According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, construction of the proposed Rancho Viejo Solar facility is under consideration on 800 acres of private land about a mile off N.M. 14. Not surprisingly, pushback is already coming from residents who live near the proposed industrial development.
Before construction can begin on the Rancho Viejo Solar facility, the project must gain approval from county officials.
And, as much as the denizens of Santa Fe usually support wind and solar, I expect this to be a knock-down battle. While often touted as “green,” the reality is that deploying wind and solar takes a great deal of land (much more than a nuclear facility for example).
As this article from the UK Guardian notes, “What was an oasis has become a little island in a dead solar sea.”
Kevin Emmerich worked for the National Park Service for over 20 years before setting up Basin & Range Watch in 2008, a non-profit that campaigns to conserve desert life. He says solar plants create myriad environmental problems, including habitat destruction and “lethal death traps” for birds, which dive at the panels, mistaking them for water.
He says one project bulldozed 600 acres of designated critical habitat for the endangered desert tortoise, while populations of Mojave fringe-toed lizards and bighorn sheep have also been afflicted. “We’re trying to solve one environmental problem by creating so many others.”
While RGF often finds itself at odds with the NIMBY crowd, we support opposition to heavily-subsidized, not really “green” energy.
On this week’s interview Paul talks to Joe Abbin. Abbin is an Albuquerque author and 36 year veteran of the Albuquerque Police Department. They discuss Albuquerque’s crime issues as laid out in his book, ABQ Blues. You can read the book for yourself at the link.
One issue MAY be this Motley Fool article (released today) which highlights the precarious condition of Virgin Galactic’s finances and outlines the tremendous pressure facing the company to get its commercial operations going at a rapid pace this summer.
Here is one particularly concerning statement from the story,
Thus, it seems most likely Virgin Galactic will in fact burn through somewhere between $370 million and $400 million in cash through the end of 2023, leaving it with at most $504 million at the start of next year. If the company manages to fly more frequently than once every other week next year, that might be enough cash to last Virgin Galactic through the end of 2024. But if it can’t, it won’t.
At the Rio Grande Foundation we have commented regularly in recent years on the rapid growth in per-student spending at New Mexico school districts. This is driven by two major factors, New Mexico’s massive budget growth and the ongoing decline in student numbers.
Albuquerque Public Schools, the State’s largest district unveiled its FY 2024 budget (next school year) and it’s a doozy. As noted on the APS website, total district spending for the upcoming fiscal year will be $2.16 billion.
That’s an increase of almost 69% since 2020 PER STUDENT. Will APS or any of New Mexico’s other school districts be able to move the needle on student outcomes or is the State just pouring good money after bad?
The Santa Fe New Mexican recently ran a story touting yet another study which supposedly promotes the benefits of pre-K and early childhood spending. The report is the National Institute for Early Education Research’s State of Preschool 2022 Yearbook. The report claims that New Mexico’s early childhood programs are “a rare bright spot in New Mexico’s education system.”
Does the report tout the success of kids who have gone through New Mexico’s pre-K programs starting in 2005-2006 school year with the enactment of the PreK Act? No, in fact the study doesn’t even consider student outcomes. Everything is based on access, spending, academic credentials, and class sizes.
Sadly, for nearly two decades New Mexico has had some kind of taxpayer-financed pre-K yet we have no evidence of outcomes one way or the other. We DO know that 2022 NAEP scores were (if anything) a big step backward due to our dead-last overall ranking but this report provides zero evidence that New Mexico’s new universal pre-K system is going to improve our State’s lousy education outcomes.
Reforms adopted by Mississippi and others included in the AP report include: “reforms that emphasize phonics and early screenings for struggling kids.”
They “trained thousands of teachers in the so-called science of reading, which refers to the most proven, research-backed methods of teaching reading. They’ve dispatched literacy coaches to help teachers implement that training, especially in low-performing schools.”
“Mississippi, for one, holds students back in third grade if they cannot pass a reading test but also gives them multiple chances to pass after intensive tutoring and summer literacy camps.”
Gov. Lujan Grisham recently appeared via teleconference at an energy summit put on by Politico. You can watch the full video below. As the saying goes, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” So is it the case with our Governor who tends to make her own facts up as she pleases while the media often cover for her. In this post we time stamp her faulty and simply inaccurate statements:
4:15: MLG “We’re one of the only states that is moving out of poverty.” Reality: May 3, 2023, Farmington Daily-Times, “New Mexico again had third-highest poverty rate in United States in 2021, State’s national ranking has changed little over last several years”
10:30: MLG claims budgetary pressures forced Kansas to go to “three day school days (weeks)”; The reality is that numerous districts in Kansas have gone to FOUR day school weeks (we couldn’t find any that had gone to three day weeks). According to Fox 4 KC, the option is becoming increasingly popular in KS and MO.
Four Day school weeks do save money, but Lathrop students now have 25 more instructional hours than before, and that’s brought a couple added bonuses.
“Our ACT scores have really shown some improvement. If there was anything, that’s one area we’re up. The first four years, up every year, and five out of the last seven, they’ve been increased.”
The article also noted that “Attendance has also improved for students and staff.”
14:15: Moderator: Your state is NOT on track to meet its clean energy goals.” MLG, “I think we ARE on track.” At 16:15 still responding to this question MLG states “We have free college.” “I’m producing workers in the renewable energy sector.”
16:43:“New Mexico was framed, and in fact I might…I do disagree with that frame as an energy state and a leader in energy…” On what planet is New Mexico NOT a a leader in energy. Watch her say this within context below:
So, it was no surprise when media outlets reported that Palo Alto, California (which has a gas stove ban in place) decided to exempt celebrity chef Jose Andres from its ban when the chef threatened the City with a lawsuit.
In her letter to the City attorney Anna Shimko wrote that (Andres’ proposed restaurant) Zaytinya relies on traditional cooking methods that only natural gas appliances would grant “to achieve its signature, complex flavors.”
We support Chef Andres’ in his battle but only hope that ALL restaurants are exempted from the gas stove ban.