Suburbia Bad for Business

By Rick LoBello, El Paso Group Executive Committee

The current wave of development in cities around the world threatens both businesses and quality of life.

Here in El Paso, when two men spotted a bulldozer blading a road across a pristine part of the Franklin Mountains in 1978, they inspired citizens across the community to take action to help stop the ravenous rampage of suburbia.

Progress report on solar with Sierra Club

By Shane Woolbright, Northern New Mexico Group

In a previous issue of this newsletter I wrote about the efforts and the hassles of putting solar panels on my home. Now, let’s look at the economics.

My 3,000-watt system cost $12,300. My federal tax rebate was $3,690, while my state rebate will be $1,230. I convinced a neighbor to go solar with Sungevity, which gives Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter $750 for each system and will give me $750 for finding a new customer for Sungevity. So giving credit to the funds going to Sierra Club, my system had a net cost of $5,230.

Northern New Mexico Group Meetings and Events

Field trip to the Four Corners area Friday-Sunday, Sept. 18-20. Explore some of the special geological and paleontological treasures in Lybrook and nearby badlands with BLM paleontologist Sherrie Landon and meet with local Navajo leaders in this greater Chaco area experiencing ground zero in the recent explosion of oil and gas fracking. They will likely be able to show us some remote Chaco outliers and discuss what we can do to help with these vexing issues. Stay at the Angel Peak campground Friday and Saturday.

Northern Group Sierra Club and Beer: Redrock Wildlands

Come join your fellow Sierrans for a Sierra Club and Beer gathering at The Commons, 2300 West Alameda, corner of Camino Carlos Real, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.
Terri Martin of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance will share some beautiful images and an inside update about the magnificent but still unprotected redrock wildlands of southern Utah.

The future of the redrock hangs in the balance this year! Learn about the Greater Canyonlands and Bears Ears monument proposals and, more problematic, the latest news on Utah Rep. Rob Bishop’s public land legislation.

Summer Gardening tips

By Jessie Emerson, Zero Waste Committee

Zero waste means no toxic waste in the environment. Summertime, gardening, veggies and flowers mean pest control. Before you reach for a commercial product, read these tips:

1. Rabbits in the garden? Plant some food outside the garden for the bunnies. Wormwood in a border will repel animals and, after establishing, tolerate drought.

2. A dusting of powdered aloe helps keep away insects.

Understanding Santa Fe’s New Recycling Initiative

By Sharon Guerrero, Zero Waste Team

Most of us have questions about the new recycling initiative being implemented in Santa Fe city and county. Here are some helpful hints and websites to clarify any questions you may have.
If you still have questions, contact Adam Schlacter, education outreach coordinator, Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency at 505-424-1850, ext. 420, or e-mail:

El Paso Electric Latest to Try to Punish Solar Users

By Ken and Christine Newtson, Southern New Mexico Group

On May 11, El Paso Electric (EPE), which serves Southern New Mexico and the El Paso area, filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission for an increase in electric rates of 7.1 percent of non-fuel-based rates. These proposed rates will result in a 9 percent increase, on average, to Southern New Mexico total residential bills.

As EPE last filed for a non-fuel-based rate increase in New Mexico in 2009, an appropriate rate increase is reasonable.

Victory! PRC Rejects PNM Rate Hike, Solar Penalty

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in May rejected PNM’s rate-hike proposal, which would have required New Mexico families to cover tens of millions of dollars in costs for the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station and added a hefty monthly fee for anyone who installed rooftop solar.

The decision follows a recommendation from a PRC hearing examiner that criticized PNM for failing to provide sufficient information to support its proposed rate increase.

PNM Feeling Deadline Pressure

By Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Senior Beyond Coal Campaign Representative

PNM continues to scramble in a last-minute attempt to finalize agreements that would allow for the continued burning of coal at the San Juan Generating Station.

The Public Regulation Commission (PRC) voted 4-1 to allow PNM additional time to file signed ownership agreements and coal-supply agreements with the commission, extending PNM’s deadline to Aug. 1. Commissioner Valerie Espinoza dissented, saying it’s time to reject PNM’s plan.

Pajarito Group: Where are our bighorn sheep?

By Jody Benson


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