Spring 2020 Newsletter

New Mexico’s Progress on Climate

By: Molly Taylor, Deputy Director of Programs

CVNM Education Fund is partnering with communities to push leaders at all levels of state government to stabilize our budget, ensure a fairer economy, and advocate for clean air, land, and water. We are focused on the full implementation of environmental laws and strong administrative standards that protect our air, land, water and communities. Here’s a snapshot of our work:

Renewable energy:

Passed in 2019, the Energy Transition Act (ETA) created a bold and strong renewable energy standard for New Mexico that calls for 100% carbon-free energy by 2045. This was a historic moment for our state in addressing the climate crisis head on.

On April 1, 2020, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approved the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) request to abandon or exit the San Juan Generating Station, and use low-interest bonds through the Energy Transition Act (ETA) to finance its remaining investment in the plant. The Commission voted unanimously to approve both the abandonment and financing orders.

Right now, the PRC is deliberating and deciding on how to replace the power that was produced by the plant. This is a critical juncture for the ETA because it will determine how the SJGS closure moves forward, and if PNM (our state’s largest utility) invests deeply in renewable energy in the coming years.

We want to express gratitude for the many of you that have contacted the PRC and submitted public comments in support of strong renewable energy investments. Recently, we also hand delivered nearly 300 public comments from conservation voters like you to the PRC calling for strict implementation of the Energy Transition Act. We will continue to monitor the PRC in the coming weeks and will keep you informed about ways to engage as this moves forward.

Cutting methane pollution:

With your help, we have been advocating to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry by supporting the state’s efforts to adopt a methane capture rule. Methane is a super pollutant that is an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—in terms of both climate change and the quality of the air we breathe. Methane escapes with carcinogens like benzene and other toxic air pollutants like volatile organic compounds that contribute to smog formation. That means when methane is leaked, vented and flared into our air, it can spike asthma attacks and cancer rates.

Last summer, the Lujan Grisham administration launched a public engagement process to begin designing a draft methane rule. Since then, a state advisory group was formed, called the Methane Advisory Panel (MAP). The MAP held regular meetings to explore potential aspects of a draft methane rule, and produced a report summarizing different recommendations. This report will help inform a draft rulemaking, which will have public engagement opportunities in the coming months. CVNM Education Fund continues to be deeply engaged in this work and will keep you informed about the best ways for you to get involved.

Stay up to date on all of our advocacy work by signing up for our email alerts or visiting our website at www.CVNMEF.org.

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