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Monday, October 15, 2007

PRC Reelection Candidate Jason Marks: The Speech

Consumer watchdogs: Jason Marks & his canine sidekick Kiko campaigning at Focus Ink's progressive gathering last month.

As I reported previously, Dem Jason Marks kicked off his reelection campaign last week for the District 1 New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) seat. The event was well attended and Marks gave an excellent speech about his accomplishments so far and his goals for a second term. Since the response to the speech was so positive, I asked Marks for a text version so more people could learn what he had to say. Here it is (pdf). Excerpt:

The PRC has - under the right leadership - a key role to play in the challenge of our generation - the transition from fossil fuel dependence to an energy future that is based on clean and sustainable technologies.

Fossil fuels have been very good to our country, our world, and for New Mexico. Exploiting fossil fuel energy has made possible our modern standard of living. Here in New Mexico, oil and gas have been important sources of economic growth and development.

But today, continued reliance on fossil fuels presents more risks than opportunities. We’ve all experienced the doubling of gasoline costs, and we’ve seen natural gas for home heating, that used to be around $3 per 1000 BTUs, go past $14 with Hurricane Katrina and never go back, staying in a range of $6 to $10. Even coal prices have increased dramatically. Fossil fuel prices will continue to rise, and expose us to financial risks we don’t want to bear.

At the same time, fossil fuel use is the main driver for catastrophic environmental risk. Climate change is already occurring, and we are already seeing slightly warmer winters and slightly hotter summers. A respected climate scientist at UNM has projected that we will see 2 to 3 degree temperature increases over the next 20 years, no matter what we do now. And, if we do nothing, temperatures in our region will go up by 6 to 7 degrees by the end of the century.

Climate shift of that magnitude will decimate New Mexico’s agriculture, our outdoor recreation economy, our hunting, fishing, skiing. Our children and grandchildren won’t have the opportunity to enjoy the New Mexico that we love. Residents of coastal areas would have it even worse, losing their homes and livelihoods to rising sea levels.

Forty percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are produced from electric generation, most of that from the burning of coal, like we do out in the Four-Corners. Commission Lujan and I have made public commitments that we will do everything possible to prevent New Mexico electric utilities from building new pulverized coal plants! (The proposed Desert Rock plant is directed at selling power outside of New Mexico, so it’s not in our jurisdiction.) We will look at advanced coal technology that sequesters carbon dioxide emissions, and we push the deployment of solar, wind, and other renewables.

... Most recently, the Commission adopted rules for the Renewable Portfolio Standard that I proposed which create diversity targets for solar energy and distributed generation. New Mexico’s solar resource has the potential to take over a large portion of our electricity needs over time, but we have to start developing it. The new rules require utilities to actually build large scale solar plants, instead of merely offering vague plans for the future. We believe that we can do this without big rate increases, and the rules establish rate impact caps at 2% for 2011.

These rules were controversial. We got strong support from scientists, engineers, environmental advocates, and ordinary citizens, but the utilities did not think it was our role to tell them what kind of plants to build.

Unfortunately the group that believes utility execs are best positioned to make decisions for the public would love to roll-back the progress we’ve made. That cannot be allowed to happen.

I hope you'll give the entire speech a read and then sign up to volunteer for or donate to the Jason Marks campaign. He's seeking petition signatures as well as small donations of "seed money" for what will be a publicly funded campaign down the line. I think Marks is a top notch and very ethical PRC member, with a sincere dedication to pushing for renewable energy development and the mitigation of greenhouse gas production in New Mexico. It's very important to get him reelected. The word is Repubs will be targeting this race and you know what that means -- a rollback of the new energy regulations and who knows what else if they succeed. Let's get active now and head them off at the pass.

Many voters are unclear about the critical and powerful role played by the PRC. Our 5 PRC commissioners are responsible for regulating and providing oversight of a myriad of industries. You can read about their responsibilities here. It's a complicated and often thankless job. We're lucky to have someone of Jason Marks' caliber on the commission. Let's keep it that way.

Click on photo for larger image. Photo credit: M.E. Broderick.

October 15, 2007 at 01:09 PM in 2008 PRC Election, Energy, Environment | Permalink


This guy fights for us. Let's fight for him.

Posted by: Old Dem | Oct 15, 2007 7:17:36 PM

Excellent! Thanks for posting; I remember Jason from campaign events. He's got the right stuff.

Posted by: KathyF | Oct 16, 2007 11:29:40 PM

Hi Kathy: Yeah, Jason's one of the good guys and he's done a really good job during his first term on the PRC. He's very well respected on both sides of the aisle but has stayed true to his roots. I like his dog Kiko too!

And how is your doggie? Feeling better I hope.

Posted by: | Oct 17, 2007 11:48:20 AM

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