New Mexico & New York make critical progress on climate

Apr 6, 2020

In these challenging times, our first priority is obviously the safety and health of our staff, supporters and volunteers and their communities. But at the same time, the climate crisis is not slowing down and neither are our efforts to combat it — and last week our Conservation Voter Movement partners and their allies secured two important victories.

Last Wednesday, the New Mexico Public Resource Commission (PRC) unanimously voted to shut down the San Juan Generating station — the state’s last remaining coal plant. That decision was driven by last year’s passage of the Energy Transition Act (ETA) — New Mexico’s law calling for 100% carbon free electricity by 2045. Included in the ETA and the PRC decision is nearly $40 million dollars to support economic transition in communities impacted by the plant’s closure.

Our friends at Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) have been engaged in the PRC process since last fall and organized around public hearings that were held in December and January. They also hand delivered hundreds of public comments to the PRC and conducted volunteer calls to members in support of the plant closure. CVNM and allies like the Native American Voters Alliance have spent the last few months conducting outreach and generating hundreds of comments to commissioners urging them to implement the strong goals of the ETA. CVNM is now thanking the PRC Commission for voting to close the plant and will continue to encourage them to support an all-renewable energy replacement power scenario in the coming days.

On Thursday, New York LCV and allies secured their own victory when reforms to New York’s renewable energy and transmission siting process were included in the state budget. The reform has been a top NYLCV priority for years and was praised by conservation allies, labor unions, environmental justice organizations and the real estate industry. Speeding up the process for starting wind and solar projects is critical to New York reaching its ambitious 70% renewables by 2030 goal included in last year’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. NYLCV and its broad coalition of allies had a sustained lobbying campaign in Albany, held a forum on the proposal at the State Capitol, ran ads in publications read by influencers, legislators and staff and issued an action alert resulting in 1,425 letters to the Governor and legislators. NYLCV and allies have launched a thank you campaign thanks Governor Cuomo and legislative allies for their leadership.

The continued progress state coalitions keep driving forward and the leadership many state and local leaders are providing in response to the coronavirus pandemic offers a hopeful contrast to the Trump administration’s ongoing failure to address either the global pandemic or the climate crisis.