Episode 406: Clif Horace – New Mexico Clean Fuel Standard

On this week’s conversation Paul talks to Clif Horace owner of Horace Motors, a car dealer in Farmington. They discuss the Clean Fuel Standard that was recently imposed by Gov. Lujan Grisham’s hand picked Environmental Improvement Board.

The Board has imposed rules that will force New Mexico car dealerships to dramatically increase the number of electric vehicles sold in the State. But, California is considering imposing far more aggressive rules that could result in the elimination of internal combustion engines in cars sold in New Mexico.

Listen to this important conversation to find out more about this outrageous situation.

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Critical Race Theory “summer reading” for New Mexico teachers from PED

The following letter and books were received by a teacher at Albuquerque Public Schools for their “summer reading.” The books, sent to social studies teachers from NM PED, are of course meant to filter into the classroom in indoctrinating New Mexico students into PED’s new “CRT-laden” social studies standards.

Ibram X. Kendi is a well-known and controversial exponent of CRT. The other book is a history of Native Americans with a nod to the title of Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States,” a radically-negative/leftist take on much of American history. Are these books worth reading? Perhaps. But, our biggest problem with New Mexico’s new CRT-laden social studies standards is not that they teach about America’s warts (slavery/race relations and destruction of Native Americans), but that they emphasize those to the exclusion of other history.

The new standards (and these books) ONLY focus on these things to the exclusion of numerous, more positive aspects of American history of which there are many. May we recommend Larry Schweikart’s “A Patriot’s History of the United States.”

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RGF in National Review Capital Matters: Are Electric-Vehicle Mandates Coming to Your State?

The following appeared in National Review’s Capital Matters on May 26, 2022.

New Mexico just became the 15th state to follow California’s lead in adopting “Clean Car Standards.”

Under New Mexico’s new automobile standards, roughly 7 percent of new cars sold in the state must be zero-emission in 2025. In the latest report available (3rd quarter of 2021) zero-emission vehicles amounted to just 2.29 percent of new vehicle sales in New Mexico. So, to comply with the new rule, sales of zero-emission vehicles will need to more than triple from Q3 of 2021 to 2025.

While the number of states adopting these standards is limited to mostly the West Coast and Northeast so far, anytime a Democrat is elected governor, this kind of policy could be on the table for adoption. That’s because, despite the impact that adopting such policies will have on everything from the automotive to the agricultural sectors, states often don’t need to push these policies through their legislatures for approval.

In New Mexico’s case, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham these standards through an unelected Environmental Improvement Board. California’s own in states with Democratic governors, this kind of policy could be coming your way if it hasn’t already been put in place.

The real kicker is that by subjecting itself to California’s political whims, New Mexico (and other states adopting these standards) could be forced to adopt even more aggressive “Clean Car” standards soon. California governor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that, if adopted by California’s Air Board, would end the sale of gasoline-powered cars in California by 2035. The board’s decision on final adoption of that rule could come in California as early as this August.

Under California’s proposed rule, 35 percent of new cars, SUVs, and small pickups sold in California (and thus other states following their policies) must be zero-emission starting with 2026 models. That number will increase yearly, reaching 51 percent of all new car sales in 2028, 68 percent in 2030, and 100 percent in 2035.

Tripling sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in two years in New Mexico means dealerships will cross-subsidize EVs by raising prices on gasoline vehicles or they will look to the state to further subsidize sales of EVs. This could make gasoline vehicles purchased in states following California more expensive, leading to more car buyers looking out of state. That would result in lost jobs, and tax revenues leaving those states. That situation will get far worse if California adopts the even more aggressive rules now under consideration.

There is nothing inherently wrong with EVs, but there are numerous public-policy implications in their mass deployment, especially if the tool is to simply mandate their sale at the state level.

Additional issues with the widespread and aggressive adoption of EVs include the need for more mining. Will environmentalists who ostensibly support EVs support the mining of everything from copper to rare-earth minerals to go along with their deployment on a large scale?

Who pays to maintain the roads? It is a relatively simple task to apply a charge to the use of EVs for road maintenance, but politically speaking, owners of EVs are currently favored. Will politicians have the courage to apply fees to electric-vehicle users to pay for the roads?

