Comprehensive Needs Assessment, Cleaning Up the
Toxic Mess of the Extractive Economy, and Reparations
The energy tide is turning. The moment for a just transition to renewable energy is upon us and HOW we transition matters. We are making the case for systems change and to a transition that builds upon and advances long-standing traditions of environmental and economic justice struggles in our state.
Our work for the just transition provides the opportunity to radically redesign our state’s economy and our “democracy”– from an energy colony based on extraction and undue corporate influence to a regenerative economy, governed by and for the people – with justice and equity at the center. The energy crossroads at which we stand is not just about fossil fuels or renewables but about who controls the process, who owns the resources, who benefits, and who bears the costs.
We know that in the current model, the utility has been reaping the benefits –extracting enormous profit from the land and the people of New Mexico. The costs of extraction have been disproportionately borne by Diné people whose land has labeled a national “sacrifice
zone”and whose health and lives have been sacrificed due to the high levels of heart disease, cancer, asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and other diseases brought on by exposure to the pollution of coal, gas, oil, and nuclear extraction as well as the stress of intergenerational trauma.
The costs of are also disproportionately borne by the poorest households in New Mexican who have seen their rates rise by 63% over the last decade and who exist in a state of energy poverty –paying as much as 50.2% of household income on energy costs. New Mexicans in general have also paid a heavy price –in addition to the ever present threat of severe drought and catastrophic wildfires, our rivers are contaminated with mercury and arsenic, our state is home to the largest methane hotspot in the US – a 2,500 square-mile methane cloud that hovers over the communities in the four corners. We have paid hundreds of millions in public health costs. But we have also paid in a different, more insidious way. New Mexico’s relationship to our monopoly utilities and the extractive industries has corrupted our state’s democracy.
Our work to Advance a
Just Transition for New Mexico
Health Impact Assessment (HIA)
Our Health Impact Assessment (HIA) will analyze the long-term health consequences of the San Juan Generating Station and mine on workers and residents in order to consider the ways that the scheduled 2022 Coal plant closure could positively affect the health of communities in the impacted Four Corners region.
The HIA will engage community members through a robust survey process to identify their concerns and needs in the face of the eminent closure. The surveys, being collected the summer and fall of 2019, will be used to advocate for appropriate, community-driven transition planning processes.
Learn more about our work in the Four Corners region to address generational impacts on the people and land stemming from decades of coal plant operations.
A Just Transition to renewable energy means rectifying social inequity, invigorating our democracy, and fostering economic and environmental justice.
Clean Up the Toxic Mess
New Energy Economy will investigate using the most cutting edge scientific methods to determine the public health impacts that stem from 50 years of coal operation. We will analyze currently unknown factors, including, what impacts to our environment and life continue to result from tens of millions of tons of coal ash buried just below the surface at the San Juan Generating Station mine.
Our research will be coupled by NEE's expert legal analysis to create truly beneficial outcomes for New Mexicans as we undertake the biggest, most important case in our organization’s history – the San Juan Generating Station Abandonment case which will be heard before the Public Regulation Commission. After 50 years of pouring toxins into the environment and into the lungs and bodies of local residents, HOW we transition away from a fossil fuel economy is vitally important.