VICTORY! Las Cruces City Council unanimously votes to go 100% renewable!

The City of Las Cruces has already taken big steps in recent years to be less dependent on energy originating from fossil fuels and grid energy transmitted from hundreds of miles away. Monday, the City Council took a step further by committing to a three-step process to become 100 percent powered by renewable energy by 2050. In the near term, the city will take quick steps to becoming 25 percent renewable by 2022, just five years from now. 

The resolution now binds the city to take specific steps to achieve the goals set forth in the timelines. Some of the options presented were for the city to make direct investments of photovoltaic (PV) systems and install them around city properties and buildings, create a public-private partnership with utilities to acquire renewable energy from combined on-site and off-site sources, or simply buy more renewable energy directly from existing utilities. The City of Las Cruces resolution comes after the City of Albuquerque has taken similar steps toward becoming less dependent on transmitted power.

I Am Still In – Stand with 194 Countries and Resist President Trump

On June 1st, President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. This decision threatens our security, our public health and welfare, our economic prosperity, and our clean energy industry, which supports millions of U.S. jobs. It threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink. It threatens our ecosystems and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable people on our planet. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement does not represent the will of the American people.

Thousands in NM immigrant community demand clean energy & green jobs from Gov. Martinez

Last week immigrant community members throughout New Mexico came together and submitted over 2,400 petitions to Gov. Martinez demanding she take action to protect the health and well being of their communities and increase renewable energy output in the state. The petition gathering was organized by Juntos: Our Air Our Water — a project of Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund — which organizes Latino communities to protect air and water and advocate for clean energy. From the Los Alamos Daily Post (emphasis added):
The petition gathering started early September after Juntos had conducted a survey, October 2015 through February 2016, which demonstrated that 89 percent of the surveyed families – mostly from the Latin immigrant community – expressed that their number one concern was the air quality and air pollution levels found in their communities. […]

The petitions recently turned in demand that the Martínez administration implement a strong plan to help our state transition to clean, renewable energy – specifically wind and solar energy – and creates more “green jobs”. Investments in renewable energy are investments in healthy families, and yet the Martinez administration continues to invest in dirty energy, despite its impact on New Mexicans’ air, land, water and health.

Alan Webber Delivers a Call to Action

2014 gubernatorial candidate Alan Webber excited progressive passions during last year’s campaign, even though he didn’t receive the Democratic nomination. Alan Webber’s voice was a breath of fresh air on the New Mexico political scene and he represented quite a threat to Governor Martinez’s failed agenda (the onslaught of ads and opposition research deployed by the Martinez machine during the Democratic primary is evidence of that). Martinez knew Webber represented a strong, progressive threat to her policies and thus did everything she could to quell his campaign in the early stages. Even though Mr. Webber lost his primary battle, he’s only become more active in the political scene since last year. Below is a recent email he sent to his supporters informing them about legislative goings-on and offering his own analysis of the problems and solutions New Mexicans are facing.

PNM to fine ratepayers with solar panels; Solar fines subsidize purchase of coal mine

New Mexico’s monopoly public power company  — PNM — has announced plans to fine residential solar power producers. It’s a move that would increase PNM’s profits ahead of another move to purchase one of the country’s largest coal mines, doubling down on PNM’s investment in dirty coal technology for decades to come. New Mexico’s monopoly public power company wants to buy a coal mine – and they just announced a new plan to fine residential solar producers to pay for it. Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) has reported more than $424 Million in income over the past four years and are expected to add another $20 million or more in this quarter alone. Apparently that windfall’s not enough, however, as PNM just announced an aggressive plan to raise rates and add new fines and fees to customers.

Sen. Udall Touts NM’s Renewable Energy Potential in All-Night Climate Change Session

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) participated in an all-night session — last night and into early this morning — with his colleagues from the Senate Climate Action Task Force to raise awareness about climate change and urge Congress to act on this critical issue. Senator Udall noted that New Mexico and the Southwest are “at the bull’s-eye when it comes to climate change” but also pointed to the fact that New Mexico is already focusing on solutions and is poised to be a major player in renewable energy development.

ICYMI: Highlights from Monday in the NM House

In case you weren’t glued to the webcasts or prowling the committee rooms in the Roundhouse yesterday, here are some highlights from the New Mexico House of Representatives for Monday, February 3, 2014:

House Highlights
Monday, February 3, 2014
On the Floor

House Bill 31 Affordable Housing Act Violations and Penalties, sponsored by Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-Taos-42) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 61-0.  HB 31 amends the Affordable Housing Act to allow the timely sale of foreclosed or failed affordable housing projects without retaining the long-term affordability restrictions.  HB31 also allows the recovery of Mortgage Finance Authority investments in foreclosed or failed projects.  In addition to allowing the Attorney General to investigate alleged violations of the Act, HB31 provides and enables the AG to pursue civil and/or criminal penalties.  HB 31 now heads to the Senate. House Bill 57 Tax Refunds for Senior Services, sponsored by Rep. Jim Trujillo (D-Santa Fe-45) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 62-0.  HB 57 provides for an optional designation for tax refund contributions and is directed to provide the supplemental funding to enhance or expand senior services throughout the state.  The refunds will be paid to the North Central Economic Development District which will disburse the proceeds to various senior services programs. HB 57 now heads to the Senate. In Committee

House Bill 19 Update School Finance At-Risk Index as amended; sponsored by Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela (D-Santa Fe-48) received a unanimous Do Pass in the House Education Committee. HB 19 amends the Public School Finance Act to appropriate $12 million from the General Fund [GF] to the State Equalization Guarantee [SEG] for expenditure in FY15 to provide services to improve educational outcomes for “at-risk” students.  Changes will take place to the funding formula in the 2015-16 school years.  The bill also implements increased reporting requirements for school districts and charter schools on how they use the increased at-risk funding to close the achievement gap and improve student outcomes.