Few advocates of free markets such as  myself oppose the deployment of EVs. But it should be an organic process driven by market forces, not government mandates and subsidies where the burdens fall on those who cannot afford or have no use for EVs.

Worse, the process of joining California on EVs is being done in the dark, absent the say-so of our democratically elected representatives.

Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility

 

 

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New Mexico Medicaid recipients far outstrip any other state

The Rio Grande Foundation is doing some research on the shortage of medical professionals in the State and ran across the following chart from Kaiser Family Foundation. We have known for many years that New Mexico has a lot of people on Medicaid, the federal/state health program for the poor.

What’s shocking is that 34% of New Mexicans are on the program. The percent of people on Medicaid in the next-highest state, Louisiana, is “just” 28%. Among New Mexico’s neighbors, 22% of Arizonians are on Medicaid which is the highest among our neighbors. Just 11% of Utahns are on Medicaid. It is unsurprising that Utah has a very high workforce participation rate while New Mexico’s is quite low.

New Mexico policymakers have tremendous financial incentives to boost Medicaid participation. The State receives a 74% federal match on traditional Medicaid Services and a 90% match on services provided under the “ObamaCare” expansion.

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PNM: Anyone got a spare 700 megawatts lying around?

A few weeks ago we posted in this space regarding the unsolved issues facing New Mexico’s electrical grid moving forward and that PNM was going to struggle to replace the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station when it shuts down after this summer.

The following was posted by PNM on its Facebook page on Monday, May 23rd, 2022. Presumably these 700 MW will need to be steady “base load” power, not JUST wind or solar, but with battery backup.  Or, a natural gas peaking station. By way of comparison, the San Juan Generating Station coal plant generates 847 MW currently.

Anyone got a spare 700 MW of power sitting around for next summer? Anyone feel comfortable that PNM will find the power it needs? Seems like at the very least your electric bill is on the way up.

All of this is driven by Gov. Lujan Grisham’s pet Energy Transition Act.

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New York Times decries COVID school closures

At the Rio Grande Foundation we decried Gov. Lujan Grisham’s school “lockdown” policy from the start of the 2020-2021 school year once it was scientifically-accepted that classrooms and schools were not primary vectors of COVID 19.

Unfortunately, unions and Gov. MLG did not pay attention to “the science” and kept New Mexico schools in “virtual” mode until they were reopened to full-time, in-person learning on April 5, 2021. That made New Mexico’s lock-out longer than all but 5 other states’. Shamefully, as the following from the New York Times (using data from researchers at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research points out, schools with high numbers of poor and minority students were most likely to go remote prompting a Harvard researcher to say, “This will probably be the largest increase in educational inequity in a generation.”

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Op-ed: Clean Car Rule is Lujan Grisham’s latest policy imposition

Gov. Lujan Grisham recently continued her attempt to simultaneously keep the oil and gas revenue spigot flowing while enacting enough policies from the radical environmental agenda to placate her political and fundraising base.

Her latest plan, known as the Clean Car Rule, was adopted by her handpicked Environmental Improvement Board (EIB). Governor-appointed boards are far more willing to do what they are told than are unruly and sometimes uncooperative (albeit overwhelmingly Democrat) legislative bodies with their own political calculations and aspirations.

Incredibly, New Mexico’s newly Clean Car Rule undermines democracy and self-government (along with our economy) by placing New Mexico automobile regulations under the control of another state, California. The current rules are California’s and if California changes them, New Mexico will have to go along with them or reverse course and opt out.

New Mexico’s new automobile standards will require roughly 7% of new cars sold in the State to be zero emission in 2025. In the latest report available (3rd quarter of 2021) zero emission vehicles amounted to just 2.29% of new vehicle sales in New Mexico. So, to comply with the new rule, sales of zero emission vehicles will need to just more than triple from Q3 of 2021 to 2025.

But the real kicker is by subjecting itself to California’s political whims New Mexico could be forced to adopt even more aggressive “Clean Car” standards soon. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an  executive order that, if adopted, would end the sale of gas-powered cars in California by 2035. Final adoption of that rule could come in California as early as this August.

If California enacts this rule, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California (and thus New Mexico) must be zero-emission starting with 2026 models. That number will increase yearly, reaching 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035.

