Gov. Lujan Grisham, legislative leaders petition Supreme Court for emergency review of energy law
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and legislative sponsors of the 2019 Energy Transition Act on Monday afternoon petitioned the New Mexico Supreme Court for an emergency review, asking the Court to direct the Public Regulation Commission to apply the 2019 Energy Transition Act in cases filed after the ETA’s enactment. New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf, Sen. Jacob Candelaria, Sen. Mimi Stewart and Rep. Nathan Small were ETA co-sponsors and joined Monday’s petition; President Nez joined as a petitioner as well.
“The ETA is the law of the land,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “The Legislature passed it, I signed it, and it should be applied to all PRC filings made since the effective date. Unwarranted delays are hurting New Mexico workers and communities.”
The Energy Transition Act became law on June 14, 2019. On July 1, 2019, Public Service Company of New Mexico filed an application at the PRC – using procedures established by the ETA – to abandon, finance and replace the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. To date, the PRC has not applied the new law to all portions of the filing, creating uncertainty about how remaining debt on the plant will be paid and preventing crucial dollars from flowing to three community economic transition funds established by the ETA.
Today’s petition states, in part, this “purposeful inaction, in violation of the separation of powers doctrine and now extending nearly five months, has caused substantial and irreversible harm to the economies of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation… This harm is exacerbated each day that our state is perceived — as a result of the PRC’s inaction — as a risky and uncertain place to do business.”
“A green energy economy is at our fingertips. But instead, ratepayers, coal miners, plant workers and New Mexicans are in a standstill as the PRC steps outside its role by delaying implementation of the ETA — a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor,” said Speaker Egolf. “My hope is that the state Supreme Court will come to a quick and speedy judgment in resolving this matter so New Mexico can move forward in its transition to a cleaner more prosperous future.”
“The law only works if it is respected by every agency of government,” said Sen. Candelaria. “The Public Regulation Commission’s intentional obstruction of the law, and the clean energy future it promises to every person in this state, has already done enough damage to our state.”
“The ETA came about after a year’s work with our electric utilities, labor workforce, environmental groups and indigenous peoples,” said Sen. Stewart. “It’s past time for the PRC to do their part in making the ETA work for New Mexico.”
“The Energy Transition Act supports a just transition for coal dependent economies, sets strong renewable energy standards, and supports thousands of new jobs,” said Rep. Small. “The Public Regulation Commission has an essential role, starting with applying the law. Until the PRC applies the ETA, coal dependent communities face growing uncertainty, electricity costs may rise rapidly, and thousands of new jobs will be stalled.”