The clean energy revolution has arrived and … it is complicated. New Mexico is now the third state to pass a 1
But that does not mean everyone is happy with it. Some indigenous grassroots groups feel that the voices of the Navajo and Pueblo closest to the state's fossil fuel infrastructure, including in the northwest corner of the state, were not properly consulted during their preparation.
The Energy Transition Act passed the State Senate last week, and the State House passed the bill earlier this week. It is exactly in line with Grisham's promise from 2018 that New Mexico should become a leader in clean energy. The new standard of the government's renewable energy portfolio calls for 40 percent renewable energy by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and at least 80 percent by 2050. These targets are consistent with the other two states, California and Hawaii, with 100 percent clean energy.
This is a dramatic change of course for the state, which from 2019 will be the third largest oil producer in the US. In fact, oil production in New Mexico reached a record high of nearly 100 percent. According to the Albuquerque Journal last year, it was 246 million barrels – an increase of 42 percent over 2017. The country's natural gas production also increased by 13 percent.
In particular, the coming energy transition will be a big deal for the indigenous communities of the state. Many of them – from various Navajo chapters to various pueblos – live near the oil and gas wells, and there are concerns about a variety of adverse health effects. On the other hand, some profit financially from fossil fuels because they have sold their land to oil and gas companies to get a paycheck every month.
Democratic New Mexico legislator Nathan Small, who co-funded the bill, told Earther that officials had consulted with the executive leadership of the Navajo nation and some of the 19 Pueblo tribes at least 15 months before the bill was even written. He offered no exact names or dates.
But not all aborigines feel that their voices or concerns have been heard regarding the bill. In February, a coalition of more than 60 groups and individuals, including Native Indians groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network and Earth of Honor, sent a letter to the government of Grisham and state legislators outlining their concerns.
These concerns included concerns over the lack of resources to rehabilitate areas historically affected by fossil fuel development and to carry out health assessments in some local communities that deal with the pollution caused by this industry. Although the law provides for $ 30 million each for the renovation of formworks, but does not mention whether these funds could flow into the environment.
The group has also spoken out with the fact that the law does not explicitly say "no nuclear power". He says, however, that renewable energy resources do not "include electrical energy generated by the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy."
Another topic addressed by the indigenous coalition – also a local environmental group, the New Energy Economy, which supported the coalition, means that the law of every power generation plant abandoned as a result of this transition will cost up to US $ 375 million. Allocates dollars.
In New Mexico, the disputes facility is the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant that must be shut down by 2023, according to Bill. New Energy Economy has equated this part of the bill with a "bailout" for the plant and its utility, the Public Service Company of New Mexico or PNM. The indigenous coalition asked the state to force PNM to share the costs of decommissioning. The bill does not seem to require anything like that, but instead lays the millions of dollars in dollars to taxpayers.
Kim Smith, a Diné woman who is a New Energy Economy employee who signed the letter. He told Earther that no "local grassroots" had been consulted, and that if any law enforcement officers, such as possibly Navajo's former president, Russell Begaye, were actually consulted, they would not report to the captain. And they should have it, Smith said.
"These affected communities have chapters, villages," Smith told Earther. "There are officials in these villages who represent these villages, and to my knowledge none of them were questioned."
In short, there is dissatisfaction with the state of tribal consultations. There are also disagreements regarding the merits of the bill between local elected officials and some tribal leaders. For example, a leading national leadership such as Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez does not support the law, but Shiprock Chapter President Duane Yazzie does not.
This reminds us that Aborigines are not monoliths but have different opinions about energy – especially in New Mexico. It also reminds us of the tricky relationships that many indigenous people have with industry because their members often benefit financially through land lease and employment, but development also threatens sacred sites (and their health).
Small is aware of this consultation efforts could have been better. [19459028DerdemokratischeStaatssenatorJacobCandelariaexplicitlyinpublichearthoftheCommissionconference
"There is always a need for space and learning to get closer cooperation and cooperation with different stakeholders, especially sovereign tribes," Small told Earther. "There is always room for more conversation."
Here is another problem: While this soon-to-be law will draw all the energy consumed within the state from clean energy sources by 2045, it does not prevent the state from produce oil and gas, then export elsewhere. As stated by the Energy Information Administration, less than one fifth of natural gas is consumed there. Most of it goes to Arizona.
"Without limiting fossil fuel production, all climate change goals are meaningless," said Rebecca Sobel, the lead climate and energy activist of the environmental organization WildEarth Guardians, on Earther. "We will support all steps towards renewable energy, but New Mexico is the No. 3 oil and gas producer in the nation. Without tackling the promotion and production of fossil fuels, we do not seek a real solution to climate change. "
Nobody said it would be easy to solve climate change. New Mexico has definitely taken a step in the right direction, but the state could perhaps be more just to avoid this drama altogether. After all, a process that skips the consultation of the community is anything but a fair transition.
"This is not just an indigenous problem," Smith said. "It is a problem of humanity. In terms of climate change, we are at a crucial point. "