Last week we filed a joint post-hearing brief with the Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy, Prosperity Works and the Sierra Club detailing our objection to PNM's unilateral and illegal plan to charge ratepayers $150M for San Juan Generating Station costs AFTER the plant is no longer operational. This would amount to a double-recovery, charging ratepayers for the same costs PNM will get from issuing ETA bonds. The governing document, the financing order, required PNM to adjust rates at the time of San Juan abandonment. PNM is balking. All parties are asking the Commission to require PNM to provide the promised rate adjustment immediately upon abandonment. The cost of PNM's decision to delay issuing the rate adjustment would fall on customers, to the benefit of PNM’s shareholders. PNM’s creation of a moral hazard created the need for the Commission to order the rate credit immediately upon abandonment rather than accommodate PNM's delay. Read more:
Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry never stops trying to silence the people in their quest for more profits. In Valencia County and at the upcoming Legislative Finance Committee Interim Hearing about hydrogen, decision makers in New Mexico have tried to silence the people as they push through their fossil fuel agenda. Join us to call for transparency and public input!
LEGISLATIVE FINANCE COMMITTEE INTERIM HEARING JUNE 15TH TO FOCUS ON HYDROGEN DEVELOPMENT
WE CALL FOR PUBLIC COMMENT AND WEBCAST TO BE ALLOWED
The agenda for the Legislative Finance Interim Committee hearing on June 15th at the retired Escalante coal plant in Prewitt includes the following gems:
Tallgrass Energy presents the company's plans for converting the retired coal-fired power plant into a "clean" hydrogen-fired power generating facility
Goals and Plans of the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub Agreement
Hydrogen Market Outlook and Development of Adjacent Industries
NMED Secretary James Kenney on emissions standards, produced water and other byproducts of hydrogen fuel and groundwater contamination concerns.
The problem?? All of these presentations ignore the science. Hydrogen produced from methane gas results in MORE CLIMATE CHANGING EMISSIONS than simply burning the gas directly for heat or power. Read one-pager with facts about hydrogen and the 100% renewable energy alternative for NM here.
Who is behind this well-financed propaganda machine? The Hydrogen Council, a group established by British Petroleum, Shell and other oil and gas majors specifically to promote hydrogen because it cleverly masquerades as a climate solution while prolonging the market for their dirty fossil fuel products. Our own Governor and her administration, including the Environment Department that is supposed to be safeguarding our air, land and water, have swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker.
In their "wisdom" our legislature has decided that interim committee hearings will be held in person this year, with no zoom participation allowed, and as of now there is no public comment on the agenda. We are asking everyone to write an email addressed to the Committee Chair and other committee members, either individually or as a group, requesting that:
The meeting in Prewitt on June 15th be webcast for public view and
Public comment be added to the agenda.
OPPOSE FRACKING IN VALENCIA JULY 14TH
On May 4th the Valencia County Commission passed a “Natural Resources Overlay Zone” that would allow for oil and gas drilling and fracking in Valencia County. Harvey Yates, the oil and gas baron and former chair of the Republican party in NM, who was the primary donor to two of the county commissioners and already owns 75 acres in the county, is widely suspected of engineering this long term scheme to exploit the potential fossil fuel resources in Valencia.
Community members received belated notice of a pending June 1st decision to repeal and vote again on the ordinance after it was discovered that the County had not properly informed the public before its May vote. Our friend Anni reports from the June 1st meeting:
Valencia residents and Valencia Water Watchers showed up in force last night to say NO fracking and NO to oil and gas billionaire, eighty year old Harvey Yates who wants to drill. Drilling in this valley, even exploratory drilling, is a huge risk to the fresh water in our aquifer as oil & gas and the "produced water" used to frack for oil & gas can seep through the fault lines and into the fresh water aquifer that we all drink from. ALL speakers were opposed to the overlay ordinance, speaking on drought, protecting farmers and Acequias, watershed protection, chemical and air pollution, health impacts, heavy industry traffic, Pueblo water rights holders and Free, Prior and Informed Consent and future generations. So many people showed up, there was overflow seating, and not one person supported the ordinance. With this community pushback, the county Commission set July 14th for a public hearing at a larger venue.
Organizing is crucial! July 14th is very important to show solidarity and to hear from youth and Pueblo members as well. The meeting on July 14th will take place at the Los Lunas Transportation Center at 5:00PM. The plan is for primarily local residents to speak, but we are looking for a large crowd to show up in solidarity. We defeated drilling in Sandoval County and we can do the same in Valencia!
For more background on the issue: