Sen. Heinrich’s push to ban natural gas appliances based on faulty study

As we’ve noted National Review and elsewhere Sen. Martin Heinrich is one of the “ringleaders” of efforts to get rid of natural gas appliances like heaters, stoves, and hot water heaters in homes.

Heinrich is primarily doing this because he doesn’t like traditional energy sources, but he sometimes justifies his efforts based on supposed issues with indoor air pollution predominantly caused by cooking on gas stoves. 

Well, a new report doesn’t just call into question Heinrich’s facts, it dismantles them.  Here are some choice quotes:

Conducted by Catalyst Environmental Solutions, the Oct. 13 study contends the previous analysis inflated the risk of using gas stoves and other appliances through “incorrect and misleading comparisons” of emissions and current indoor pollution standards.

The report pointed out “several significant flaws in the UCLA Report that undermine its use in decision-making on the topic of the health effects of natural gas stoves and ovens.”

In addition to misleading comparisons between natural gas and emissions standards, the UCLA report neglected air quality issues from the food being cooked, unanticipated consequences of replacing natural gas and made other assumptions, the Catalyst Environmental Solutions report said.

Once again, Heinrich who desperately wants to end fossil fuels, is trying to manipulate science to support his radical agenda.

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Biden Administration leveraging COVID $$ to keep masks in place in schools

According to Fox News, the Biden Administration is requiring school systems  comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance in order to obtain coronavirus relief funding.

Furthermore, yesterday, CDC director Rache Walensky said that her agency would continue to require students to wear masks in classrooms regardless of how many students receive the vaccine which will soon be available to 5-11 year olds. 

So, we have a federal government that seems hellbent on keeping kids masked in school through 2023 and they are using our tax dollars to “encourage”/bribe complicity with those mask mandates (see the quote below). 

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Tipping Point NM episode 345: Mask Mandate, Education Scores, State Fair, and Coal

MLG extends indoor mask mandate through November 12. New Mexico is one of small handful of states that has an indoor mask mandate. Here is a map. New Mexico’s medical system is now in “crisis” mode. What is happening? 

Disappointing National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores from the “Nation’s Report Card” test which was given pre-pandemic are out. Notably, results from the assessment show widening score gaps between higher-performing and lower-performing students, with the changes driven by declines among lower-performing students – a trend that’s emerged across other NAEP exams and grade levels in recent years, including in mathematics and reading at grades four and eight.

State fair attendance was way down this year. 

Hearings on Four Corners Power Plant & PNM’s planned abandonment include some interesting takes, especially from environmental groups.  Rumors of coal’s death are greatly exaggerated. Prices are skyrocketing as utilities embrace coal in order to keep the lights on.

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New Education Department rules to make it harder for school boards to defend themselves against replacement (Comment Now!)

Were you appalled by the efforts of Gov. Lujan Grisham and her Secretary of Education to replace the entire Floyd, NM school board for having the temerity to stand up in opposition to her school mask mandate? I was.

The Floyd issue is tied up in court, but quietly, the PED is proposing some rule changes to make it  more difficult for local shool boards to defend themselves against the PED by limiting the types of attorneys they can use to defend themselves and forcing school board members to pay for them by themselves (as opposed to the district).

You can download the proposed rule on this issue here.

PED is NOW accepting public comments and will do so until November 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. (MDT). There will be a public hearing  Friday, November 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (MDT) at Mabry Hall in Santa Fe.

All written rule feedback should be submitted to:

  • Emailrule.feedback@state.nm.us
  • Fax505-827-6520
  • Mail: Policy Division, Public Education Department, 300 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501

Below is a brief discussion of some of the important changes PED is requesting. The proposed rule is: 6.30.6 NMAC, Suspension of Authority of a Local School Board:

  1. The proposed rule makes it explicitly clear that while a local school board  member has a right to counsel, the school board member must use a legal counsel that is independent of the local school board’s counsel.  The current rule only says a local school board member has a right to counsel, no restrictions are provided.
  2. Similarly, the proposed rule states that a local school board member must pay their own expenses related to their hearing defense and that the local school districts shall not pay for such expenses.  The current rule makes no reference as to who should or should not pay the legal expenses.  (I cannot recall if the Floyd school members paid for their own legal costs or if the local school district paid.)