“Just” tripling sales of electric vehicles (EV’s) in two years in New Mexico means dealerships will cross-subsidize EV’s by raising prices on gasoline vehicles or they will look to the State to further subsidize sales of “chosen” vehicles. This could make gasoline vehicles purchased in New Mexico more expensive leading to purchases made at out-of-state car dealers. That would result in lost jobs and tax revenues in New Mexico. That situation will get much worse if California (and New Mexico) adopt the even more aggressive rules being considered.

Current tax credits and subsidies include a $7,500 federal tax credit and various credits for upgrading connectivity to the electrical grid further help with deployment of electric vehicles. Of course, those credits and subsidies are paid for by increasing costs on taxpayers and utility rate payers.

Deployment of EV charging stations will be another expense associated with this plan. A recent report found New Mexico to have just 401 public charging stations statewide. And those need to be maintained. A recent report from EV-friendly San Francisco found that 27 percent of the Bay-areas charging stations were not functional.

All of this comes at a time when New Mexico’s largest utility (PNM) is keeping its coal fired power plant open just to keep the lights on and says it won’t have half the solar/battery replacement power needed to keep the lights on during the summer of 2023.

There are so many problems and costs with a drastic shift toward electric vehicles that at the very least New Mexico’s elected Legislature should have had a say, but instead we have a Governor in a tight reelection battle who wants to make big promises to environmental groups and their funders no matter how disruptive or damaging to New Mexicans and their livelihoods.

The fact is that the real costs of these unrealistic and damaging policies will be borne after this election. Sadly, that is all by design.

Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility

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Haaland called on the carpet by fellow Democrat over lack of leasing while Biden works to bring Venezuelan oil to market

At a Senate hearing recently Democrat Senator Joe Manchin called out Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland over the Administration’s lack of oil and gas leasing. The Rio Grande Foundation has recently noted that Haaland (and by extension the Biden Administration) have expressed great reluctance to expand domestic energy production.

On the other hand, presumably in an attempt to reduce gasoline prices, the Biden Administration has begun eliminating sanctions on oil-rich Venezuela.

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Five (recent) Times New Mexico Democrats have made (or tried to make) energy more expensive

With out-of-control gas prices and increasing fears of electricity shortages (especially in the West), energy and energy prices are certainly underpinning America’s ongoing inflation problem, and if things get bad enough with the power grid this summer, inflation may not be the worst of our problems.

And, while Americans see the rapid increase in gasoline prices every day on the road and experience it in their pockets, the fact is that natural gas prices are rising rapidly as well. This situation is largely driven by Democrat politicians (sometimes with the help of GOP collaborators) and their anti-energy philosophy. Here are just a few examples:

1) The Energy Transition Act, pushed by Gov. Lujan Grisham, which became law in 2019 (see votes House here and Senate here) is the worst of the worst. No piece of legislation has had a more profound impact on reducing New Mexico’s electricity reliability than ETA. It will have further negative impacts after the election.

2) At the behest of Gov. Lujan Grisham, the Environmental Improvement Board has adopted a “Clean Car Standard” which mandates a dramatic increase in the sale of electric vehicles in New Mexico and ties New Mexico law to California. While not directly on “energy,” the regulation imposes costly new controls on the source of energy used in your vehicle, thus increasing costs.

3) Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland (a former Congresswoman from New Mexico) controls hundreds of millions of acres of land that could be leased to bring down energy prices. Instead, the Administration has vastly reduced energy leases and raised taxes (royalties) on energy production.

4) Gov. MLG pushed the so-called “Clean Fuel Standard” which would have raised gasoline prices by 35 cents per gallon is one of the very worst Democrat energy bills in recent years. The bill narrowly failed in 2021 and then in 2022 it failed again on a tie vote.

5) Just one year ago (on June 8, 2021), a group of 24 so-called “progressive” New Mexico Democrats sent a letter to the Biden Administration applauding his ban on new oil and gas leases. Given the abject failure (and unpopularity) of Biden’s Administration and energy policies, this letter certainly could be used by possible opponents in a primary election.

This list JUST scratches the surface. There are numerous other examples of both “adopted” and “failed” policies like Sen. Sedillo-Lopez’s (failed) ban on fracking. Lujan Grisham also pushed “Net Zero” legislation that would have, if adopted, dramatically increased energy prices.

Biden announces 'largest release of oil reserves' in effort to curb gasoline prices | Gas | The Guardian

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