We are so grateful to all of you who stepped up to stop Senate Bill 47 in the Conservation Committee on Saturday. Your support in big and small ways is what made the difference. As you know the stakes are so high with this bill. We wish we could say that together we secured a definitive victory -- but the truth is PNM is desperate to get the bill passed - because they stand to gain so much, at our expense.
We are grateful that our elected officials raised the critical issues that deserve resolution, listened to the concerns of the people, and have thus far stood strong.
We've heard that PNM is relentlessly lobbying and is using their usual fear-mongering tactics in order to justify their attempt to circumvent the regulatory process and strip the PRC of its ability to impose public interest conditions (i.e. ratepayer protections) to the financing order. PNM is saying such protections would make the bonds "unmarketable".
Yet this is the standard for Regulation Commissions in states where bonding authority has been approved throughout the country. In 38 out of 50 securitization bond transactions across the U.S. since 2001, the state utility commission had the authority to require public interest conditions such as “lowest cost objective” or due diligence standards & use of an independent financial advisor to oversee and condition the bond transactions. Having these protections in place ensures that the utility secures the best available price for ratepayers under current market conditions & that the savings to customers exceed their fees. Hmmm....no wonder PNM is fighting them.
The three remaining issues in the bill that MUST be addressed in order for us to shift our position against it are:
1) The bill still strips the PRC of its ability to impose basic ratepayer protection standards on the bond transactions.
2) The bill grants PNM ownership of replacement power, regardless of the cost and allows them to select the energy supply, regardless of the legal standards of resource acquisition.
3) The bill inadequately addresses the needs of indigenous and local communities and workers whose health has been impacted by the plant for decades and now are impacted economically by its closure.
4) The bill allows PNM and its shareholders to recoup the costs of clean-up from ratepayers and evade their own responsibility for the toxic waste site they have created.
We will remain vigilant on this bill and keep you updated.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to educate New Mexicans about the risks and apply public pressure. In today's Reporter, the below ad will run.
Can you contribute $5 or $25 or $50 to help us defray the costs of the ad?
Investing in a Just Transition Means Trusting Those Who Are Most Directly Impacted to Lead:
As you know, New Energy Economy is deeply concerned about the process of transition. How do we move from an economy based on fossil fuels and extractive industry to renewables and sustainable businesses.
With support from the Con Alma Foundation, New Energy Economy has invested in the development of a Health Impact Assessment led by Dine organizers who are exploring with their community the impacts of the San Juan Coal Plant on people and the land - across generations and the collective vision for a just transition. This work is critical. It is led by and for the people and it will inform all of our legal and advocacy work in the next year as we approach the Abandonment case and other critical policy decision points.
Kim Smith and Makai Lewis are our organizers who are working to develop a community advisory council and who will be facilitating conversations with community members integrating food and ceremony over the next year in order to gather the stories, demands, and dreams of the community. Valerie Rangel, indigenous artist, educator, scholar and researcher is assisting with our HIA process.