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Will MLG mandate vaccines for Lobo/Aggie basketball fans?

For the record, the Rio Grande Foundation DOES NOT support vaccine mandates. But, basketball season is coming soon and Gov. Lujan Grisham has extended her universal mask mandate into the upcoming basketball season. New Mexico is just one of six states with a “universal” indoor mandate. This means basketball fans will be wearing masks for at least their first two games.

But the Gov. has also imposed various COVID vaccine mandates as well:

Clearly, the Gov. has the POWER to impose a universal vaccine mandate on Lobo and Aggie fans, but WILL she? We don’t know the answer to that question yet. Having attended numerous Lobo basketball games, RGF’s president can attest to the fact that when “The Pit” is full, it is truly “packed.” It goes without saying that all basketball arenas are completely indoor venues with people in far closer proximity to each other than at the Fair or Balloon Fiesta.

New Mexico Basketball - THE PIT - Naismith Student Section Award Video -  YouTube

 

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Rumors of coal’s death are greatly exaggerated

The quote above, often attributed to Mark Twain may now be applied to coal. Reports of its demise are vastly overstated.

See the chart below which is provided by the website Trading Economics. Over the past YEAR alone, the price of coal has risen an astonishing 318.85%.

This is due to the widespread energy crunch happening mostly in Europe but also in Asia. It means that when push comes to shove people all over the globe would rather embrace an “outmoded,” “dirty,” fuel than go without power thanks to unreliable and inadequate “renewables.” It also means that CO2 emissions will rise and purported agreements to reduce them aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

Shockingly, at least some in Europe, believe that the way out of this crisis is to go further down the “renewable” path. The UK has just confirmed a contract for 16 modular nuclear reactors nationwide so at least SOMEONE in Europe is thinking clearly.

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A vast majority of states DO NOT mandate masks indoors

Unless you travel around the nation on a regular basis it may be hard to understand just how restrictive New Mexico is relative to other states on the COVID 19 issue. The following map from MultiState illustrates the situation quite clearly. Only six states in the entire country (not including “bluest of the blue California and New York) have true statewide mask mandates indoors that include vaccinated individuals.

Amazingly Michelle Lujan Grisham’s top health advisor has said that masks may be mandated for years to come in New Mexico. 

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OAK NM in ABQ Journal: Educate yourself and vote on school board, bond, mill levy

The following was written by OAK NM’s Edwin Aybar Lopez. It appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on October 10, 2021.

This fall, voters in the Albuquerque Public Schools service area have some important issues to consider when they vote. For starters, it has been well-documented that in each of the four seats up for election this fall, none of the incumbents will appear on the ballot. In other words, the APS school board is in for some significant changes, no matter what the results are.

What that change looks like will be up to the voters.

My organization, OAKNM, sent surveys to all candidates for school board in APS and numerous other larger school districts across the state to ask for candidates’ views on big issues facing school boards. In Albuquerque, these included everything from splitting APS into multiple districts to masking kids and the role of charter schools.

Whether candidates completed these and other surveys or not, there are two clear sets of candidates: those who support and receive support from the unions and those who don’t. Typically, union support has been the deciding factor in local school board races, but, with this election occurring at the same time as the Albuquerque mayoral and City Council elections – not to mention the United soccer stadium vote – everyone expects higher turnout than seen in the past.

As an education reformer, this makes me happy. Given everything our kids have gone through over the past 18 months, our education system, already ranked at the bottom, failed our children completely. Of course, we don’t know just how badly because the state’s standardized test for 2020 and 2021 was administered to only a fraction of the student population, or not at all. Estimates vary, but we’ve seen figures for lost time ranging from a few weeks to more than a year.

