of the committee were very public and conducted fairly, amiably and in a bipartisan spirit. The final nine candidates are

  • Gabriel Aguilera
  • James Ellison
  • Carolyn Glick
  • Brian Moore
  • Patrick O’Connell
  • Arthur O’Donnell
  • Joseph Little
  • Amy Stein, and
  • Cholla Khoury

Of course, all of the fair process means little if the Gov selects the worst of those advanced. And so it is up to us, to let her know our views. Over the weekend, we will talk with partners to flesh out our candidate priorities. All but one of our preferred candidates were on the list sent to the Governor. But so were two of our absolutely not candidates. There is work to be done combing over the candidates before we recommend a slate, but trust we will have that you to Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Meaningful Environmental Legislation: 2023 Could Be the Year!

We have a huge $2B surplus, plus $2.5B already in reserves, so there is money to spend and the voters sent the legislature a clear message, approving the investment of more of the permanent funds in early childhood education by a whopping 70-30% margin and approving every bond measure on the ballot. Clearly the votes want to invest in our future and our communities. With solid Dem majorities in both chambers, this is the year to go bold and achieve much. We will preview new tax legislation, new gun violence legislation, and water, food and ag bills, and an abortion constitutional amendment as they emerge, but we have a preliminary list of bills we will support. To keep track, go to our NM Legislation page. We update it at least weekly. Today, we preview two bills important to protecting our environment. First Local Choice Energy.

Local Choice Energy, a Teaser Video & Zoominar info

Public Power & Local Choice Energy, Weds, Dec. 7, 6-7:30 pm. Via Zoom

The utility industry will come out with cries of the sky falling as passing Local Choice Energy will inject a healthy dose of choice for NM rate payers. Maybe if the Investor Owned Utilities had wanted loyal customers, they should have been better stewards of our energy and paid a bit more attention to rate payers than share holders. Now they are panicked cuz their customers could have a choice about from whom they get their electricity.

Learn more about the concept of public power and the exciting possibilities that result when a state passes Local Choice Energy legislation: lower local electricity rates, greater reliability, swifter transition to 100% renewables, and increased local revenues and jobs. Local Choice Energy has been successfully implemented in dozens of communities across the nation. Learn from a panel of state and national experts, including:

  • Senator Carrie Hamblen, who is sponsoring our legislation and who in addition to being a state Senator, is a long time environmental advocate and CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce;
  • Local Energy Aggregation Network Executive Director Alison Elliott, who will share with us how Local Choice Energy has been successfully implemented in over a dozen other states.
  • Local Clean Energy Alliance Energy Democracy Organizer Jessica Guadalupe Tovar, is an Energy Democracy Organizer with the Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA) and a longtime environmental justice organizer. She currently promotes equity in clean energy as the coordinator of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, which has advanced local clean energy solutions by establishing a Community Choice program; East Bay Community Energy, a public energy services provider agency that is now providing electricity for over 1.5 million people in Alameda County. LCEA is jumpstarting a just transition with a Local Development Business Plan–A Green New Deal for Alameda County with net revenues from East Bay Community Energy to advance clean energy programs and projects to build community energy resilience..
  • Public Power New Mexico Campaign Director Alysha Shaw, who will outline what Public Power NM is and how we are advancing legislation to create Local Choice Energy.

Click to register here. You must register to attend. This will be a very compelling d discussion.

If you want to learn more about Retake supported legislation and how to be effectively engaged in the legislative process, consider joining one of our zoom-based legislative huddles. The next huddle is Jan 4. For info and to register to attend go to our Actions & Events page and scroll down a bit. The huddle info appears right below our Zoominar info.

Green Amendment

The goal of the Green Amendments For The Generations is to advance a Green Amendment movement that sweeps the nation and secures for all people constitutional recognition and protection of their inalienable rights to pure water, clean air, a stable climate  and healthy environments.  They seek to inspire and support pursuit and passage of self-executing, environmental rights amendments in the Bill of Rights section of every state constitution across the U.S. and ultimately at the federal level.  Once accomplished, They will work with communities to ensure  strong and meaningful implementation and enforcement.

It is difficult to imagine a state under more environmental assaults:

  • Permian Basin;
  • Four Corners;
  • Holtec in Carlsbad;
  • Methane leaks wherever gas and oil operatives operate;
  • Plutonium Pits at Los Alamos;
  • Nearly daily produced water spills throughout NM
  • Drilling around Chaco
  • Asphalt plants in residential neighborhoods;
  • The Chino mine, an open-pit porphyry copper mine, 15 miles east of Silver City near the village of Hanover in southwestern New Mexico

Each of these operations threaten the environment and the health of those living nearby. The list could go on and on. Yet, New Mexicans have no constitutional rights to clean air, water or land. Three other states do: NY, PA and Montana. We need to be 4th.

Passing the Green Amendment will provide residents a legal remedy if the state or local governments are not protecting you from harms resulting from operations such as those above. The amendment would not make it possible to seek financial compensation for injuries or other harms, but can be used to force state or local government to use its powers to protect the land, water, air and you.

One of the challenges to passing the Green Amendment willl be vigorous opposition from utility, gas & oil, mining and nuclear industries who are accustomed to treating NM like a sacrifice zone in which they can amass profit. Those industries have little to fear from the Green Amendment if they behave responsibly, but that approach isn’t quite as profitable, so they will do all they can to disseminate misinformation about the collapse of industries, loss of jobs and loss of local and state revenues. To pass this legislation will take an extraordinary effort from all of us.

The Green Amendment coalition I’ve just rejoined, has been hard at work and is launching a state wide tour, visiting every corner of the state to build support for the amendment. To find out more about the Green Amendment, click here. Also, in the first week of January we will offer a Zoominar on the Green Amendment. Stay tuned. We can do this.

In solidarity & hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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6 replies

  1. Freeport Copper Mining is attempting to expand at its Tyrone Mine, southwest of Silver City. Called the Emma Pit Project, 3-5 years of digging a 600 feet deep pit with a left behind pit lake of Ph 1 acidic heavy metal mine waste water. Not good for neighbors sky, air and groundwater.


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