While we are writing our response to PNM's appellate brief, the Albuquerque Journal published this article reporting that the PNM Avangrid merger is alive and kicking, confirming that the company is likely to refile their merger application once the Governor's handpicked PRC members have been appointed. They are seeking to circumvent the elected regulators who already ruled that this merger is not in the public interest based on substantial evidence that the company argues should be simply ignored. We think not.
FIRST, DO NO HARM
ASK THE FOREST SERVICE FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH PRESCRIBED BURNS IN THE SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST
Many of us are horrified at the actions of the Forest Service on these windiest of days. There were urgent warnings of dangerous wind from several weather stations, yet they ignited the Las Dispensas prescribed burn anyway. Predictably, their prescribed fire went out of control. The Hermits Peak Fire has burned 140,000 acres and released at least 34,000 tons of CO2, so far. Remember the Cerro Grande fire. Now, our glorious Pecos Wilderness is in danger and the fire is uncontrollable. And now we learn that on the same windiest of days, the Bureau of Land Management ignited a prescribed fire near Roswell called the Overflow Fire. It also got out of control. They call it a wildfire, blaming nature for their actions, and we, the public have lost another two thousand acres of carbon storage. This fire emitted 9,139 tons of carbon, and that was just in the first 2 days.
Remember when 5000 people wrote comments opposing the Santa Fe Resiliency Project proposed for the Santa Fe National Forest? Most of the comments requested an environmental impact statement (EIS) for such a huge project. The law requires the Forest Service to do an EIS if there is controversy or if there will be significant impact from the project. That 5000 people wrote comments opposing the project suggests controversy. Yet the Forest Service discounted most of the official comments and refused to do the required EIS. The Forest Service should not be above the law. The Forest Service claims there will be no significant impact from their thinning 90+% of the trees on 18,000 acres and then burning 38,000 acres in the project area between Tesuque and Glorieta. No significant impact? How can anyone say there will be no significant impact from burning 38,000 acres?
If you objected to the Santa Fe Resiliency Project during the scoping period, you may send comments now. Objections, including attachments, must be filed by May 12, 2022 via mail to Regional Forester, 333 Broadway SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102; by fax to 505-842-3173; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WE ALL NEED SOME INSPIRATION RIGHT NOW
The beautiful film Youth v Gov, now streaming on Netflix, tells the story of the Juliana v. The United States of America constitutional lawsuit and the 21 American youth, ages 14 to 25, who are taking on the world’s most powerful government. Since 2015, the legal non-profit Our Children’s Trust, has been representing these youth in their landmark case against the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, personal safety, and property through their willful actions in creating the climate crisis they will inherit.
This heartbreaking fight for justice is the kind of inspiration we all need right now.
We know that climate changed and is changing, this is our work every day, and even we are shocked by the fact that the fires have burned such a huge part of Northern New Mexico, forests that will never return, in one instant gone. We are fragile. Life is on fire!