Why Are Some NM Lawmakers Trying to Dismantle the ETA?

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ProgressNow
 New Mexico
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You ever do that thing where you finish a project and stand back and maybe it’s not perfect but it’s good and it’s what you needed… and then you go and mess it up? Add a little too much frosting to that birthday cake, a few too many branches trimmed off that tree, completely dismantling one of the key portions of your state’s landmark energy bills?

Yeah we hate when that happens.

So we’re a little confused why some lawmakers are headed to Santa Fe next week looking to screw up the Energy Transition Act. We saw their letters in state newspapers last week and spent some time looking at what they’re claiming and we just can’t figure it out. The main thrust of their argument seems to come from the failed argument New Energy Economy tried in their litany of litigation over the last couple years, incorrectly applying a rule (31C if you’re interested) that the courts and PRC have said are “misplaced.”

“NEE’s reliance on Section 31 (C) is misplaced. Section 31(C) addresses the result under the Renewable Energy Act of a special Commission order requiring the discontinuance of service by an electric generation facility if the Commission orders a utility to acquire a replacement resource with less or zero carbon dioxide emissions.”  NMPRC Case No. 19-00018, Recommended Decision on Financing, p. 95 (issued February 21, 2020).  Section 31(C) states that this is something that the Commission “may” require.  It is discretionary, granting additional authority to the Commission that it did not previously have under the Public Utility or Renewable Energy Acts.

The ETA has already made monumental shifts for New Mexico’s energy future. It’s telling that the main opponents of the bill are all oil and gas and coal lobbyists, well and then the aforementioned group who continue to struggle with the idea of progress not perfection. There’s nothing more that Koch-funded Power the Future or Hilcorp backed NMOGA wants than to see the ETA stripped of it’s key parts. We have to question the motives of anyone pushing that agenda.

We’re sure our legislators have our best interests at heart. The ETA is complicated but it has already proven that it works. The San Juan Generating Station is closing and being replaced with solar arrays with battery backup. The transition funding to help San Juan County transition and develop new economic drivers is imperative and the proposed  changes could negatively effect that. The people of San Juan County should not suffer because of the political backpedaling of a few Santa Fe elites.

Meanwhile, New Mexico ratepayers have already been SAVING money because of the ETA. So, yeah, that whole argument is bunk too.

There’s a reason we supported having a more professional Public Regulation Commission and there’s a reason we continue to support the ETA. Properly implemented, the ETA has been and will continue to be the backbone of New Mexico’s renewable energy future and it’s disheartening to see that some are already so quick to try and “fix” it when it ain’t broken. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail.

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Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
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Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
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Marianna Anaya :: Deputy Director
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Marianna oversees strategic messaging and creative implementation tactics for issue-based and political campaigns. She leads the team’s digital and earned media programs, bringing a New Mexico values-based approach to her work. 

Marianna’s background includes race and ethnic studies in education as a focus at UT Austin and UCLA, political campaign work, staffing former Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as leading organizing and communications work for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

  • She currently serves as the Board President of Emerge NM. 
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Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
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Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

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Josette Arvizu :: Communications Director
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Josette Arvizu is the Communications Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
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Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
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Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
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Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
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  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009