Today ProgressNow New Mexico sent out an email to our members with some hard truths. The Economic Transition Act is an incredible tool for our state and for the communities most affected by the inevitable end of fossil fuel production in our state. We, along with dozens of other partners, are fully encouraging everyone to get behind this effort keep moving New Mexico’s energy future forward.
Subject: We need to talk…
With a new Governor, enthusiastic new State House representatives, and progressive advocates with eight years of pent-up demand, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, a lot, actually, and that’s why we need to talk.
We’ll be blunt. A progressive ally, New Energy Economy (NEE), is letting their zealous hostility toward PNM stand in the way of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce climate change impacts in New Mexico and provide economic relief to coal miners in the Four Corners area.
As you’ve probably heard, ProgressNow New Mexico has proudly joined a diverse coalition of progressives backing the Energy Transition Act. This coalition represents the best of the best in our corner of the universe, In addition to our organizations, this bill has been endorsed by AFSCME, the New Mexico Federation of Labor, CAFE, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Conservation Voters New Mexico, Environment New Mexico, Sierra Club, NRDC, Amigos Bravos, Western Resource Advocates, 350.org, Southwest Native Cultures, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and many more. And of course, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is championing this effort.
But the biggest opponent thus far to winning the country’s toughest clean energy standards and setting up the Four Corners area for economic success is New Energy Economy, which has aligned with several Republicans to oppose this bill.
We know that many of you on this list are also supporters of NEE, and for good reason. NEE has done great work on clean energy and environmental issues. But on this bill, in our opinion, NEE is just wrong. On this bill, NEE seems to have lost their focus on the transition to a clean economy and replaced it with the mentality that utilities must be punished at all costs. We see this a lot in the environmental sector. For most of us, the goal is economic justice, carbon reduction, clean energy, and slowing down climate change. The reality is that many of New Mexico’s working families have relied on the coal industry, and as our state transitions away from coal, we must do right by these families, which is exactly what the Energy Transition Act does. But for New Energy Economy, it seems like the goal has become to destroy PNM at all costs, regardless of what else is at stake–even a transition to clean, renewable energy and helping miners in the Four Corners.
We may choose to disagree, and that is fine. But before you believe NEE’s misrepresentations, please check out the facts. We have an opportunity to do something great with this alliance of organizations and Governor Lujan Grisham.
Stephanie Maez, ProgressNow New Mexico
Brian Condit, New Mexico Building Trades
Oriana Sandoval, Center for Civic Policy
And yesterday, we sent out this email with some important information about the Economic Transition Act.
Subject: Shutting down coal plants means we must protect workers
You’ll be hearing a lot about the Energy Transition Act (SB 489) in the coming days. This bill, sponsored by Senators Mimi Stewart and Jacob Candelaria and Representative Nathan Small, is also Governor Lujan Grisham’s top clean energy priority.
It does what all of us have wanted to do for years, and what climate change demands: it shuts down the San Juan Generating Station, a major coal plant and carbon producer just outside of Farmington, New Mexico.
But when coal plants shut down, people suffer. Mine workers and their families. Small businesses in the Four Corners area that rely upon those mine workers or that provide services related to the plant suffer. The Farmington School District, which relies upon property tax revenue from the plant to fund public schools, will suffer.
The Energy Transition Act provides $40 million to assist workers directly and to assist the area with economic development. The bill also directs hundreds of millions of dollars of replacement power to be sited within the school district boundary so schools can continue to rely upon property tax revenue from energy development.
We are proud to stand with Governor Lujan Grisham, Senators Stewart and Candelaria, Representative Small, and a broad and diverse coalition of labor unions, environmental organizations, advocates for low-income families, and community organizing groups in support of the Energy Transition Act.
I hope you’ll join us in supporting SB 489, the Energy Transition Act, so we can move New Mexico aggressively forward on clean energy and worker protection.
Stephanie Maez, ProgressNow New Mexico
It’s not always easy doing the right thing but ProgressNow New Mexico and our partners are dedicated to moving progressive policy forward in the state that is both inclusive and bold.