Do you believe the situation was handled well? Do you think it was appropriate for unions to play an outsized role in reopening, masking and even vaccination policies during the pandemic? Are you concerned that the Sheryl Williams Stapleton scandal is only the tip of the iceberg? If so, you need to vote in this election and get yourself educated on the issues facing the district.

In addition to the school board races, APS has quietly placed (a $200 million general obligation bond and) a property tax question on ballots. The question on the ballot asks for a tax levy of $3.838 per $1,000 of net taxable value on residential property and $4.344 on non-residential. The question(s are) with billions of stimulus money flowing into New Mexico schools, students fleeing APS in droves and the Legislature sitting on “more money than they know what to do with,” per the Senate Finance Committee chairman, why is APS asking for (more)?

Here in Albuquerque and across New Mexico, education reform is on the ballot. Voters need to get educated about the candidates and issues that will, at long last, pull our state out of last place. Get out to vote and take a friend or relative with you.

Opportunity for All Kids New Mexico, www.oaknm.org, is an organization dedicated to reforming New Mexico’s education system.

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Tipping Point NM Episode 344: Gubernatorial Candidate Louie Sanchez

On this week’s podcast conversation, Paul sits down with Louie Sanchez a Republican running to be Gov. of New Mexico. The conversation covers Louie’s background growing up in Albuquerque, his business efforts, and ultimately focus on the challenges facing New Mexico’s current leadership and what he’d do to turn the State around.

Tune in to this informative podcast!  Louie’s campaign website can be found here. 

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Tipping Point NM episode 343: Mask Mandates, Human Authority over COVID-19, Southwest Cancels Flights and more

On this week’s podcast, Paul and Wally discuss Gov. Lujan Grisham’s health advisor Dr. David Scrase’s statement that New Mexicans could be dealing with mask mandates for years to come. According to AARP New Mexico is only one of 7 states to have an indoor mask mandate. California is NOT one of them. Paul wonders: Are we really going to send kids to school in masks for another 2-3 years? More Americans have now died of COVID under Biden than under Trump, but the media doesn’t blame Biden of course. According to Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota (and Biden COVID advisor) quoted in the New York Times “We’ve ascribed far too much human authority over the virus.” 

Southwest cancels thousands of flights over the weekend as vaccine mandate kicks in; The 100+ person mandate has not been formally implemented yet, but businesses including Southwest Airlines are using it as cover to impose the vaccine mandate on their workers.

Energy crisis Analysts at Deutsche Bank noted that in Europe prices are up fivefold, while in the U.S. and Asia prices are about 1.5 times higher. In Europe, the price spike in natural gas is equivalent to if oil were trading around $200 per barrel. “The importance of these moves on inflation, growth and external accounts are not to be underestimated,” the firm wrote in a note to clients. “These price moves are a big deal.”

Coal and oil prices are also jumping. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, topped $80 per barrel on Friday for the first time since November 2014. International benchmark Brent crude, meanwhile, traded at its highest level since 2018. Analysts say that elevated natural gas prices could even prompt utilities to swap the fuel for oil. In New Mexico this means even more money flowing into the state.

California took another step toward its goal of ridding the state of all gas-powered engines thanks to a new bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday. The new law will ban the sale of all off-road, gas-powered engines, including generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, chainsaws, weed trimmers, and even golf carts. Under the new law, these machines must be zero-emissions, meaning they will have to be either battery-powered or plug-in.

Trever cartoon electric hot air balloons

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid an additional $87,500 as part of a settlement with an ex-staffer who accused her of sexual mistreatment, bringing the total dollar amount to $150,000.

Early voting at county clerk’s offices is going on right now. It will spread out around town starting next week. Ali Ennenga in District 3 and Celia Cortez a write-in candidate in District 6 has as well. School board is very important. City Council is as well.

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