Bushee’s new climate, energy plan appears to spark friction with mayor

Patti Bushee

Under public pressure, City Councilor Patti Bushee removed language calling for a franchise agreement with Public Service Company of New Mexico from a controversial resolution she is sponsoring.

“It’s turned into a red herring, so I’m happy to remove it,” she said Monday.

Bushee’s resolution calls for creating a climate protection plan and energy vision for the city. The resolution also called for establishing a team to work with PNM as well as New Mexico Gas Co. to craft memorandums of understanding that align with both plans and “recommend amendments and/or franchise agreements with PNM and NMGCO.”

Opponents of Bushee’s resolution argued that the franchise agreement would tie Santa Fe to PNM for years to come while the city is studying the possibility of forming a city-owned utility.

Bushee said City Attorney Kelley Brennan had advised her to include the franchise agreement language in the resolution, which Brennan denied.

“I urged you not to include negotiation of the franchise in the draft,” Brennan wrote in an email to Bushee on Monday. “You wished to retain it, to be consistent with the Minneapolis process you were using as your model, which was triggered by the upcoming termination date of their franchise agreements. I have verified this with [Melissa Byers, the city’s legislative liaison], who was a party to that conversation and shares my memory of it.”

Bushee’s announcement came the same day that ProgressNow New Mexico, a liberal-leaning group based in Albuquerque, released emails obtained through a public records request showing that PNM had a heavy hand in drafting the ordinance.

Bushee acknowledged that PNM played a role in crafting the resolution, but that it was hers and hers alone.

“There’s just a lot of reactionary misinformation and mischaracterization,” Bushee said.

Contact Daniel J. Chacón at 986-3089 or dchacon@sfnewmexican.com. Follow him at Twitter at @danieljchacon.

(8) comments

Richard Jacob

Even the SFe Reporter article said breaking off of PNM could be a decade off affair .. some (erroneously) think Fusion/LENR isn't here yet (not so) .. 2015 is THE year to commence taking on something far better than solar .. and this is it .. -R

2013 article (E-Cat was bought out with a first-round of $11M financing earlier this year) >

Even the SFe Reporter article said breaking off of PNM could be a decade off affair .. some (erroneously) think Fusion/LENR isn't here yet (not so) .. 2015 is THE year to commence taking on something far better than solar .. and this is it .. -R

2013 article (E-Cat was bought out with a first-round of $11M financing earlier this year) >

1-megawatt cold fusion power plant now available – yours for just $1.5 million | ExtremeTech

Julian Grace

I think this is a much bigger issue than just PNM wanting to keep burning coal. Don't you think that the people of Santa Fe, even the ones that aren't low-income, are going to have a hard time paying their utility bills if the city creates its own utility? Let's stick with PNM if we can get them to use more solar, geothermal and natural gas. Our water, sewer and refuse costs have skyrocketed since the city took over those functions and service really got lousy. Remember this when you have to sell your homes because you can no longer afford the utility bills.

Mike Johnson

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”
― Edward R. Murrow
And if you want something done poorly, let the government do it.

Richard Jacob

Where it comes to running an electric utility I think it's safe to say PNM knows what they're doing and the City of Santa Fe does not .. putting PNM's feet to the fire (as has been done) and turning them as 'green' as possible is certainly the right thing to do .. the game will change in (technological) ways that most aren't seeing .. and even entertaining the notion that a $155 to $255 million City of Santa Fe buy-out of PNM's local system will ever happen seems near-lunacy to me .

Larry Davis

Many New Mexicans who are suffering from malnutrition and lack of medical care are on the threshold of not being able to pay their utility bills each and every month. Conglomerate agreements between the utilities and our lawmakers just leave a bitter taste.

Pat Shackleford

Wow. Interesting. Check out "How PNM Rewrote Santa Fe's Clean Air Resolution To Support Dirty Coal" [Read The Internal Emails] at ProgressNowNM (google it)

The link below may work; it's hard to paste a working link here at SFNM site.
Thanks to Daniel J. (Scoop) Chacon for the article here.


Pat Shackleford

It appears the tinyurl link works if you copy and paste into your browser.

Joseph Hempfling

This false start to what proposes to be a local game changer in terms of a locally owned and controlled public utility should have been brought to the table, heard by the public and a suitable feasable plan developed by experts including requiring final public approval.. The behind the scenes rush for approval and without public hearings set off all kinds of alert bells that something was not right and not in our best interests, as it turns out. So false start or not, lets get back to the drawing board on this one, include the public and related experts including, conducting a feasability study and be transparent about it. And personally feel that is what democracy is about or at least should be. This was not the case this time !

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